Timaru Centre


Timaru Centre

Active Learners Timaru is licensed for 57 children aged between 6 weeks and 6 years. We have large classroom spaces that are set up and changed daily to reflect the children’s learning. At Active Learners Timaru we pride ourselves on having great levels of qualified and experienced teaching staff that are confident in the care and education of young children.

A number of our management and teaching team at the centre are parents and thus we understand the thought that goes into deciding on a preschool for your child. Through regular communication we endeavour to make this decision as easy on parents and whanau as possible.

The teachers at Active Learners are committed to making sure that you and your child get the most out of your time in the centre and we encourage you and your family members to visit at any stage.

At Active Learners we keep you and your family up to date on a regular basis with the activities and learning your child has engaged in. We also email a monthly newsletter and encourage you to like us on Facebook so that we can keep you up to date with news and events at the centre.

Please feel free to come into the centre at any stage and we will show your through our facilities. No appointment is necessary.



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Nursery Schedule

Phone : 03 684 8215

Our Nursery team follows your child’s routine, therefore if your child is asleep at lunch time the lunch will be provided at a time that is suitable to your child’s routine. The flexible daily routine is dependent on the needs of the under twos children.


Centre Opens 7:30 am
Morning kai 9:30 am
Lunch Time 11:30 am
Lunch box time / late snack 12:00 noon
Rolling afternoon tea 4:00 pm
Centre closes 5:30 pm


Preschool Schedule


Centre Opens 7:30 am
Morning kai 9:30 am
Younger children’s group time 11:30 am
Younger children’s lunch time 11:45 am
Four year old extension programme 11:30 am
Four year old lunch time 12:00 noon
Afternoon kai 2:30 pm
Lunch box time/ late snack 4:00 pm
Centre closes 5:30 pm


Latest News


news archive


Timaru Team

Andrea Nicol

Andrea Nicol


Qualification: Bachelor of Education ( ECE)


I was raised in Timaru. I have a daughter and I enjoy spending my spare time with my family. I also enjoy watching netball and rugby, knitting and cooking.

I particularly enjoy Te Reo Maori and I like to share my heritage with the children. I am still learning the language myself and I enjoy working with the children to build their knowledge at the same time as I build mine.

I believe that all children have the right to quality childcare and education. I believe that all children deserve to be treated equally irrespective of race, culture, beliefs or abilities. I believe and strive to create an early childhood environment that is safe for children to explore and express their feelings. I also believe that strong relationships with families are an important part of a successful education.

Andrea Nicol

Ava Fang


Nursery Teacher
Bachelor of English Language and Literature
Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Early Childhood)


Originally from China, I studied in Hamilton for two years before I moved to Timaru to take the position at Active Learners.

I am dedicated to providing a nurturing and stimulating learning environment for children and committed to contributing to children’s independence and self-esteem through individualised teaching.

At the core of my teaching philosophy is to view children as competent and independent learners. I believe a teacher’s role is to provide a learning environment that can engage children’s attention and prompt their further exploration based on their own experiences, knowledge, needs, and interests.

I also believe that an early childhood teacher is responsible for helping children gain deep understanding of their family and cultural heritage so they can become confident and active learners, contributing their special strengths, interests, and their cultural capital to their community.

Andrea Nicol

Carla Hunter


Kia ora koutou. My name is Carla Hunter. I am the head teacher in the preschool. I have been working in the early childhood field for approximately seven years and hold a Bachelor of Teaching and Learning in Early Childhood Education. During my time as an early childhood teacher I have experienced working in a diverse range of Centres.

To build upon my current knowledge base and engage in ongoing learning and development I am currently attending a two part professional development course called “Investing in Capital Leadership.” This course focuses on the use of effective trust to empower teachers, children and families, and promote a collaborative, inclusive culture of continuous improvement for all. As a result of undertaking this course, I am looking forward to growing my leadership qualities and empowering others to build upon their own.

I am passionate about the curriculum domain of language and literacy where I enjoy sharing an array of board stories and rhymes with children as well as offering opportunities for development of language and literacy skills.

I am the teacher responsible for the Kiwi programme (transition to school). The main purpose of this group time is to foster children’s love of learning and delve deeper into children’s current interests using an inquiry based process to extend children’s critical thinking skills where children build upon their concentration, co-operation and communication skills in preparation for a school classroom environment. During Kiwi time children are offered opportunities to develop their literacy, mathematical, social, fine and large motor skills.

