BestStart Stratford

BestStart Stratford is a mixed age centre for children from birth to 5 years. We are a small, home like centre licensed for 35 children with up to 10 children under 2. Our environment mirrors a whānau atmosphere where all children are integrated into one facility with a focus on growing supportive, respectful relationships across children of all ages and abilities.

Our centre philosophy - Ina kei te mohio koe ko wai koe I anga mai koe I hea kei te mohio koe kei te anga atu ki hea. (If you know who you are and where you are from then you will know where you are going.) 

At BestStart Stratford our centre philosophy embraces the diverse cultural identities of our children and whānau through the values of respect, whānau, honesty and confidence. We support our children to know who they are and to celebrate their own and others’ cultures, whānau, sense of identity and their place within the Stratford community.

How do we support infants and toddlers in our environment?  At BestStart Stratford our infants and toddlers enjoy a calm and relaxed atmosphere in our under 2 environment, as well as having the freedom to join our older children in the wider centre if and when they choose. This ensures a seamless transition whereby our children immerse themselves into the over 2 year old programme at a time and pace that suits them. 

The under 2 year old's key teachers build respectful, responsive, trusting relationships with children and whānau and pride themselves on providing continuity of care from home to centre. We are entirely flexible, ensuring that home routines are followed to best support each individual child and family.

How are we active within our community?  Strong partnerships with our community build on teaching and learning practices and support our children to establish a sense of place and space. We take pride in our community involvement and ensure our children are active participants in the Stratford community. 

Our children delight in regular visits to the library, bike rides, excursions to Music for Kids and visits from Coach Mike for Playball and Whaea Aggie for waiata. We enjoy a relationship with Whakaahurangi Marae, other local ECE centres, many local schools and attend termly meetings with local new entrant teachers where we collaborate to achieve seamless transition to school processes. 

We're particularly proud of our Pay it Forward initiative, which sees us involve children and whanau in regular appeals and fundraisers to support individuals and schemes within our local community. Children learn about manaakitanga by helping others and develop an appreciation for the richness and mana of the Stratford community. Read about our visits to the local retirement village in the Stratford Press.

Video Gallery

At the heart of community learing
Mason's journey so far
Celebrating Puanga

kind words from our parents


He waves at the window with the biggest grin on his face, He waits for our sign "I love you" and then disappears into his space, I think of all the stories, we'll hear tonight at tea, About his friends, about you all.. he loves you all so fiercely! Our giggly, joking boy, who thinks he is so shy, Our inquisitive little man whose favourite phrase is "but why?" You bring out the best in him, from trains to cars to laughter, No matter what it is, we hear about it after! You are his home away from home, and have a place within his heart, And to his Mummy and Daddy, this is the vital part. You keep our boy safe, and give him security. It's everything you do and everything we see. You envelop him in love but encourage him to grow, His driven curiosity is kept alive by you, we know. So from a Mummy and a Daddy, who value what you do, Just like our boy Callum, We love our TopKids too!


The staff at TopKids Stratford are amazing. My daughter loves each and every one of them and looks forward to attending each day that she goes. They are very accommodating to my wife and I if we have needed to change times or days and are always friendly, welcoming and never too busy to help.


I absolutely love TopKids Stratford and recommend all my friends and family there, and since my kids have been there I have had many people go there after telling them about the top care the kids get and how happy I am.


Sport Taranaki visit our centre

Coach Mike from Sport Taranaki visit BestStart Stratford to play ball games with the children. The children light up when they see Coach Mike coming in with his big bag of sports equipment.

Together for Puanga

Our yearly Puanga event for our children, whanau and teachers look forward to each year and is a nice way to bring us all together.

Body painting with our babies

Here at BestStart Stratford we provide our under two children with opportunities to freely explore different learning experiences for themselves, without input from our bigger children.