Our Values

We believe whanaungatanga and kotahitanga (relationship & working together as one) are the key to children’s learning.

Relationship with each other as a team of Kaiako (teachers), with tamariki (children), with their whanau and the taiao (environment) matter to us.

We acknowledge whakapapa (genealogy – family history) of tamariki, their whanau and community which helps us to strengthen the connection with everyone involved in the Centre.

We believe the sharing of knowledge, skills, attributes are fundamental as co-learners, supporting and encouraging tamairki in achieving the best outcomes.


At the heart of learning is the need, and the right, to learn and play in nature. Nature encompasses the central heart of our environment. This becomes the source of wonder and inspiration for all tamariki’s learning and enhancing all areas of their development through a natural discovery approach, Reggio Emilia (inquiry-based learning) where tamariki are provided with space, finding new opportunities to explore, discover, investigate, challenge and make sense of their world being active participates of their own learning journey. The concept of sustainability practices is introduced through connections with nature as they learn, explore, appreciate, respect and care for Papatuanuku and the environment that support long-term environmental awareness and understandings as well as positive outcomes for their developing views of the world for future generations.

To ensure we create a special experience for children and parents, we consciously weave our core values into daily life at Halswell Quarry Preschool. We know that the early years are the most critical stage of a child’s development and we have a responsibility to do all we can to optimise a child’s developmental experience during their time with us.


We are wholehearted, committed and passionate about the
responsibility we have in the lives of your children. Open, sincere and respectful relationships and interactions guide our practice. We purse to the highest standard in all we do.

Most of all we believe in the power and wonder of the child, our children.

Te nuinga o nga mea katoa e whakapono ana tatou I roto I te mana me te miharo o te tamaiti, ta tatou mau tamariki.



The Importance of Play

Play allows children to be free, to make discoveries, to investigate, to participate, to challenge, and to have fun!


We believe in play with less boundaries and with more loose parts to expand imagination.  Child led risky play encourages important decision making, builds confidence and how we learn from mistakes. At Halswell Quarry Preschool, we understand the risks of play and embrace them as learning opportunities.


Taking our inspiration from the Reggio Emilia Approach we work to provide spaces that are full of beauty, that are natural and provide a sense of wonder. These become the “third teacher”. They inspire the children and encourage them to question and seek answers through their own working theories.


The teacher’s role is to extend and deepen children’s ideas, thoughts and theories by nurturing and guiding research. Through careful observation, documentation, thoughtful questions and reflections, our teachers work in partnership with the children to extend thinking and foster wonder and hypothesis. The children are also given time to reflect, revisit and react to their learning investigations.

The Curriculum

The curriculum focuses on a inquiry based approach. The natural curiosity of young children is stimulated as they take an active role in their own learning by exploring their environment to make inquiries and discoveries. Our skilled teachers guide this process in a way that supports the children’s own ideas and extends learning.

Global concepts are explored through a cycle of inquiry which are developmentally appropriate, significant, challenging and engaging for the children. Daily activities and provocations are integrated into these inquiries to make them more meaningful.


Creating community connections is an important part of daily life at Halswell Quarry Preschool. Exploring the community is a regular feature, field trips to the local school, library, park, farmland, streams can be quite frequent, and spontaneously arising from the needs of the children.

Each child has a primary caregiver or key teacher to take a particular interest in the development, learning and wellbeing of each child. The needs of each child are identified through observation and documentation of their interests, development, progression and parent input. Through this deeper knowledge, key teachers carefully plan experiences to meet the individual needs of each child. The learning and development of each child is carefully recorded in a growing document about the child through an accessible ePortfolio that travels with the child from birth to school.

Each term we hold Celebration of Learning evenings. This provides an opportunity for us all to come together to celebrate the learning and achievements of the children at Halswell Quarry Preschool.


The natural outdoor environment is the centre of Halswell Quarry Preschool, literally!

We place such a strong value on the role that the natural world has in a child’s development, we have created and built our centre around our own New Zealand rainforest!


This space is natural, real and raw. Offering a myriad of opportunities and time to engage with nature. Here we encourage your child to discover, forage for bugs, build, climb, be barefoot, sleep under a tree, cook outdoors, get wet, get muddy, basically all the fun things!

Children are able to freely access authentic materials and tools; our spaces foster self-help skills and social competence and reflect children as being confident and capable.


A final key component of the design was to be able to strongly reflect the various raw elements that we feel make Aotearoa, New Zealand distinct. From the materials we have used throughout to the central feature of glass, light, native plants, ferns, grasses, timber, river stones, sand and water we have endeavoured to portray this sense of identity.

We strive to create spaces of wonder and discovery connected to natural play and environments of beauty yet challenging and stimulating within inspirational learning programmes that happen every day.

Meal times and Nutrition

Mealtimes are a highly valued social occasion at Halswell Quarry Preschool, where children have the opportunity to eat together and experience what the joy of food and dining together can bring.

The children are supported to be involved in setting the tables, using utensils, clearing and rinsing their plates at their own working mini-kitchen.

Our onsite chef cooks fresh and nutritious meals every day with seasonal produce, encouraging a culture of healthy eating for your child.

Our meals are well balanced, loaded with nutritious vegetables and the use of plant and animal based proteins.

The menu is rotated utilising local produce and food and herbs grown in the preschool garden to ensure variety of food all year round.

We can also accomodate for children who have allergies or special dietary requirements and our premises and procedures comply with all food safety regulations.


It was really important to us to create an environment that provides children with an understanding of sustainable practices. The landscape architecture and building design reflects those ideas and incorporates sustainability in day-to-day life.


We promote children as kaitiaki who care for their land and all within it, a rich, authentic, clean, green environment assures the land is protected and nurtured as the taonga (treasure) it is. Teacher’s support children to experience the wonder of nature and engage in ethics of care through


  • Being part of local planting projects
  • Keeping a worm farm
  • Reusable/washable hand towels
  • Menu with reduced animal proteins
  • Learn to recycle, re-use and reduce
  • Covered bike stands to encourage cycle use
  • Solar panels and EV electric car charger (coming soon!)

Halswell Quarry Preschool is open Monday - Friday 7.30am - 6.00pm

2 Irvines Track, Halswell, Christchurch 8025