About Us

St Mary’s is a well-established, family-focused childcare centre in Karori, Wellington.

Our Story

What makes St Mary’s childcare special

→ Small and family-focused centre

→ Educational with the Christian philosophy intertwined

→ Great teaching: Qualified, Registered and experienced teachers; high teacher/child ratios and small group sizes.

→ Mixed age groups so siblings can be together ‘play-based learning program supporting children’s individual learning and development. Exciting play environments that encourage exploration of various curriculum areas.

→ Fabulous healthy meals (all prepared by the Centre), menus guided by the early childhood education food and beverage classification system. Individual children’s needs are catered for.

→ Easy to access — on the main road, with a car park for dropping off and collecting children. Caters for individual needs, including allergies and learning or physical disabilities (where possible)

→ Well-established centre — we’ve been operating since 1995 and have a great reputation in Karori

Childcare gives more information about our care, including the hours that we operate.

Curriculum has more about our approach to learning.

Read our latest Education Review Office (ERO) report on the Education Review Office website.

Our history
We are a well-established centre, formed in 1995 by St Mary’s Anglican Church in Karori as an outreach to families in the community.

Philosophy & Mission

Karori Anglican Church cares for everyone connected to St Mary’s Early Childhood Centre. The pastoral team supports the well-being of whanau at the centre through spiritual and professional guidance and support to families in need.

Children are a unique gift from God, and we seek to nurture and educate them with Christ-like love, understanding and Christian values. We believe that all tamariki have immense potential and the curriculum we offer seeks to unlock that potential and to support them to “learn how to learn”.

We acknowledge the bicultural partnership inherent within Te Tiriti o Waitangi and are committed to meaningfully incorporating te reo and tikānga into the everyday life of the centre. Partnering with whānau to create a safe and inclusive learning environment that values the cultural identity of all enables us to work alongside families and to value the expertise they bring to their child’s ongoing learning.

The learning environment is created and designed with rituals, routines and respectful practice as key elements of belonging. We allow children freedom of choice to explore, experiment, challenge and reflect on their own learning. Together these support the development of emotional and social competence that nurtures the health and well-being of all.

Communication and whanaungatanga are key contributors to developing resilience that will prepare tamariki to be competent and confident communicators that can make a valued contribution to society.

Early literacy and numeracy are weaved within the curriculum to ensure strong foundational skills are equipping tamariki for lifelong learning.

Learning spaces are designed to encourage our tamariki to be independent adventurous thinkers, and we are providing learning opportunities that promote risk-taking to gain new knowledge and skills

 

Our Community

Our community is important to us. We have a Family and Chaplin to support our families and integrate our Christian program. We also hold regular community social events throughout the year.

Social Events

We like to host one social event a term. These gatherings are great for getting together with the teachers and your children’s friends and parents.

Our regular events include Shrove Tuesday, Easter,  Mother’s Day and Father’s Day celebrations.

We also celebrate Christmas with a party based on the birth of Christ.

Meet our Management Committee

St Mary’s childcare centre is managed by a committee that includes our Licensee, Centre Administrator, and Head Teacher as well as:

→ 2 parent representatives

→ a church representative.

Geoffrey — Licensee

Hello, my name is Geoffrey Lee, Licensee of St Mary’s Early Childhood Education Centre. My association with St Mary’s goes back to 1995 when, as a Vestry member of Karori Anglican Churches, I joined the Management Committee as a Vestry Representative. Over the ensuing 24 years, St Mary’s has flourished and it has been a great pleasure to have contributed over that time.

Early childhood education is a dynamic and vitally important part of the education sector and the outreach to children and families is a significant part of the ministry of Karori Anglican Churches.  For me, this is both professionally challenging and very interesting. It has been a pleasure to support St Mary’s experienced and skilled staff team as they care for your precious children whom you entrust to St Mary’s.

A smile and “hello Geoff” from the children is more than enough reward for my work as Licensee. My professional occupation is a project manager / management consultant and my sporting interests are golf and watching the Hurricanes and Phoenix. I am blessed with Elizabeth my wife, 3 adult children, and a 10-year-old granddaughter.

 

Heather — Head Teacher

I have nearly 35 years’ experience in early childhood education and am a qualified and registered teacher. I love working here at St Mary’s Early Childhood Education Centre — the families, children and parents inspire me.

I believe that teaching children begins with getting to know them and their families very well and building strong and informative relationships with each other. Children grow in different ways according to their experiences. Knowing what knowledge they come with allows me to foster and extend their thinking. I enjoy planning programs that care for and educate the holistic (whole) child, while supporting them in gaining social skills enabling them to enjoy learning. Keeping up to date with my own knowledge in relations to children’s learning and development is extremely important for me. I am constantly upgrading my qualifications and knowledge.

I am married with 4 children/tamariki and 13 grandchildren/mokopuna and I live in Porirua. I enjoy sharing the Lord’s love with the children and adults I come in contact with.

