Creating a
Foundation for Life

Teachers, families and children are encouraged to share ideas and contribute to Puddleducks’ within a collaborative and supportive community.

Environments are developed to provide quality resources for teachers to deliver curriculums which will enhance children’s learning within a calm, respectful, safe and inspiring environment.

Leaders listen and learn alongside teams. Distributed roles and responsibilities empower all team members to contribute to Puddleducks’ culture.




We have a strong emphasis on building quality teaching teams. Many of our staff have joined Puddleducks’ through referrals from existing staff and through recognition of experience, qualifications or commitment to training. New staff are incorporated into a team where experience, skills and personalities are blended to provide an effective teaching environment.

We focus on having quality Professional Growth and Development programmes for our team and have a well developed internal programme in place for all our provisionally certified teachers. Our leadership team are a team of dedicated professional leaders who are experienced teachers and all hold full teacher certifications. We believe in providing an environment for all staff to develop as leaders and distribute leadership responsibilities within our team. Our team has an exceptionally high level of retention, we exceed 100% of the regulated ratios of qualified teachers and have a fantastic support team.

We have a Teacher Enrichment Day on an annual basis. All our centres close for this day and spend the day as a team covering a wide range of activities including workshops run by our own team members, external facilitators, guest speakers and team building activities.

We value professional learning and development for all members of our team; the centres are members of Early Childhood Council and MANZ (Montessori Association of NZ). Teachers regularly attend national conferences, conventions and run in-house workshops. In addition, our teams are involved with Education Council of NZ and Childspace Institute. Members of our team completed an 18 month “Appraisal Project” that enabled the development of a successful programme for Professional Growth and Development for all our teachers.

Interested in joining our team? If you are a motivated and flexible untrained, in-training teacher or certified teacher then you may be interested in joining our relief teacher team. Ability to work across infants, toddlers, preschool and after school age groups is an advantage.




We are proud to have been a locally owned and operated family business since May 2000. We value the communities we live and work within and are focused on supporting local businesses and community services and amenities. We believe in the Manawatu and all it has to offer families.

We pride ourselves on continually enhancing our services and consistently providing the highest standards over all our centres.

Puddleducks’ Oscar Programme (POP) was established in 2000 to provide an out of school service. POP allows children and their families to maintain a connection with the Feilding centre and have a safe, fun environment after school.

Building on the success of Puddleducks’ (Feilding), planning for a new centre in Palmerston North started late in 2001. On June 10th 2002 Puddleducks’ Preschool (PN) opened.

This was followed by a Specialist Infant and Toddler centre opening adjacent to the preschool on February 2nd 2004. The two separate Albert Street centres were merged under one licence in July 2016.

An opportunity arose in late March 2005 for Puddleducks’ to provide children, their families and the community an alternative choice of philosophy. Puddleducks’ Montessori Preschool opened on May 2nd 2005.

On April 20th 2009, Puddleducks’ moved from their original site to a brand new, state-of-the-art purpose built centre on the adjacent property, maintaining their close proximity to the central business district and Manchester Street School.

In September 2009 renovations commenced to refurbish the original Puddleducks’ Preschool at 156 Manchester Street, Feilding. Puddleducks’ Junior School opened on February 8th 2010. The two Feilding centres merged under one licence in June 2016.



Puddleducks have a strong passion for fundraising and local events, we support many charities such as Red Nose Day, Blue September, Daffodil Day and many more.

Most fundraisers are held in centres and involve the children, however our team also gets together to attend out of hours fundraisers and events.


Some of our Nursery & Preschools participate in the Enviroschools Programme (Manawatu-Whanganui Region).

Enviroschools is a collaborative programme run by The Enviroschools Foundation in partnership with Te Mauri Tau, and a number of national and regional agencies (eg, Horizons Regional Council).

Integrating education for sustainability into our nursery and preschools creates learning opportunities and a range of benefits for the whole of our community and ecosystem.

We are committed to the Enviroschools Kaupapa - Creating a healthy, peaceful, sustainable world through people teaching and learning together.  At the centre of Enviroschools is the Action Learning Cycle, encouraging a learner-directed process of exploration, decision making, action and reflection.

At Puddleducks we also use reusable wet bags in our centres to reduce plastic waste.




