Our children, parents and whanau come first and we strive to provide a welcoming, supportive and loving environment for all. We offer high teacher to child ratios with a fun, experienced and passionate team of early childhood teachers.

Our Nursery is licensed for 10 children under two years old, and our Preschool for up to 30 children. Our children are empowered to take risks, explore and develop their sense of belonging while making use of our spacious indoor and outdoor facilities.

To find out how you can join our Y family, contact us today and arrange a time to visit, or pop in if you are out and about.

We look forward to meeting you and your family and contributing to the magical memories that help shape your child into the superstar they are destined to become!



Opening Hours

Monday to Friday 8am – 4:30pm


Our Philosophy

Our Core Purpose
Investing in the Next Generation
Our Values
Caring, Respect, Responsibility and Honesty


Tamariki – Children
  • Through strong relationships and whānaungatanga (being able to relate to others), tamariki develop a sense of belonging and they feel safe, secure and confident in their tuhura (discovery) of the world around them.
  • Through scaffolding tamariki independence via a wide range of activities and experiences, tamariki develop rangatiratanga (the ability to manage oneself) and their hauora (mind, body and spirit).
  • E whakapono ana mātau ki te mana, ki te miharo a te tamaiti, ki a tātau tamariki – We believe in the power and wonder of the child, our tamariki.
Whānaungatanga – Partnerships
  • We value parents and whānau as first teachers of their tamariki and respect their beliefs, culture and aspirations.
  • We see the importance of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and what this partnership means.
  • Through strong, reciprocal relationships and mana reo (communication) with whānau and tamariki, we support the development of manawaroa (resilience) and whakaoti rapanga (problem solving) for all tamariki.


Ahurea – Culture
  • We provide an inclusive environment through the use of te reo Māori, tikanga and providing tamariki with the opportunity to learn and develop respect for both parties of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
  • We embrace cultural diversity through our environment, languages, resources and relationships.
  • We encourage tuhura (discovery) through an environment that is warm and inviting and replicates the home environment.
Kaiako – Teachers
  • We are committed to ongoing professional learning and support for all kaiako.
  • We employ and support qualified kaiako and kaiako in training to ensure the best learning outcomes and care for our tamariki.
  • Kaiako are seen as role models who know each tamaiti well and therefore have the ability to empower all tamariki.


Kātahi anō ka tuku tātau ki te hanga i tētahi tūāpapa mo te aroha tūturu o te akoranga
Finally, we are committed to building a foundation for a lifelong love of learning



Mind Body Spirit

Our weekly Mind Body Spirit programme is unique to the Y Early Learning Centre.

We are able to utilise all the facilities we have onsite at the Y Recreation Centre, which provide your children recreational opportunities not normally and routinely available at other Centres.

Every week we run gymnastics in our spacious stadium, play ripper rugby at the adjoining park, and have dance in our dance studio, all at no extra charge! Enquire with us about which days these programmes run on.


Our Team

Janene Prendergast

I have been working in early childhood since 2002, graduating from the University of Canterbury with a Bachelor of Teaching and Learning (Early Childhood) in 2007. Since then I have held both team leader in the nursery, over two classes and Centre Manager roles.

I hold a sound, up-to-date knowledge of how children learn and develop. I trust and empower our teaching team to continually work together to develop meaningful partnerships with each other and you, our parents and whānau. I am committed to providing quality care and education in a fun and stimulating environment which promotes continuous improvement for children to succeed in a forever changing world.


Mel Gebbie
Curriculum Leader/Assistant Manager

I have been teaching for nearly 14 years now, and have loved every moment. My favourite things to do with ngā tamariki/the children are to read books, dance and create awesome things with Lego. In my personal life, my favourite things to do are to sew myself something fabulous to wear, read books and go out on the water with my paddleboard.

When supporting your tamariki to grow and learn, I will be encouraging them to try their best at a variety of activities and experiences. I will get to know them each as individuals and recognise the uniqueness that each one possesses. I am very excited to get to know ngā tamariki and their whānau and I can’t wait for the exciting times ahead.


Annie Zhong
Teacher (on maternity leave)

In 2006 I immigrated to Christchurch from Guangzhou, China. I have a NZ graduate diploma in teaching and learning in both primary and early childhood education, and I also have over 9 years of experience working with children under 3 years. I’m passionate about working with young children and regard it as a dream job! I value family cultures and values, and I see working in partnership with parents and whanau as vital to children’s learning and development. I believe that children learn by actively engaging in the learning environment and through responsive and reciprocal relationships and interactions. Therefore I endeavor to provide a welcoming, respectful, inviting and stimulating environment for our children to explore at their own pace. I live with my husband Jonny, and in my spare time I like playing badminton, walking, exploring new technology, and learning new concepts, ideas and languages.


Fede Rodriguez Mendoza

I was born and raised in Montevideo – Uruguay and about 10 years ago I arrived here to Christchurch and my life has changed completely ever since. I am a qualified chef, but fortunately my passion for education, especially brain development and the first stages in a human’s life, got in the way. So, this is why a few years ago I decided to pursue a career in early childhood education (ECE), which I am currently in my final year of my Bachelor’s degree. To me one of the most important skills that any child should have is emotional wellbeing and the ability to self-regulate. I believe that this ability would allow tamariki to challenge themselves and tackle any obstacle, and is something that I really like to support tamariki with in my daily practice, as well as bringing lots of fun and laughter. A few things I love doing outside school are, playing football (soccer), snowboarding, as well as spending time with my partner and our daughter.