Last year, we began adopting a Reggio-inspired approach to teaching and learning, whereby the programme is based on the principles of respect, responsibility, and community. The teachers here at Active learners have been so inspired by what we have currently read and learnt about Reggio, that we have adapted our teaching practices to support a Reggio approach to learning. I am looking forward to learning more about how our team at Active Learners can incorporate more of the Reggio approach into our current practice.

It is my belief children learn best when positive relationships between teachers, parents and whanau are fostered, an approach which is fundamental to the Reggio method.

Andrea Nicol

Fiona Gray


Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting
Graduate Diploma in Teaching & Learning (Primary)
Graduate Diploma in Teaching & Learning (Early Childhood)


Kia ora. I’m Fiona and I am a Kea (2 year old) teacher. I have lived in Timaru for the majority of my life. I have moved away a few times, always to return back to the town I think of as home. I have a daughter who has just started Primary school this year.

I have a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting, Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning (Primary) and a Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning (Early Childhood). I have been teaching in the Early Childhood sector for 8 years.

I am very passionate about building trusting relationships with children in my care as well as with parents and whanau. I believe these trusting relationships are essential for children to feel safe and secure within their learning environment, and it assists in giving them the confidence to strive to succeed at whatever it is they wish to achieve. I very strongly believe in the Pikler and RIE philosophy where building reciprocal, respectful relationships are of the utmost importance to a child’s learning and that these relationships will have an impact on the child for the remainder of their life.

My curriculum interests are in literacy and tactile/sensory exploration. Two year old children enjoy exploring through using their five senses and I love creating loads of tactile/sensory experiences for them to investigate.

Gillian Richardt

Gillian Richardt


Centre Assistant

I was born and grew up in Fairlie. After spending time travelling overseas I married and settled in Timaru. I have two grown children.

I have been working with children as a centre assistant for seven years and enjoying seeing their happy faces each day.

I like to encourage tamariki and their whanau to make healthy lunchbox choices.

Lisa Alderton

Lisa Alderton


Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood Education)


My name is Lisa Alderton and I am one of the Kea (two-year-old group) teachers here at Active Learners.

I completed my bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education in November 2014 and I am passionate about teaching. I believe that strong, quality relationships are crucial for children’s holistic development. This belief underpins everything I do.

I am currently studying towards a Postgraduate Degree in Special and Inclusive Education with a focus on behaviour with the University of Canterbury.

I live in Pleasant Point with my fiancé and our three boys. I love travelling, reading, spending time with family and friends, art and craft and of course, teaching!

My philosophy is underpinned by the theorists Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky, Urie Bronfenbrenner and the early childhood movement from Reggio Emilia, Italy. I believe that children benefit from practices that are grounded in research.

As an early childhood educator I believe I am responsible for providing children with positive learning experiences. I recognise play as an important vehicle for children’s social, emotional, and cognitive development and that it is also a reflection of their development. Literacy, mathematics, verbal and non-verbal communication, science, art, drama, problem solving skills, self management skills, technology, social skills, health and physical well-being can all be learnt through play. Children are motivated to learn when they have opportunities to make choices in an environment that is enriching and stimulating. Children are active learners, drawing on direct physical and social experience as well as culturally transmitted knowledge to construct their own understanding of the world around them.

I strive to provide an environment where children and families from various backgrounds feel welcomed and accepted. As a teacher, I seek to form close relationships with each child and their families. Children develop and learn best in the context of a community where they feel safe, secure and valued and their physical needs are met. Education is a lifelong process and the building blocks of learning are developed in the early years of life. Therefore, my goal is to empower all children to be motivated to learn, to become curious about the world around them, and to build their confidence in themselves as learners. These are the dispositions that will last a lifetime.

Millie Scott

Millie Scott


My name is Amelia Scott although I am better known as Millie. I was born and raised in Timaru where I attended Roncalli College. In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my family and playing netball. My current role at Active Learners is to provide cover while teachers are on their breaks. I have worked at the Centre for nearly three years.

During this time I have developed positive relationships with our children, whanau, and teachers. I believe relationships are at the heart of children’s learning and that children learn through play. I have completed a Certificate in Early Childhood Education and I am currently studying at the New Zealand Tertiary College for a Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood). I have nearly completed my first year and am really enjoying the learning and the challenge of studying again.

Rachel Ayers

Rachel Ayers


Non-Contact Cover

Certificate in Early Childhood Studies

I was born in Timaru and have lived here all my life. I am married with a six year old son.

My role at Active Learners is to provide non-contact cover on the floor for the teachers while they complete their profile books for the children and other paper work. I love my position. I get to work with amazing teachers and have found a real sense of belonging here working with the tamaiki and their whanau.

