The latest Reach Forward Early Learning Centre catering for children aged zero to five, opens in Falls Road, Warkworth.
Director Linda Ward says it’s a mixture of great fun learning moments within an environment of structure and routine that separates Reach Forward from other services.
“Even the youngest children here will have focus group times so it’s not just free play all day,” Linda says.
“Christian values are also woven into the learning and children are eager to meet the clear expectations of behaviour. This is appealing to most parents so children of any belief are welcome to attend.”
All staff at the centre are fully qualified and classes have a minimum of two teachers to no more than 20 children.
“This makes the classes a manageable size so we can teach them literacy, numeracy, science, music and the arts.”
The centre will be open five days a week, between 7am and 6pm.
Linda says she has enjoyed opening three other Reach Forward centres.
“I opened my first centre in Albany nine years ago and since then have done the same in Te Kauwhata and Helensville,” she says.
Linda is Australian born, but grew up in Auckland and studied teaching at Auckland University.
From there, she taught in primary schools in Auckland and London for 11 years before she became children’s director and pastor at City Impact Church.
“I would manage about 100 volunteers and 400 children on a Sunday, but that came naturally after looking after 500 children at a school assembly.”
She went on to open six early childhood centres for the church.
“After opening so many centres for the church, I decided I wanted to open some to my own design.
“I’ve been looking for a space in Warkworth as a number of people already travel from here to the Albany centre and it’s a fast-growing area.”