About Us

Inspiring Minds was purpose built by Kaye Dawson to establish and create a natural, aesthetic environment in which to foster positive relationships with children, their families and the community. The centre was opened in February 2012. We are situated in Waipapa, only 10 minutes from Kerikeri township in a rural setting surrounded by nature.


We are a small intimate centre with a maximum of 32 children each day. The centre is family focused and we are really dedicated to getting to know the child's whole family and what makes them who they are.


At Inspiring Minds all teachers work five days, to ensure that strong relationships with children are established and nurtured. The centre has three rooms consisting of up to 8 infants, 8 toddlers and 16 three and four year olds. There are two teachers in each room ensuring quality care is maintained. All teachers hold a current teacher registration and have many years experience.


The infant and toddler programme at Inspiring Minds is inspired by the practice of Emmi Pikler and Magda Gerber. This practice is based on respect. We allow children the time, space, freedom, and support to be themselves and discover the world in their own way. Relationships are the foundation of all that we do at Inspiring Minds. We use a primary care system where one teacher takes sole responsibility for a child to help them settle into their new environment and to establish a relationship with that child and their whanau. This system of primary care builds a strong relationship between child and teacher adding to the security a child feels within this environment. When a child feels secure they feel confident to play and learn. Click here to view the infant and toddler practice pamphlet.


To view our latest ERO report click here



Children learn through play, their play is their work, and they work all their waking hours.


Relationships are the foundation of our philosophy and teaching practices at Inspiring Minds. Children are seen as capable and competent learners, researchers, artists and inventors. No child is the same therefore each child is valued and respected as an individual, within the context of their family/whanau and culture.


The environment we wish to create is one that feels like a home away from home. A positive place where children feel they belong, and where parents know their child is valued and respected as an individual and that their wellbeing is at the forefront of teaching practices.


We believe that children deserve the kind of respect that adults expect from one another. This means the child is at the centre of all interactions, routines, and teaching practices. Every child is treated with respect, they are active participants in care routines, and they know they have a place here. We strive to make learning visible so children, parents, whanau and visitors can see that their child’s contribution is valued and that children really are the centre of our philosophy.


We endeavour to provide an environment that provokes creativity, encourages children to think and wonder, challenges capabilities, and expands a child’s knowledge and understanding across a wide range of experiences. We believe education is about the process not necessarily the final product. We aim to create an aesthetically pleasing environment which creates a relaxed and reflective atmosphere for learning. The teachers role is one of observation; where children are given time to explore free from direct adult involvement but in the knowledge that they and their efforts are supported.


The child’s voice is valued where children are active participants in decision making and have the freedom of choice. There are not so much rules as expectations which are developed in collaboration with the children; the most important of which being respect for self, others, and our environment.


We acknowledge Te Whàriki, the New Zealand Early Childhood Curriculum, as the framework for everything we do as teachers. “A Whariki woven by loving hands that can cross cultures with respect and can weave cultures together”. Something which we believe is very relevant for the bi-cultural heritage of Aotearoa and the multicultural world we live in today.


“Knowledge is experience. Everything else is information” Albert Einstein



Te Whariki is the national early childhood curriculum that guides the practice at Inspiring Minds. Our philosophy is influenced by the practices of Reggio Emilia in Italy and Emmi Pikler. Reggio Emilia is where the social–emotional environment is intricately related to what the Italians call “the image” of the child, teacher, parents, and the teaching and learning process.


We acknowledge that the child comes to us with a vast amount of prior knowledge and it is our job to foster and extend on that knowledge through encounters, communication and relationships. The children of Inspiring Minds will be empowered to learn by passionate, dedicated, caring teachers.