Mindy Wong

I have been working in ECE since 2006 in a variety of roles across Christchurch and Auckland. I was born and raised in Christchurch and now life has come full circle where I am raising my own daughter Ivy with my partner Dan here locally. I am also very fortunate to have her with me here at the YMCA Early Learning Centre. I am passionate about the early years and witnessing the joy of learning. It is my vision to ignite tamariki’s joy to develop a life long love of learning. To foster this I am committed to building warm and trusting relationships with tamariki and their whanau. Building a foundation where they feel safe to openly engage with the environment, tamariki and others. I take the lead from tamariki and extend on their interests and curiosity through a diverse range of experiences and opportunities. I also wish to add a sense of fun and laughter in everything I do.


Jennifer Smith

I have been working in Early Childhood Education since 2018 following my passion for helping children grow to be the best that they can be while growing at their own pace and in their own time. To me it is important for children to learn through responsive and reciprocal relationships with people, places and things. I believe that through these relationships that children will gain a sense of belonging while feeling safe and secure in their environment.

I’m looking forward to meeting everyone and getting to know all your wonderful children.


Kathrine Schubert

My teaching philosophy is encompassed by forming meaningful relationships with tamariki and whānau and working alongside each other to achieve the best ako/learning outcomes. I have two big passions within my daily practice that drives what I do, conscious discipline and cultural diversity. Conscious discipline is about teaching tamariki to recognize what their feelings are and empowering them to know what they are and have the tools to control them. Through cultural diversity my biggest aim is to bring in te reo Māori and any home languages that I am fortunate enough to experience via tamariki. I place huge importance on ensuring that our tamariki are connected with their native/home language early on and am committed to ensuring this is done through many avenues.


Aimee Bott

Kia-ora koutou, I started my teaching journey in 2001 having spent many years teaching in England. We returned to Christchurch to be closer to family and explore New Zealand with our children. I enjoy being creative with paints, crafts, slime ,water and sand and messy play. I take the lead from ngā tamariki, extending on their interests and knowledge, providing a wide variety of learning opportunities and experiences, and believe in empowering tamariki to be the best version of themselves, to laugh and have fun.

Forming relationships with ngā tamariki and their whānau provides the best foundation for tamariki to reach their potential. I look forward to being a part of ngā tamariki learning journeys here at the Y.



Fantastic home away from home Early Learning Centre. Kind, caring qualified teachers who know your child well and cater to their needs. Small numbers, so children get lots of quality care and play-based learning experiences. Many community outings to the library and nearby playgrounds. Able to use the facilities and instructors at the Y. Great to be able to take part in gymnastics, ripper rugby and many other confidence boosting activities, or just have a run and play in the gym on a cold, wet day. Children can help with food preparation and get many opportunities for messy play and exploration. The Centre encourages theme days (discos, wheels day, Matariki), where children can dress up or bring something from home.
Helen Johnson

Where to even start! The Y is simply incredible and our kids have been so lucky to have the most amazing experiences – soccer and ripper rugby, dance class, gymnastics and visits to the library. All regular (most weekly) and it makes this such a unique ECE. It’s completely unheard of anywhere else.

Our son is now at school, but he thrived with soccer on Wednesdays with Paul. Our 3 year old loves visiting the library, baking and seeing Michaela for dance. She’s also gained so much confidence at the Tuesday gymnastics sessions. I really can’t sing the Y’s praises enough – truly. The teachers really care and they are an extension of our family.
Fallon King


I can’t recommend this nursery and preschool enough! Their amazing teachers create a nurturing, respectful, diverse, imaginative environment for every child (and their family). Our son loves being part of this tamariki and the wide range of activities they get up to. The teachers’ focus on meeting the individual child at his/hers level and supporting their cognitive, social and behavioral development in a positive and kind manner that is truly heartwarming. The fact that the children regularly get to use many of the YMCA’s facilities for gymnastics, dance, yoga, football etc is an added bonus!
Lena Reid

I absolutely love YMCA Early Learning Centre, and recommend it to everyone I know. The teachers are so caring and supportive. My daughter who is very shy has come out of her shell so much since starting here. It was stressful finding a new kindy when we moved to Christchurch but everyone here has become like family, highly recommend!
Louwren Kloppers

My two children are quite new to the YMCA Early Learning Centre, but already I have noticed how much their holistic development and all around social growth has improved. They are so comfortable with their new learning environment, they have endless stories, the teachers are bubbly and outgoing, and I have noticed them coming down to the children’s level – which is beautiful to see.

After previous preschool experiences, I would highly recommend the YMCA Early Learning Centre.
Emily Callaghan



Latest ERO Report

ERO Report


Come Visit Us

You’re welcome to drop into our Centre for a tour at any time or you can fill in the form below and book in a time that works for you.
Enquire Here



P 03 359 8320  E ece@ymcachch.org.nz

Enter your keyword: