About Us


Ako - Learning & Teaching Together

Tamariki and whānau are at the heart of every kindergarten. We focus on the formation of supportive and respectful relationships with each family.

We love playing in nature. Our environments are fun places where we explore, discover and learn together.

Community Involvement

Our kindergartens are part of the community and the children/tamariki are involved in their community through excursions, visitors and special events.

Parents and whānau are at the heart of every kindergarten and we aim to create supportive and respectful relationships with every family/whānau. We encourage families/whānau to stay or visit at any time to see what their children/tamariki are up to and participate in our programmes as they wish.

100% Qualified Teachers/Kaiako

At kindergarten we employ only 100% qualified and registered teachers/kaiako. This means that every one of our teachers/kaiako will have either a Bachelor of Education in Early Childhood Education, Diploma of Teaching (Early Childhood Education) or equivalent as a minimum qualification.

We also ensure that our teachers/kaiako keep up to date with the latest educational research and trends through participation in high quality local, national and international seminars, workshops and conferences.

Natural Environments

Our outdoor play areas are spacious, attractive and well-resourced.

We have a strong emphasis on being in nature and have our own section of land with native bush at Myross Bush where children/tamariki from all kindergartens are able to explore and learn about the natural environment. See Our Place for Discovering Nature – Taiao Tuhura to learn more about this.

Hours, Pricing and Enrolment


We offer a variety of hours and times to suit the needs of the community.

Our Kindergartens operate Kindergarten Day models which offer extended sessions up to a maximum of six hours per day. Within the six hour day there are options for morning or afternoon sessions.

Session times vary by kindergarten, to check your local kindergarten’s hours, see the Kindergartens section.

We also have one facility which offers full day education and care for children aged two to five years. The Cottage Kindergarten in Invercargill is open for 46 weeks of the year, and only closes for a week in two of the term breaks, public holidays and over the Christmas period.


Our fee is $4.00 per hour.

Under current government policy all 3, 4 and 5 year old children are eligible for 20 hours of free early childhood education. 20 Hours ECE is available at all our kindergartens and if you bring your 20 hours to selected kindergartens you will not be charged a fee for any additional hours.

We are offering 100% discount on fees at The Cottage Kindergarten for the period 10 August to 18 December 2020. The conditions of this will include;

- must attest 20 hours ECE
- this applies to under threes (provided you attest the 20 hours ECE when your child turns 3).
- we still encourage and support WINZ applications, and we will discount the remainder that WINZ does not cover.
-whanau will still pay for lunches
-applies for existing and future enrolments (for the date period above)


We recommend enrolling your child at your local Kindergarten when they are two years old. Our system for enrolment operates through a waiting list, so entry age is dependent on the number of children on the waiting list for your location.

If you would like to find out more please complete the Enrolment form or contact your local kindergarten, our friendly teachers will be happy to help you.

Term Dates

Term 1 2020: 20 January – 9 April 2020

Term 2 2020: 28 April– 3 July 2020

Term 3 2020: 20 July – 25 September 2020

Term 4 2020: 12 October – 18 December 2020

2020 Open from 14 January 2020

April holidays: 15 - 17 April 2020

July holidays: 13 - 17 July 2020

October holidays: 5 - 9 October 2020

Last day 2020: 18 December 2020


The Southland Free Kindergarten Association is a licensed early childhood education provider, with 23 Kindergartens throughout Southland.
We receive bulk funding from the Ministry of Education.

We are a non-profit organisation and are governed by an elected Board of Governors.

A General Manager is employed to implement
board policy and to administer the association and its Kindergartens.

Board of Governors

Our board consists of eight elected members as well as ex officio positions of Executive Officer, General Manager and Senior Teachers.

President: Pauline Smith

Vice President: Hamish Hargest

General Manager: Nikki McRobie

Executive Officer: Kieran Middleton

Representative for Executive Officer: Billie Bower

Board members: Anna Boekhout, Erin Cross, Sarah Ruffell and Victoria Sinclair

Senior Teachers: Robyn Leckie, Cathy Puna and Wendy McLachlan

Roles and Responsibilities

Our board’s key roles and responsibilities are:

  • Overall governance of the Association
  • Direction of the Association
  • Long term planning including financial, facilities and services
  • Policy development and review
  • Consultation and communication

Board meetings are held on the third Wednesday of each month. All members are required to attend meetings on a regular basis, read mail and be well prepared for all meetings.

Join our Board of Governors and help make a difference to early childhood education in Southland.

Join our Board

If you believe in the vital contribution made by quality early childhood education and would like to contribute to your community while working with a highly motivated team please contact us about joining our Board of Governors.