BestStart Waikanae

Welcome to BestStart Waikanae, and thank you for taking the time to learn about our centre. We offer childcare and education for children aged 6 weeks to 5 years in a warm and nurturing environment that is safe, happy and full of love.

Our vision is to nurture our tamariki, serve our community and conserve our world. This underpins everything we do, everyday and provides our children with knowledge, confidence and compassion - a wonderful foundation from which to grow.

We are very lucky to have a large, natural playground with trees to climb, plenty of room to run and ride bikes. We even have chickens in the backyard! We back onto the grounds of Waikanae School and we often spend time rolling down the hills and exploring their playgrounds during the school holidays.

We have a diverse teaching team who bring their own passion and energy in different ways each and every day. All of us enjoy a good laugh and share the belief that teaching should be fun and exciting and children’s days should be filled with love, laughter and learning.

Our Whakatauki

Manaaki Whenua; Manaaki Tangata; Haere Whakamua. 

Care for the Land; Care for the People; Go Forward

Nurturing and Empowering our Tamariki

At BestStart Waikanae children learn through play and exploration.  They have time and space to make their own discoveries and develop at their own pace.  Our teachers nurture this self-discovery by offering resources and experiences that build on existing knowledge and enrich their learning.

In our Nursery we follow the rhythms and routines of the children to ensure they feel safe and secure during their time with us and we work very closely with our families to make sure there is continuity between centre and home life.  Our practice is based on the RIE philosophy and we believe that respectful relationships and interactions are key to the development of confident and curious infants and toddlers.

We have confidence and trust in our tamariki that they can make decisions for themselves and lead their own learning.  To empower them we work alongside them in their journey and live by the mantra “do with, not to”. 

Nurturing our bodies is as important has nurturing our hearts and minds so to promote healthy eating and wellness we provide fresh fruit and vegetables for morning and afternoon tea each day, sometimes from our own garden.  Our tamariki love helping to prepare their own kai and they are learning about where their food comes from and how to make good choices for themselves. We are

Serving our Community 

We are a community within a community at BestStart Waikanae and everyone is seen as a teacher and a learner.  We share information as a learning community and everyone is encouraged to take the lead in their area of passion or expertise. We like to teach and learn alongside one another so that the children, especially, have the opportunity to share their own knowledge and unique insights into their world. You never stop learning and every day is filled with new ideas and surprises.

We are also very invested in being a part of and supporting our wider community and we do this in a number of ways.  We have a beautiful relationship with the residents of Winara Rest Home where we share regular visits and celebrate special occasions together (including hosting a 102nd birthday party!).

We actively support our friends at Plunket and Wellington Free Ambulance through fundraising as well as our local Food Bank and other out-reach programmes that make a wonderful difference in the lives of others.  Our children know that they are part of something bigger and understand how special their contributions to their community are.

currently part of the Know Me, Eat Programme which is supporting this learning even more. 

Conserving our World 

Caring for our Planet is important to us and is a big part of the children’s learning here at the centre.  Together we care for our gardens; growing our own fruit and vegetables, look after our award-winning chickens and recycle and compost as much of our waste as possible.  The children are learning about living in a sustainable world and our hope is that this is a message they will carry with them through life.

We are lucky to have a large, natural environment, with trees to climb, bugs to hunt and mud to make pies with, which supports the children to learn about their physical world.  We also make good use of the Hemi Matenga Nature Reserve that is on our doorstep; visiting each week with a group of children.  

Getting Ready for School 

As part of the BestStart family we are involved in the Be School Ready initiative, which is focussed on supporting children, through a play-based curriculum, right from infancy, to become confident and competent learners with a passion for life-long learning and the skills they will need to transition to school at the age of five.  Every child is unique and so is the journey of learning they take so we make sure they are supported by robust, individual plans that celebrate who they are and the gifts they bring with them.

We invite you to come and visit; spend some time exploring our world, sharing in the fun and learning and getting to know the team.  We welcome you with open arms into our little community.

kind words from our parents


Today Cooper woke up, and was getting ready for kindy, getting his bags together, drink bottle, hat. I had to explain that today was not Cooper’s kindy day. I cannot believe how fast Cooper has settled in, how well he is talking, how much Cooper is learning, in such a short time. Thank you all so much! You all do such an awesome job.


The most amazing transition for my little one. Staff are great and so Is the environment, they make they process so much easier. Wouldn’t recommend any other day care.


Our sustainability journey

Sustainability is an important part of everything we do at BestStart Waikanae and this year we have been invited to take part in some international research through the University of Canterbury which will support us in taking our journey even further.

WAM wonderland

BestStart Waikanae were one of 24 BestStart centres participating in the inaugural WAM festival (Wearable Arts and Music) on 18 July. The festival was all about encouraging creativity and learning about sustainability. The key was to have fun being creati

Baking for Plunket

At ABC Waikanae we have a bit of a reputation for putting on a good morning when ever we have tradies or other visitors at the centre.  We thought this year, for our Plunket Appeal, we would put that reputation to work and we...