What is 'early learning'?
Early learning happens everywhere – at home, in centres, parks and shops.
Young children are developing at an extremely fast pace and everything they encounter offers a new learning experience.
Why is early learning important?
Ministry of Education's Research shows that children who are involved in quality early childhood education (ECE) benefit in many ways, and that these benefits also extend to their family/whānau and the wider community.
Taking part in ECE builds a strong foundation for your child’s ongoing education, learning and development. Children learn lots of new skills by participating in ECE, building on the skills they learn at home and from their families/whānau.
What is the difference between 'day care' or 'childcare' and 'early learning'?
For those in the sector, the difference is more than just words – 'day care' or 'childcare' gives the impression that the service we provide is simply 'care'. It's much more than that: its care plus education. Early learning captures the essence of what Learning Stars is all about - nurturing and stimulating environments that inspire a love of learning
Facilities and provisions
What ages does Learning Stars Preschool cater for?
We cater for children aged from three months old up to six years.
What are the operating hours?
We open from 7.00am to 6.00pm, Monday to Friday, 52 weeks a year. We're not open on weekends or public holidays.
Do the children receive meals?
Are nappies provided for babies and toddlers?
No, parents provide nappies for their babies and toddlers.
How do I find out more about the centre?
You can find out more by visiting our centre – we welcome inquiries at any time.
What happens after I submit an inquiry form online?
After you have submitted your inquiry form, we will:
Call you back.
Discuss your child's needs.
Arrange a time suitable to you for a visit
If there is a vacancy, we will guide you with the paper work for enrolment
Add you to a waitlist if no places are available at your centre of choice, if desired.
How do I enrol at a Learning Stars Preschool?
When you enrol at a Learning Stars Preschool, we'll support you every step of the way. Our Centre Manager will invite you to take a tour of the centre first so you can see where your child will be cared for
and to ensure you are comfortable with your decision. They will then provide you with an enrolment pack that contains everything you need to know about the centre and your child's routine and a
quote for your weekly fees. We encourage you to ask as many questions as you like – we are committed to providing open, honest communication that supports your decision.
Can I enrol online?
We don't offer online enrolment because it’s so important for families to see the centre first-hand. A tour is your chance to meet the staff and discuss your needs one-on-one with your Centre Manager.
They'll then be able to help with your enrolment and settling in your child.
How is the waitlist managed?
If there are no vacancies at the centre of your choice, you may want to join your centres waiting list. The lists are regularly reviewed by centre staff and our inquiries team. You'll be contacted if a place becomes available. You can take yourself off the waitlist by contacting the centre anytime you wish.
Fees and benefits
How much does it cost to send my child to Learning Stars Preschool?
Daily fees vary for individual families depending on how many days your child is in care. You may also be eligible for work and income subsidies that will make a difference to your fees.
Talk to our Centre Manager for a quote and to know more about WINZ subsidy you may qualify for, visit www.workandincome.govt.nz or call them on 0800 559 009
What happens if my scheduled day falls on a public holiday?
Like most early learning centres, Learning Stars closes for public holidays. If your scheduled day falls on a public holiday, we still need to charge to cover staff costs. This is a sector-standard practice. Early learning professionals are entitled to be paid on public holidays as in other industries.
Do I still need to pay for a scheduled day if my child is sick?
Yes, Learning Stars needs to charge for sick days to cover operating costs. This is standard practice across the industry, but we'll try to arrange a make-up if we can. Conditions apply and the centre reserves the right to refuse make-up day.
What happens when we go on holidays?
Normal fees apply for all absences (including Public Holidays) that fall on a usual day of attendance unless the family provides written consent two weeks in advance to apply 50 per cent discount on the full fee. Holiday discount is available for up to four weeks of care per financial year. Under exceptional circumstances, holiday discount may be applied outside these requirements at the discretion of the Centre Manager. Fee payments must be up to date to receive holiday discount.
What government benefits are available to families?
Work and income may be able to help with assistance towards childcare costs. Just speak to winz to find out if you are eligible for subsidies and to what amount.
What is the Child Care Assistance (CCA)?
The CCA is a subsidy provided by work and income. Parents or guardians may be able to get assistance if:
- You’re the main caregiver of the child, and
- Your family is on a low or middle income, and
- You’re a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident, and
- Your child has at least three hours of care of a week.
- There are different conditions and requirements that apply before assistance can be given.
- What childcare assistance is available to you will depend on your individual situation and the type of care your child is enrol for. WINZ also has a handy online application form. This is available on the Working for Families website www.workingfor families.govt.nz.
20 Hours ECE?
Our Centre offers the 20 Hours ECE initiative for 3year till 6year olds, reducing the weekly fee for this age group.
