Kindergartens are a place to learn, grow and play; providing children with the opportunity to practice essential social, emotional, and problem-solving skills that will be used throughout their life.
For children at Te Puna Kindergarten, a brand-new facility will set the stage for a life-long love of learning thanks to its purpose-built design.
Funding for New Facility
After a major road transport development planned for the Tauranga Northern Link expressway to be built through their old site, Te Puna Kindergarten needed to relocate.
With funding from their parent organisation Inspired Kindergartens and compensation from NZTA for the old kindergarten land and building, there was still a shortfall in funds to build the new facility.
Kindergarten families rallied together to fundraise for the outdoor area, producing a professional cookbook which raised over $20,000 towards the build. With a fantastic outdoor space well on its way to completion thanks to community support, the only outstanding funds needed were for the electrical works and appliances.
Te Puna Kindergarten came to TECT seeking funding. With a TECT grant of $52,967, fixtures such as outlets and cabling, light fittings, heat pumps, a fire alarm system and kitchen appliances could be purchased, and Te Puna Kindergarten could celebrate the start of an era in their new home.
A New Building Brings Fresh Start
Te Puna Kindergarten moved into their new building in 2019. Designed by Mod Architecture’s Andrew Ward, the building references a traditional rural barn design, with internal spaces that are intentionally left minimal to allow the children's artwork and educational material to shine. The building is designed to a high level of sustainability and cost-effective energy efficiency where possible, with sensor-activated lighting, natural ventilation with end-to-end openable windows and thermal mass concrete flooring.
A large open play area provides ample space for storytelling, playtime and activities, while a separate Whanau Room, which can be used by the whole community, is also available for various activities; allowing the community to come together to socialise, learn and exercise.
The outside play area, developed by Kindergarten families, features a small playground, sandpit, fruit trees, vegetable gardens and plenty of grassed areas for children to run around.
Grateful for TECT Grant
Providing early childhood education for up to 55 two, three and four-year olds, Te Puna Kindergarten’s learning programme is vast – from making biscuits with the children to outings to the local farm. Encouraging learning through play, teachers focus on catering to children’s strengths and interests in creative ways.
The kindergarten is also part of the Enviro-Schools program which teaches children to think and act in sustainable ways, running litter-less lunches, growing their own vegetables, and recycling water from the roof for water play.
Head teacher Paula Osborn says they are extremely grateful for TECT’s support and the dedication of the community and kindergarten families that helped with the fundraising efforts.
“We are so excited to be in our new building and couldn’t have done it without TECT’s support. The grant enabled us to purchase all the vital fixtures and fittings that make the space useable.
“The children have been doing lots of cooking; making meals to welcome new families, for celebrations and loss of loved ones, and the appliances are essential in making this happen.
“It truly was a big community effort getting here and we’re thankful TECT was at the heart of that.”
To learn more about Te Puna Kindergarten, visit https://inspiredkindergartens.nz/find-a-service/find-a-center/tauranga-west/te-puna-kindergarten.