Tony Arnold - Parent Representative

Image and bio coming shortly

Christopher Corkhill

Bio to be added.

Ian Cook - KAC Vicar

Image and bio coming shortly

Testimonials

“It is with great sadness that it is our daughter’s last day today. We will truly miss St Mary’s and here are the reasons why:
  • St Mary’s is the best early childhood education centre.
  • St Mary’s teachers go out of their way to support you as a parent.
  • St Mary’s became our extended family in New Zealand – all the teachers are really caring, enthusiastic and energetic and provided all the attention in the world to our daughter.
  • St Mary’s provided an environment building our child’s confidence and today she is a very confident and content girl.
  • St Mary’s always worked around her routine.
  • You can walk in anytime into St Mary’s and you will hear children laugh and having a great time.
  • St Mary’s provided different toys and different activities for daughter every day to ensure she develops to her potential.
  • St Mary’s food is of excellent quality and cooked freshly every day.
  • St Mary’s playground is just the best – spacious with a big sandpit, swings, slides, water play and more.
  • St Mary’s always cater for activities around Easter, Christmas and Mothers’ Day, to name a few.
  • St Mary’s organises special activities for the children such as ‘Zippity Zoo’.

So we will truly miss you St Mary’s.”

“We have been part of the St Mary’s family for the past 5 years and couldn’t be happier with the warm, secure and fun learning environment.

The wonderful, caring and experienced staff are all so welcoming, they know the individual children and families well. We so appreciate the smiles, the cuddles, the love, the laughter and of course the hard work and dedication they put in to make it such a happy and nurturing place.

The nutritious meals are a real bonus. The smell of homemade baking often greets you as you enter the front door.

Most importantly, the children love it! Our 2 ½ year old son gets excited when it is a ‘Mary’s day and can’t wait to tell us about the songs he has sung or the games he has played. We are so grateful to all those who are involved with the Centre – they do an AMAZING job!”

“My daughter started at the Centre aged 2 ½ years. I love the fact the staff took time to settle her at her own pace and she had lots of nurturing attention.

I appreciate the Centre’s good ratios, which allow good quality supervision. I also enjoy the family events that are planned throughout the year which are a great time to meet other families and let siblings come along and join in. The Centre’s teaching of Christian values is also important to me as well as the fact that all children can interact together as well as having time in groups with children of similar age.

I also love the smell of home baking that greets me when we enter each morning! Alice in the kitchen is a star and its lovely not to have to worry about organising food for the day. My daughter is now well settled in the Centre and I have recommended its care to many friends!”

I could not speak more highly of the service St Mary’s has provided during my association with the Centre.

“I am a parent of a child currently at the Centre (she is 4), and of another who was at the Centre two years ago. I could not speak more highly of the service St Mary’s has provided during my association with the Centre. The facilities are excellent, but it is the staff who make this an outstanding facility. They are all creative, intelligent, effective, and hugely empathetic. It could be because the Centre operates under the auspices of the Anglican church, but there is a real sense of community engagement: the staff seem to have a genuine interest in the lives of the families with which they are involved, which means family and teachers can work together in the child’s best interests.

There is a real respect for the individuality of each child, but on the other hand, the children are taught to respect the boundaries set for them by the staff too. I’m pretty certain that this helped my little boy hit the ground running when he moved from St Mary’s to school.

St Mary’s would seem to be a model of how this type of facility should operate.”

The Centre had a small, closely knit family unit, which had strong family values with supportive, professional and friendly teachers.

“2 1/2 years ago, when we first initiated our search for a child care centre for our son, friends had recommended St Mary’s Childhood Education Centre to us. However, we wanted to undergo our own exploration around the childcare facilities to make sure we were making an informed decision. As part of this process, we explored several childcare facilities in our local suburb. We came to the conclusion rather easily to proceed with St Mary’s Early Childhood Education Centre. The main reasons for this were that we felt that the Centre had a small, closely knit family unit, which had strong family values with supportive, professional and friendly teachers.

They also had a good learning environment and education plan for the different age groups throughout the year.

The physical facilities were appealing and the Centre had an overall positive energy that we were pleased with. The in-house cooking and baking service that they provide for the children was also very comforting to know that your child was having well-balanced meals the days they attended.

Looking back now over the past two and half years, St Mary’s Early Childhood Education Centre has exceeded our expectations. The teachers are extremely supportive, knowledgeable and professional in their approach to not only your own child but to all others attending the Centre. The teachers have the children’s best interests at heart and are truly committed to their ongoing learning and development. They are a very special group of individuals, which we are extremely lucky to have supporting and caring for our son as he grows and develops and transitions into his first year of school.

All the reasons we based our decision on to send our son to St Mary’s Childhood Education Centre still stand strong and we certainly are very satisfied with the service they provide. We would highly recommend the Centre to friends and family, that are looking for a high quality, professional, child care centre.

We wish St Mary’s Childhood Education Centre all the very best for the future.”