Funding rates for "20 hours" have been calculated to cover a minimum standard of care and education. Learning Stars offers a premium service well above minimum standards and our fees reflect a chargeable portion accordingly. If you would like further information on the 20 Hours ECE initiative, we are happy to discuss this with you.
What is Te Whāriki?
Te Whāriki is part of the New Zealand Government’s National Quality Framework for early childhood education and care. It describes the principles, practices and outcomes essential to young children’s learning from birth to five years of age, as well as their transition to school. It seeks for children ‘to grow as competent and confident learners and communicators, healthy in mind, body and spirit, and secure in their sense of belonging and in the knowledge that they make a valued contribution to society.’
The framework has a strong emphasis on play-based learning, recognising the importance of communication and language (including early literacy and numeracy) and social and emotional development. It is made up of four principals and five strands which are interweaved. The five strands are:
- Well-being – Mana Atua
- Belonging – Mana Whenua
- Contribution – Mana Tangata
- Communication – Mana Reo
- Exploration – Mana Aotūroa
There are four foundation principles for the early childhood curriculum:
- Empowerment – Whakamana
- Holistic development – Kotahitanga
- Family and community – Whānau tangata
- Relationships – Ngā hononga
What is the Education Review Office (ERO)?
The Education Review Office (ERO) is the government department that reviews schools and early childhood services in New Zealand. ERO’s reports document the findings of a school or service’s education review and provide information for parents, schools, early childhood services and communities.
Each report comments on a school or service’s individual situation, its strengths and, if necessary, next steps for development.
What to pack
What do I need to pack in my child's bag?
When you start at a Learning Stars Daycare centre, you'll be provided with a list detailing exactly what you need to pack, depending on your centre's specific requirements and your child's age. Consider packing:
- A sun safe hat which covers your child's face, neck and ears
- Change of clothes (when involved with hands-on play-based learning, your child may get a little messy!)
- A bib or two
- Comfort item (if required), such as a toy or blanket
- Dummy in a sealed, named container (if required)
- Sleeping sheet set or blanket for nap time
- Expressed milk (if required)
- Nappies (if your child is still on nappies)
- Any medications – please give these to centre staff to manage directly.
- Do I need to pack a lunch?
Do I need to pack sunscreen?
Learning Stars centre provide child-safe sunscreen as we are committed to being a sun safe organisation. However, if your child has sensitive skin, please feel free to pack your own preferred brand.
What else should I pack in my child's bag?
It's always a good idea to keep a couple of changes of clothing handy in case need of change.
Inclusion support options
What support is available for children with additional needs?
Learning Stars offers facilities and support for children with additional needs – from minor allergies to greater care needs such as physical or learning disabilities and behavioural issues.
We are committed to ensuring all children, regardless of life circumstance, have access to and inclusion in early learning in New Zealand.
Our centres are working to provide targeted programs and support for children based on their individual needs. By creating positive early learning environments tailored to individual needs, we’re providing the best possible opportunity for children to fulfil their potential. We want to specifically assist those children who face additional challenges.
Please speak with the Centre Manager at the Learning Stars centre about how we can work together to manage your child’s specific needs.
Importance of the First Five
Why are the first five years of a child's life so important?
There's a huge amount of compelling recent research on the first five years of a child's development and how it affects the rest of their lives. We know that 90 per cent of a child's brain is developed by age three. We also know that children who start ahead stay ahead and keep accelerating beyond their peers.
Over time, it becomes harder to close gaps between children who are excelling, and those falling behind. That's why it's so important to get it right from the start. To give our children the best possible opportunities for their future, we need to lay the foundations early.
Will my child fall behind if they don't attend an early learning centre?
The best learning happens in environments that are nurturing and stimulating, where children feel safe. Early learning happens everywhere - young children learn social, emotional, and physical skills through all kinds of activities and observations. Children learn by being engaged and doing, through watching and copying. We offer high-quality, play-based learning and our staff focus on each child’s development. But families can support early learning too.
What do I do if my child is sick?
It's best for your child, other children and centre staff to keep them at home if they're sick. Please call your centre to let them know. You’ll also need to fill out the attendance sheet when you’re next in the centre so that we have a record of the absentee day.
Are families advised if other children at the centre are sick?
Advice to families will depend on the nature of the illness. For example, if a number of children at the same centre seem to be showing symptoms of the same illness, the centre will let you know what to look out for and if your child should stay at home. If there’s been a confirmed case of an infectious disease in the centre, the room the child is in will display an infectious disease fact sheet so that parents are aware of symptoms to look for. Learning Stars has stringent policies for illness and isolation and every centre is governed by a dedicate Health and Safety policy.
How can I provide feedback about my centre?
Learning Stars welcomes feedback from families to help us improve our services and ensure the best results for you and your child. It’s best to speak to your Room Leader first and then your Centre Manager. If you’d like to take the matter further, you’re welcome to contact our Centre Director.