We have compiled some of the most common questions we get from new parents to help you if you are interested in enrolling with Acorn or if your child already has a place.

If you don't see the answer to your question below, contact us and we'd be happy to help.


Choosing a childcare centre that suits your child and your family can be a daunting and emotional task. Take your time to review your options carefully before making your decision. We highly recommend you spend time at the centre to get to know the owners, teachers and the environment. Your child will spend a large part of their day at the centre so it’s important you all feel comfortable. 

Some things you may consider are:

  • Ask to see the most recent ERO report for the centre
  • Talk to the staff, are they warm, approachable and friendly?
  • Do the staff look like they are enjoying their job?
  • Can you visit or call the centre at any time of the day?
  • What are the centre’s teacher to child ratios?
  • How does the centre communicate with parents?
  • What are their session times?
  • What happens if you are late to collect your child?
  • Is there enough space for inside and outside play?
  • How would your child’s day be structured?
  • Does the centre look clean?
  • How are the bathroom times managed - nappy changing, toilet training?
  • Do children have their own cot and linen?
  • Is there a wide range of toys and equipment for children to play with?
  • Is there a balance of active outside play and quiet play?
  • How do they manage child behaviour?
  • Do they take the children on outings/trips?
  • What is the sickness policy?
  • What sort of meals and snacks are offered?
  • Can you view the menu?
  • Are the children engaged, stimulated and, most of all, having fun!

If you decide to join us at Acorn Early Learning Centre, you will receive an enrolment pack that outlines the daily routine in each of our rooms, advises you what what you child needs to bring and to wear, and how each room operates. This information will help you and your family make a smooth transition to Acorn.

We really encourage you to spend time settling in with your child. You are welcome to spend as much time with us as you need. 

It’s important your child feels comfortable and starts to bond with the teachers and other children.  We suggest you have a visit or two with your child and then leave your child with us for a short period of time. It’s also a good idea for them to have a sleep in our sleep room. They are welcome to bring along a favourite toy or cuddly to help them settle in.

The first day is always the hardest for mum and dad.  It is best to say goodbye to your child so they know you are going and tell them when you will be back to collect them. Feel free to phone us at any time to check on how your child is settling.

We are always happy to chat and want to make the settling in process as easy as possible!

All food is prepared on site by our in-house cook. Acorn Preschool currently holds the silver award for Healthy Heart which is awarded by The Heart Foundation of New Zealand. As such, we encourage healthy eating, and work closely with the Heart Foundation and the dental service to ensure we are providing nutritious meals and snacks. The children are encouraged to drink plenty of water and this is on offer all day at our water station.

Menus are displayed in the entrance to each of the rooms, or you can see an example of our 4 week rotating menu here.

Morning and Afternoon Tea
Morning and afternoon tea are provided for all children.
A late snack is also given to children who are with us for a full day.

All children are provided with a hot (Healthy Heart approved) lunch every day. 

In our transition-to-school programme we encourage the children to serve themselves and carry out basic food preparation skills like buttering their own bread and pouring their own water.

Please inform us if your child has any specific dietary requirements, or severe food allergies or intolerances. We are a nut-free centre and encourage parents to avoid nuts, and nut products as a food option.

Good nutrition in early childhood is essential for normal growth and development, as this is a time when lifelong habits are formed. The Ministry of Health recommends that healthy children eat a variety of foods from the four good groups, eat enough for activity and growth, eat small meals and regular snacks, have treat foods now and then and have plenty of water to drink. 

Making a healthy lunchbox every day can be a challenging task. Here are some ideas you might like to try:

  • Freeze a tube of yoghurt. These keep the lunch box cool but are thawed by lunchtime. ‘Go Gurts’ are in a handy little tube and fit into most lunch boxes. They are available at most local supermarkets.
  • Cut up carrot and celery sticks and put some hummus in a small container for dipping.
  • Corn thin crisp bread makes a nice change from sandwiches. Spread with avocado, marmite or hummus for a healthy snack.
  • Popcorn is simple and easy to make and is a much healthier option than potato chips.
  • Cut up pieces of fruit. A squeeze of lemon juice on apple or pear will prevent it from going brown in the lunchbox.

Please remember we do have a number of children who have severe allergies to peanuts. Acorn is a nut-free centre, so please try not to send any products that contain nuts. Often nuts are hidden in muesli bars, so please check the ingredients on the packet before packing it in the lunchbox. 

Try to help children understand that their lunchbox should largely be made up of 'everyday foods'. 'Occasional food' or party food should be kept for those occasional times and not make up part of their everyday lunchbox items.

What is an everyday food?
Everyday foods and drinks are the healthiest choices. Encourage and promote these foods and drinks.

What is a sometimes food?
Sometimes foods and drinks should be consumed in moderation. These foods and drinks should not dominate the choices available.

At Acorn Early Learning Centre, we are committed to a vibrant partnership with you and recognise that you are your child's first teacher. Open communication with you about your child is vital to us. We encourage you to chat to our teachers, and we write regular newsletters and hold parent evenings throughout the year.

To help keep you up to date with your child's learning and development our teachers regularly update your child's portfolio. These are a lovely record of your child's achievements at Acorn Early Learning Centre.  You are welcome to take your child's portfolio home at any time.

Storypark creates a secure online network of the people that matter most for your child. It helps working parents, far-away family, educators and specialists ensure children receive the best opportunities possible.