Early Childhood on Stafford Prospectus

Kia ora, Talofa lava,
Welcome to Early Childhood on Stafford. Early Childhood on Stafford opened as an Early Childhood Centre in 2003. Prior that it was the home of the Lebanese community and a very popular functions centre. The building was built in 1920 and was the home of Henry Shacklock, the son of the founder of the Shacklock company which produced the very high quality ranges and other whiteware

Early Childhood on Stafford is owned by Russell and Sue Ballantyne who have both been working in Early Childhood Education for over 40 years in the Dunedin Community.

Our Programme

  • The programme at Early Childhood on Stafford will be based on the Early Childhood curriculum Te Whariki.
  • Each child will have an e -portfolio using the Home app that documents their learning and development while they are at Early Childhood on Stafford. Samples of their work, photographic evidence and written data are incorporated in this document to show you what your child is learning. You will be given a link to access this portfolio when your child starts (they need to be active on the roll before this can happen). Once downloaded, you can then share with family and friends this information should you wish to (this will require them to be listed as contacts and as prime carers in our system.
  • This app will also record your child’s sleep times whilst at centre and all toileting information which will allow you to monitor in real time. We also use this to record all learning Injuries (some people call them accidents) which again you will receive in real time. If there are any concerns re your child’s wellbeing, we will always ring you, and if you are concerned after reading a report you are most welcome to give us a call too, so this app helps to keep all communication flowing between home and centre.
  • Please feel free to share stories of your child’s learning journey with us – you can add stories and photos to the on-line system as well. And please comment on any stories as this then can help the staff plan for more learning opportunities for your child.
  • Children will be further extended through planned and spontaneous excursions/walks/van trips which will be taken regularly.
  • On occasions, special visitors will also be part of the programme.

Hours of operation

  • We are open from 7.30am – 5.30pm Monday to Friday for all children/tamariki aged 0-6.

Weekly minimum hours for all children

We will accept bookings for 25 hours per week as the minimum, over four or five days. Each booked day must be for at least four hours. We believe this is a good balance between a child becoming more easily settled as they get into the routine of care and a parent’s choice of spending time with their child.

  • As staffing is determined by the number of children attending, it is important that you adhere to the times that your child is enrolled for. You can change your times with advance notice (2 weeks) and providing there is an available space. Please send requests through email to Our centre is licensed by the Ministry of Education for 60 children to attend at one time and we cannot exceed this, so the ability to change times is dependent on this.
  • If you have been unexpectedly delayed due to an emergency, please contact us by phone (034701029) so we can allay fears for your child. If you are late or early without prior consultation you will be invoiced for this – we ask that if you are earlier than your booked time, please wait with your child until it is time to sign them in.
  • Once you have a confirmed starting date it is the expectation that this will not change and there is a bond of $100.00 to be paid to secure your place at the Centre. Any variation to this date would most likely result in your child being placed back on the waiting list and the bond will be surrendered. There is no refund on the bond. The reason for this is clearly financial. [Once we commit to holding a place for your child this place can no longer be offered to another child and therefore any changes come at a cost to the Centre and ultimately to all the children/whanau who attend.]
    When your child commences as agreed, the bond will be used as a credit to your first invoice. Should you wish to change your commencement date please contact us asap to see if this is possible. A no-show will result in you being charged for the dates booked if there has been no communication prior to the agreed start date._
  • When you are going on holiday /or plan to be away for short period of time please let us know by sending an email to Please inform us of the date of first day of absence and the date when child first returns to ECOS. You can also message us on the Home app which you be given access to on commencement.


