In the early 1970’s a group of women who wanted to further their education by taking papers at Massey University, lobbied the University through Massey University Students Association (MUSA) to set up a child care facility, and were consequently given a couple of rooms to do so.
Interest grew and more rooms were utilised. After further lobbying, the old farm house near the boiler house was given to MUSA for use as a child care centre and appropriate trained staff were employed.
Changes that were taking place in early childhood education warranted the appointment of a dedicated, committed Supervisor with a focus on providing an educational programme and Elma Humphrey was employed in 1980.
Numbers of parents requiring childcare continued to grow and as the centre was catering for both student and staff children, more space was needed. A small ex-builder’s shed was purchased and used as an extra playroom which helped considerably for two or three years. The continuing increase in children needing care and education prompted a fairly large extension to the work shed. At this stage, the centre was still under the MUSA banner, although a committee of staff and student parents, University representatives and MUSA representatives had been formed.
The centre was turning away a great number of children at this time and lobbying for more space, or a new centre, began in earnest. The goal was achieved with the completion in January 1990 of a purpose built centre comprising of two large sections. These were the Kea and Kiwi sections, catering at that time for 45 children aged 2-5 and 28 children aged from birth to 2½, respectively. Both sections had a staff of seven.
At this time the Centre separated from MUSA and became an incorporated society; responsible for finances, staff, equipment etc. The University retained a supporting role by being responsible for gas and electrical services and the maintenance of the building.
Three years later, with two-thirds of the cost met by the centre, the Hoiho Section was built. It catered for 24 under two year olds and another eight staff were employed.
Still the need to provide extra spaces continued and with much discussion and deliberation, it was decided to once again expand. The Tui Section opened for toddlers in March 1998 with a staff of seven.
The structure of the centre was now 4 age- grouped sections.
Hoiho Section: birth to 15 months
Tui Section: 15 months to 2½ years
Kiwi Section: 2½ to 3½ years
Kea Section: 3½ to 6 years
This status quo continued until after much discussion and consultation a decision was made in 2002 to modify the centre structure to reduce the transitions children were making as they progressed through the age groups, and also to reduce the group sizes in each section.
Consequently from 2003, the centre structure was changed to the present successful arrangement of two under two sections and two over two sections.
The ongoing commitment to providing high quality education and care to children of the Massey University and wider community has seen the development of two unique programmes.
The Attachment Based Learning programme for infants and toddlers; and the Community of Researchers programme for young children.