Whanganui East has a new Early Learning Centre

Te Puna Ako Ki Tōtara Puku - Whanganui East Community Early Learning Centre - is the first Kindergarten in the city offering up to 10 hours care per day for infants up to children aged 6.

Get the best of both worlds for your child!

We offer a unique blend of Early Childhood Education: The convenience of year-round, all day care combined with the qualified, experienced staff and learning philosophy that Kindergartens are famous for.

Te Puna Ako Ki Tōtara Puku is taking enrollments now for infants up to children aged 6. We operate all year round, 7:30am - 5:30pm, Monday to Friday.

We aim to work alongside you in these very important early years and aspire to see your child "grow up as a competent and confident learner and communicator, healthy in mind, body, and spirit, secure in their sense of belonging and in the knowledge that they make a valued contribution to society."

For more information, or to begin the enrollment process, please contact us today.


Interior of WECELC

About Us

Te Puna Ako Ki Tōtara Puku - Whanganui East Community Early Learning Centre - is run by the Whanganui Kindergarten Association (WKA) in partnership with Whanganui East School.

We have a unique model in Whanganui that combines the philosophy and ECE standards of Kindergarten with the convenience of a day care centre. Where most Kindergartens operate only during term time for ages 2½ - 6 years, we operate all year round with longer hours and for infants up to age 6.

Our Name

We are grateful to the Atihau-nui-a-Pāpārangi Iwi for considering a suitable name for our early learning centre. It has come about from an iconic Tōtara tree that grew in the Williams Domain and had the appearance of a puku on the side. This tree represents the rich resources that Whanganui has in its natural environment.

Our Curriculum

The centre curriculum is based on the New Zealand Early Childhood Curriculum TE WHĀRIKI (2017). This curriculum is underpinned by the four principles of:

  • EMPOWERMENT - WHAKAMANA – every child will experience an empowering curriculum that recognises and enhances their mana and supports them to enhance the mana of others.
  • HOLISTIC DEVELOPMENT - KOTAHITANGA – this will incorporate the cognitive (hinengaro), physical (tinana), emotional (whatumanawa), spiritual (wairua), and social cultural dimensions of the child. Because children develop holistically they need a broad and rich curriculum that enables them to grow their capabilities across all dimensions.
  • FAMILY AND COMMUNITY – WHĀNAU TANGATA – the wellbeing of each child is interdependent with the wellbeing of their kaiako, parents and whānau. Children will learn and develop best when their culture, knowledge and community are affirmed and there are connections with the people in their lives.
  • RELATIONSHIPS – NGĀ HONONGA – Respectful relationships, encouragement, warmth and acceptance will be our aim. It is through responsive and reciprocal relationships with people, places and things that our children will have opportunities to try out their ideas and refine their working theories.

Our programme is developed with the above principles in mind. It follows the strengths, interests and needs of our children. Your child’s day will be a mixture of routines, play and planned activities or events. There are ample opportunities to explore and experiment, research and inquire, rest and refuel. Indoor/outdoor flow is constant where children may choose to be in or out in our beautiful, developing natural environment.

Our Philosophy

We are committed to developing our philosophy of practice with you during 2018.  In the meantime we present the statements below that encapsulate our values and beliefs for your consideration:

Manaakitanga!
We use what we have and who we are to uplift others. Through caring and compassion, we provide an environment where everyone is valued, respected, and wholeheartedly included in our centre.

Whanaungatanga!
Strong relationships with tamariki, whānau, our community, and our world are key. Through our relationships with children we are able to accompany them on their learning journey in meaningful ways. Our relationships with whānau deepen our understanding of the child and build a strong sense of belonging for everyone. The way we capture learning experiences embraces these relationships, as the aspirations of whānau and our learning community are key considerations when we celebrate children’s learning. We also cultivate a relationship with Papatūānuku, as we explore our role in caring for our earth.

Ako!
Learning is a two-way street! While teachers here are qualified and knowledgeable about the education and care of children, Children and their families bring a wealth of knowledge about their culture, their experiences, the way they learn and what they want to achieve. This knowledge enables us to create learning opportunities that are meaningful for individual children, as well as whānau and our community. Ako describes both learning and teaching, knowing and discovering something new. Because of this, tuakana-teina relationships are strong at Te Puna Ako Ki Tōtara Puku, and teachers are life-long learners themselves.

Te Ao!
The learning experiences that occur at Te Puna Ako Ki Tōtara Puku are connected to our learning community, to Whanganui, to Aotearoa, to the world. Our children are capable, competent citizens, able to participate in society and bring about change. Sustainable practices, a bicultural curriculum, and valuing our relationships with the community ensure our learners see themselves as a valuable part of our society.

Our Kaiako (teachers)

The staff of Te Puna Ako Ki Totara Puku

Our staff and children love the outdoor adventure space at Te Puna Ako Ki Tōtara Puku.


Our centre is staffed with 100% qualified, registered early childhood kaiako (teachers). Our team has been chosen for its diverse strengths and interests in order to meet the needs and interests of our tamariki. Our kaiako are enthusiastic, caring and committed to providing an excellent learning environment in the Whanganui East community.

We are a team of six kaiako and a Centre Manager working with you and your child, who will ensure that the service is providing excellent education and care opportunities.

Our team is:

  • Raewyn McKenna (Centre Manager)
  • Jasmine Coffey
  • Jill Shepherd
  • Mechelle Kaa
  • Debra Turchie
  • Mandy McKenzie
  • Tiffany Wagstaff

Contact Us

For further information on Te Puna Ako Ki Tōtara Puku - Whanganui East Community Early Learning Centre - please give us a call, or email using the contact form.

027 885 5860
34 Patapu Street, Whanganui 4500
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