  • Whanau invoices account for just over 30% of our centre’s income so they are very important to ensure we can do what we need to do. So please keep payments regular and current.
  • If the centre is open, you will be charged for your booking. We do not charge for statutory holidays, and we are also closed between the Christmas and the New Year holiday period.
  • Your fees are to be paid 2 weeks in advance. You can pay by automatic payment or internet banking. They must be kept up to date. Our Centre banks with BNZ Moray Place Branch. Our Bank Account number is 02-0912-0007969-000 . All fees are GST inclusive. Should there be any default in payment of fees, you will be liable for any costs incurred in the collection of these fees. Invoices will be emailed to the bill payer every second Monday
  • Please feel free to discuss any issues regarding your fees with Russell. A statement can be requested at any time and if you believe that the invoice is incorrect or are uncertain about how it is reading – please send an email to Russell at We will work with you to solve any problem as we believe that the financial investment in your children is high and deserves every bit of care to ensure you have confidence in our systems.
  • Childcare subsidies are available through Work and Income New Zealand (WINZ). Please contact their office on phone number 0800 559 009 and they will assist you. It is a good idea to apply 3-4 weeks before you need your subsidy to start. It is a great idea to keep checking the threshold for income levels as these are often changing and any bit of support can help offset the costs of the charges.
  • If your child is absent due to illness or ‘just having a day off’ you will still be charged in full for this time. If you are planning a holiday you can request to move to the booking to the centre minimum hours (through email two weeks in advance). In doing this your account will be credited the difference between fee costs of your regular booking and the centre agreed minimum hours for your child’s age group.
  • We offer the Governments 20 hours ECE to all 3- and 4-year-olds attending our Centre. The intent of this policy is that all parents of children aged 3 and over have their first 20 hours care and education paid for. Please refer to our fee structure for further information. We also have a section on 20 hours in our parent section of our website at


  • Morning tea and afternoon tea will be provided by the centre free for all full feepaying children. Lunch is provided by parents for their child in a lunchbox.
  • This centre is a nut free zone to protect children suffering from allergies.
  • If your child has any allergies, it is important that we are aware of these. Please ensure that this section on the enrolment form has been completed.
  • If you have religious or cultural food serving requirements, please inform staff.
  • Please supply your own bottles and formula if your child requires these.
  • You are most welcome to breast feed your child in the play areas. If you require somewhere more private, please speak with the staff and we will assist you.


  • As per the Sleep Policy: All children are entitled to undisturbed rest if required and Early Childhood on Stafford will not compromise their well being by denying such rest. Children will not be unduly woken from, nor denied sleep, except in special circumstances
  • Your child will have their own bedding, and this will be changed and laundered weekly at the centre.
  • There will be stretchers available for children who are still having sleep/rest.
  • There will be a daily record of your child’s sleep/rest on the Home app.
  • Please ensure that you are aware of the sleep policy that is displayed in both rooms. Or ask for a copy if you wish. Children will be monitored every 5 minutes.

Parent Support

  • Regular newsletters will be emailed. These will contain information on programme achievement and events in the Centre.
  • We will also have regular information in your child’s portfolio as well as taking any opportunity available to provide informal feedback of their development to you.
  • Should a concern arise about your child’s/children’s progress please do not hesitate to make time to speak to Sue or Russell.
  • The complaints/concern procedure is posted on our main noticeboard and can also be found on our website in the parents' section.
  • We have several family/whanau events which are an opportunity to meet other whanau and staff such as our annual shared Matariki Dinner, Takeaway/fish & chip nights, Super cool discos, and an End of year picnic at the Centre. These are good opportunities for parents/whanau to get to know each other and have some fun with the children outside in our playground in the dark…
  • Again, if there are ever any problems, please don’t dwell on them – come and see us and talk. The only people that can fix things are us and you. In all our experience 99.9% of problems are fixable and usually are the result of miscommunication/misunderstandings so let’s solve things together.

Settling Children

Before your child begins their ECOS journey there are some really key preparation details that need to occur to make the transition work successfully.

  • Breast feeding your child is welcome and encouraged at ECOS. Otherwise, we would expect all children commencing in the under- two room to be able to drink from a bottle should they require it. This means that they need to be well prepared if they have not experienced this before.
  • Some Whanau bring frozen breast milk which can be heated in a bottle and others supply Infant Formula. One suggestion from successful transitions is offering your baby a bottle from a very early stage once a day. Some breastfed babies find it easier to accept a bottle from an adult different than their mother, so giving the baby plentiful opportunities to practice this with other family members might be helpful. This will then familiarise them with this process so that they can have their dietary needs met while at ECOS.
  • Exposure and time with other adults prior to starting and the ability to self-settle when they go to bed will help reduce some of the initial anxiety your child may feel. Our centre works diligently to help your child begin to find their place in our rooms, but we also need to state that in group care, staff cannot give one on one care the whole time they are at ECOS. Holding children and comforting them when upset is a given, but we have the mission of getting alongside the child while they explore their new environs. Children who are comfortable exploring independently tend to settle earlier.
  • You will need to spend time settling your child into the new environment. This will also allow us to get to know each other to ensure your child is settled and feels secure. Staff will contact you before the start date to organize some settling visits. You are also welcome to visit with your child outside of your booked in time to help facilitate this.
  • Prior to your child’s second birthday we will be working with them to help prepare them to make the transition to the over 2 room. This could take time and involve time spent in both rooms before and after the second birthday. Each child will be carefully transitioned to ensure they feel secure and are able to cope. We will be working with parents/caregivers as well to ensure that this progression is well managed.