I believe we have an important role in encouraging children to participate in a range of activities and to provide them with opportunities to create and act upon their own ideas.

Scott Lindbom

Scott Lindbom


Kia ora. My name is Scott and I’m the 4 year old/Kiwi group Teacher. I achieved a Bachelor of Teaching and Learning in Primary Education from the Christchurch College of Education. Since graduating, I have been a primary school teacher in England, a volunteer ESOL teacher in Tanzania and an ESOL teacher at an International School in South Korea.

I have also been a relief teacher in primary schools and early childhood centres in Auckland and Christchurch. I taught in an early childhood centre in Christchurch for nearly 7 years, where I mainly worked with 3-4 year old tamariki, before moving to Timaru. My philosophy of teaching is to develop and expand tamariki’s concepts about the world and themselves. I try to do this by promoting a healthy and positive self-esteem within tamariki, while having fun at the same time.

Sue Howard

Sue Howard


Diploma in Pre-School Practice (United Kingdom)


My husband and I have lived in New Zealand for the past six years after moving from the United Kingdom with our two grown daughters. We love the warm weather and lifestyle here in New Zealand.

I believe that every child has the right to a quality education and I love being at the very beginning of this journey. I enjoy watching and helping to guide children through their learning. I feel blessed that parents allow us this opportunity and I treat it as an honour to care for every child in our centre.

Tash Longman

Tash Longman


Pre-school Teacher

Diploma of Teaching (Early Childhood Education)

I was born in Australia but have lived in Timaru since I was three years old. I have four brothers and sisters. We are somewhat unique in that I am a twin and two of my other siblings are also twins. My family is close and we like to spend time together riding horses and camping. I am married and have a three year old daughter who attends Active Learners.

I have been involved in early childhood teaching for nearly seven years and have recently completed a Diploma of Teaching in Early Childhood Education.

I love children and really enjoy working and learning alongside them. I believe very strongly that tamariki have the fundamental right to learn and develop in a supportive and encouraging environment so that they may develop and grow into confident young people.

I enjoy getting to know the families and whanau of our tamariki and I get a great deal of pleasure from building strong relationships with the members of our Active Learners community.



Timaru childcare centre Juanita

Juanita Cootes

Centre Manager, Bachelor of Teaching and Learning ECE


Te rangi, te whenua, te whare, te iwi, tēna koutou.
Ko Tararua te maunga
Ko Otaki te awa
Ko Tai nui te waka
Ko Ngati Toa te iwi
Ko Juanita Cootes toku ingoa
Nō Te Tihi O maru ahau.
Nō reira, tēna koutou, tēna koutou, tēna tatou katoa.

Hello, my name is Juanita Cootes and I am the Centre Manager at Active Learners Timaru. I have a Bachelor of Teaching and Learning in Early Childhood Education and have worked in this profession for ten years. Before joining the Active Learners team I had experience in Kindergarten, Montessori, and Preschools with children aged from three months through to five years. Just previous to my position here as Centre Manager I was the Head Teacher in our Nursery working with our infants and toddlers; a role I thoroughly enjoyed. I believe that respectful relationships are at the heart of all learning and development.

I am committed to the partnership implicit in Te Tiriti o Waitangi and believe all of New Zealands tamariki have a right to experience our unique heritage. Early childhood centres should endeavour to provide a bicultural curriculum and provide an environment rich in Te Ao Māori. Relationships are essential to achieving an effective partnership where aspirations are shared and respected.

Having a Māori world view, and being sustainably minded, means I believe tamariki need to develop a connection to the natural world. Such a connection will see them having a sense of respect and responsibility for, and learning to become, caretakers of our land and all the creatures in it.

I am strongly influenced by the Reggio Emilia approach and believe that teachers should seek the potential in tamariki and support and extend them in this. Teachers should act as resources to assist children in their enquiries into their world.

I am excited to be guiding our centre and strive for excellence in all areas. Relationships are again at the heart of this role and what I see as good leadership. Possibilities are endless, and potential limitless, when a team is supported and enabled to work together towards a clear future direction, and who are encouraged and challenged to develop as reflective professionals who are passionate about what they do. Teacher’s individual talents and strengths should be recognised and grown, and their special knowledge shared with others, leading to best possible learning outcomes for our tamariki.

I feel incredibly privileged to be working with such an amazing teaching team, such wonderful children and within such a great learning community, and I encourage you to consider Active Learners when making decisions about the care and education of your child.



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