The latest Fantails Childcare Centre – Fantails Estate in Dairy Flat – is a modern, purpose-built facility with large outdoor grounds, designed to cater for children’s needs for fun, physical activity and learning.
Fantails Estate is the third centre owned by the Kiers family, with the others in Wainui and Silverdale. It opened early in March, and is licensed for 150 children, aged six months to five years old.
The buildings on the 3ha block have separate rooms and outdoor areas for infants, babies, toddlers, juniors and preschoolers. Each group can therefore enjoy its own age-appropriate resources along with specialised staff, and also come together for group activities.
The sunny rooms have covered decks for art and craft and messy play. Beyond lies another world of fun and learning in large landscaped grounds that include sandpits, water features, vegetable gardens, bike tracks, obstacle courses, slides and whare huts. An amphitheatre provides seating around a stage where children can put on performances. There is also a fenced paddock where games and running races can be held.
The flow between indoors and outdoors is something that Fantails group manager Nikki Summerville says ticks important boxes for quality childcare.
“Being in a natural outside environment running around, lifting, climbing and exploring, children get to use all their muscle groups, extend their motor skills, and build up their upper body strength which supports their learning and development,” she says.
Nikki is a qualified Early Childhood teacher who has worked for Fantails for more than five years. Her husband Daniel also works at Fantails as a preschool teacher and maintenance man. Nikki has been managing Early Childhood Centres for more than 20 years and says the emphasis at Fantails is on inspiring a lifelong love of learning and creating relationships between groups that move through the centre together as they grow older.
Dairy Flat is zoned for residential development in the coming decades and Nikki says big green spaces and gardens are going to become less common as that growth takes place.
Fantails Estate was designed with this in mind, and Nikki says its team of qualified registered childcare teachers are looking forward to things like growing edible plants from seed and then cooking and eating the produce – teaching children where food comes from.