Early Childhood Centre’s are a hotbed of disease and germs as young children learn to gain control over their environment through hands on (often mouths for the younger ones) interactions which lend them to be very susceptible to gathering infections/picking up germs. Whilst this can have a detrimental effect on their health it also exposes their immune system to challenges to which it rapidly learns from and begins to build immunity. So, the chance is that once they start, they will become unwell at some times.

  • If your child is sick, please contact the centre. We can then inform other parents/whanau of infections/illnesses going around. Please tell us if it’s a cold or vomit so we can inform other whanau if bugs are going around so they can make decisions on whether to send their own children.
  • If your child is on medication you will need to fill in the appropriate forms. All medication must be given to staff on arrival at the centre. Medication must not be stored in children’s back packs as this could put other children at risk if they gain access to this.
  • No medication can be administered without signed parental permission. Paracetamol/Nurofen is not administered at centre UNLESS it has been prescribed by a doctor for a specific period to treat a specific condition OR symptoms.
  • If your child has an accident that is deemed serious you will be contacted immediately. It is therefore imperative that the contact information on the enrolment form is kept current. Parents/whanau will be informed of minor accidents in real time through the Home App.
  • If your child is unwell, we ask that they be kept home to ensure that cross infection is kept to a minimum. This means that children must be kept away for 48 hours after the last vomiting or diarrhoea episode. We understand that often work pressures can mean that this is very inconvenient, HOWEVER if the 48-hour period is observed then your child should not get sick within the same cycle. Early returns by some children have led to children being sick up to 3 times within the same period.
  • As good employers and child advocates Early Childhood on Stafford will not accept sick children and there may well be times when you are asked to collect your child and take them home.
  • All staff hold current first aid certificates.
  • We also work very closely with the Public Health Nurses, to ensure a consistency of messages and responses. Individual doctors have differing ideas, so we need a consistent approach to ensure that the wellbeing of all our whanau is protected and that this centre is as safe as possible for all who attend.

What To Bring

  • Children will need to bring a change of clothes that are all named. In winter it is advisable to include gumboots and or slippers. In summer, please ensure that you have included sunscreen. It is advisable that you include a hat and coat each day in their bag. [We go outside every day]
  • If your child has a favourite cuddly or toy that will help them to settle, you are welcome to send these along. Please ensure they are named as we cannot be responsible for lost toys.
  • Cloth and disposable nappies can be used, and you are asked to supply these. We will inform you on the sign in sheet when you need to bring more nappies.
  • If the centre uses any of their disposable nappies, they will be charged to you at 50 cents each.

Attendance confirmation/ child safety

  • It is a Ministry of Education requirement that you confirm the previous weeks attendance times in your app weekly. You will be reminded by notifications to do so every two weeks when the next invoices are processed and then sent.
  • Please make sure you sign in and out each day on the tablet or Q code with your app. Not only is this important to monitor who is attending but it is also important for fire and earthquake drills that we are aware of what children/tamariki are present.
  • Only those people identified on the enrolment card are permitted to collect your child. If there is any change to collection arrangements this must be in writing prior to this happening.

If there is ever anything that you wish to discuss or are concerned about, we want to know. We are here to work in partnership with you and this can only happen if the lines of communication are always kept open.

We are privileged to have you as part of Early Childhood on Stafford and want the experience for your family/whanau to be a happy and successful one.

We have enclosed a philosophy statement which states the intentions of our Centre


Early Childhood on Stafford – Frequently Asked Questions

The team at Early Childhood on Stafford welcome any questions about our childcare centre policies and practices, as well as any other questions or concerns that parents/whanau may have. From childcare subsidy information to our sick child policy, we have listed some of our most frequently asked questions below.

Frequently Asked Questions