Primary care



Primary care is the core philosophy of our infant & toddler classrooms providing high quality childcare

A “Primary Caregiver” is the child’s special teacher who is responsible for care rituals, observations, communication with families and setting appropriate learning objectives. This does not mean that the child and their primary caregiver maintain an exclusive relationship. It allows the primary caregiver to become the in-centre expert on the child.

Each child is assigned a primary caregiver before they start their pre-visits. A primary caregiver has a focus group and a buddy. A buddy is another teacher who works alongside the primary caregiver with their focus group of children. The buddy knows the children and their routines to ensure the child’s needs are met at times if the primary caregiver is unavailable.

Infant needs are met foremost by their primary caregiver and then by their buddy teacher in order for them to establish a strong bond from the beginning. If a child has a preference to a particular teacher, changes may be made to acknowledge and respect this child’s feelings.

Infant and toddler care rituals are valued as special times and valuable learning opportunities

Teachers are flexible throughout the day and prioritise children’s needs, parents needs and break times to ensure consistent care.

Primary caregivers recognise learning and plan for each individual child, ensuring positive experiences. Within the team is a support system incorporating consistent primary caregivers who know children well and support their team members when needed. Relief teachers unfamiliar to the children do not participate in care routines. Relievers are encouraged to interact with children and support the teaching team with daily housekeeping tasks.

A caring and nurturing childcare environment is provided for our infants and toddlers. We recognise that each child’s emotional security is paramount and that this directly affects their learning and development. We maintain a peaceful and unhurried environment. Our daily routine is relaxed and flexible, allowing for each child’s home routines to be followed as much as possible, easing transitions between home and centre.


I really enjoyed visiting your centre when I was visiting our family earlier this year. It was great to meet the staff when I delivered my grandson one day and to observe how they knew all of the children so well. They were concerned about where they all were and what they were doing. I especially liked the way they took some time to have a chat with me about my grandson, while keeping a roving eye on all the children.
As we don’t live in the Manawatu area, we really appreciate my daughter-in-law sending us through the recounts that the teachers write about our grandson’s exciting and energetic activities at Puddleducks’. These recounts are amazing. We love the way that they really capture the essence of our grandson by including detailed descriptions of very focused and well managed activities and direct quotes as well. These bring a huge smile to our faces. I make a copy of the recounts and display them proudly on my photo board. All other family members like to check them out too!
Marilyn (Grandmother)


Free Movement



We encourage children’s motor development to progress naturally and unassisted. For this reason we do not have equipment such as bouncers, highchairs or walkers.

We believe the best place for infants’ physical development is on the floor where they are able to learn to move their bodies as nature intended, rather than being supported or restricted in devices which place them in positions they are not ready for.

Free movement allows children to develop agility, spatial awareness, co-ordination, balance, as well as good judgment about what they can and can’t do, thereby keeping themselves safe from harm.

When families enrol we talk openly with them about our Free Movement practices. For ease of transition our goal is for families to practice the same philosophies at home as we do at Puddleducks.


Fun at Four



Fun @ Four is an inclusive, optional programme for four year old children

Fun @ Four empowers children to learn and grow alongside their peers. Everyday there is a session where children and teachers practice using dispositions through games. Each game has an intentional focus to engage a child’s social and emotional, physical and cognitive thinking.

At Fun @ Four we believe that children are active learners in their own community. Fun @ Four uses a variety of frameworks including Te Whaariki, Schema learning theory and Meta-cognition theory with dispositions as the core; these all support children to develop the skills they need for life.

We believe the child’s responsibility at Fun @ Four is to drive their own learning by participating in the programme in their own unique way. They will do this by sharing their ideas and working theories, listening to their peers and teachers, and challenging themselves to move forward socially and emotionally, physically, and cognitively.

The Fun @ Four programme enables children to operate and see themselves as powerful individuals in a community. Games create the optimum opportunity for learning where children develop a positive view of themselves, and gain independence within a supportive group environment.

Fun @ Four activities are embedded with literacy, numeracy, science, arts and fine & gross motor skills as well as opportunities for social and emotional development.

The Fun @ Four environment blends skills with intellectual knowledge so by the time the children are of school age, they will be well rounded individuals ready to take on a new challenge.