• The Secret Garden
    Come grow with us
  • Who we are
    The Secret Garden ensures your children have a home away from home
  • Your needs are important
    Get in touch or make a time to come in and have a look around & meet us all

Daily Routine

This programme is flexible to fit in with the needs of all our children. The Secret Garden offers free choice throughout the day, with a variety of learning experiences inside and outside based on your child’s interests and abilities.

Early Morning

8:00am - The Secret Garden Preschool opens

8:00am - Greet children, parents, whanau and staff as they arrive. Free choice settling activities from a variety of learning experiences inside based on children’s interests and abilities / Group time activities / Transition to school session (Tui time) for 4 year olds for 30 minutes.

Late Morning

9:45am – Tidy up time then Mat time.

10:00am – Children wash their hands and sit down for Morning tea.

10:20am – Children put their hats on and head outside. Free play outside and choice of outside art activities.

12:00am - Children come inside for mat time (departure and arrival of sessional children)


12:15pm - Lunchtime

12:30pm - Free choice from a variety of learning experiences inside based on children’s interests and abilities / Group time activities / Transition to school session for 4 year olds for 30 minutes (Tui time). Younger children go for a sleep.

1:45pm - Tidy up time then Mat time

2:00pm - Children put their hats and sunscreen on and head outside. Free play outside and choice of outside art activities. Younger children wake up from their sleep.


3:00pm - Children wash their hands and sit down for Afternoon tea

3:15pm - Free play with a variety of learning experiences inside and outside based on children’s interests and abilities

4:30pm - Quiet inside activities and prepare for home

5:00pm - The Secret Garden Preschool closes

The Secret Garden Preschool

Our Philosohpy

"Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!" --Dr. Seuss

Our Philosophy

The Secret Garden Huapai provides a warm and nurturing environment where all children develop a healthy, happy and secure approach to living and learning. The direction taken at The Secret Garden Huapai is to support, affirm, encourage and challenge children to build their dispositions and a love for lifelong learning.

In our semi-structured, preschool programme we recognise that for young children to reach their full potential each child much be viewed as unique and celebrated for who they are.

It is the uniqueness, curiosity, playfulness, and inquisitive nature of the children that guides and supports the learning curriculum. Our staff believe in providing children with the foundation skills for developing Manaakitanga (respect). It is through these respectful tuakana-teina relationships that children develop an awareness of their individuality, compassion for others, and see their time at the Secret Garden Huapai as a journey of creativity, discovery and enjoyment.

Te Whariki is used as the foundation for our learning environment as well as recognising the uniqueness of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. We value real partnerships with parents and whānau, which are based on respect, honesty, communication and collaboration. We recognise the dual cultural heritage of Aotearoa and celebrate the uniqueness of each child’s gender, race, culture, and abilities and their place in the community and wider world.

At The Secret Garden Huapai we pride ourselves on providing children with a real Kiwi upbringing. Our rich environment works as a 3rd teacher providing a relaxed home away from home experience that sparks imagination, wonder, awe and fuels their curiosity.

Our Mission Statement​

Our goal is to give each child a warm environment to encourage the development of socialisation skills, independence and a positive self-image. Our experienced teaching staff embrace the view that each child is an unique person with an individual pattern and timing of social, physical and intellectual development. Teachers encourage children to think for themselves, make decisions and work towards their own solutions by expressing their own ideas and feelings.

Our Program

The Secret Garden provides a very personal approach to your child's early childhood education, with internationally acclaimed programs and philosophies at its core. Our experience tells us that there's no 'one size fits all' approach, so we've created a program all of our own that is flexible and adaptable to the needs of your child as they grow and develop.

Ours is an inviting and engaging environment where children are able to explore, play and learn simultaneously. We provide structured learning alongside opportunities for self expression and free play.

Te Whāriki is used as the foundation for our learning environment. The program's framework emphasises the learning partnership between teachers, parents and whanau. Teachers create a holistic curriculum in response to children's learning and development in the early childhood setting and the wider context of the child's world. Through this program it is our goal to help children prepare for future learning environments. To find out more about Te Whāriki and the NZ Ministry of Education's early childhood curriculum policy framework click here.

The Secret Garden Preschool

Information for parents

What to pack for your child

We provide a range of learning experiences, some of which can be messy but are valuable parts of the learning process. We advise dressing your child in clothing that is comfortable and suitable for active play.

- A schoolbag that is clearly labelled with your child's name.

- Two changes of clothes, all clearly named.

- A clearly named sunhat for summer or warm hat, jacket and gumboots for winter.

- For children in nappies, please supply enough nappies for the session/day (5-6 nappies are recommended for a full day).

- A lunchbox containing enough food for the session/day, please ensure all food is nut free to ensure the safety of all children. (If your child would like a hot lunch we are happy to heat food up).

-A named drink bottle, please note we have filtered water on tap.

At The Secret Garden we believe there's no such thing as bad weather just bad clothing! If you are happy for your child to explore the outdoors in changeable weather, please provide suitable wet weather gear.

Settling your child and saying goodbye

We understand that parting with your child can be an anxious experience for both parent and child! The team at The Secret Garden are here to help make this process an easier one.

On your child's first day please be prepared to stay for a short time, so that the Head Teacher can show you around, introduce you to the wider team of teachers and answer any questions you might have and explain our routines and program. Some children settle in straight away while others take a little longer, but with perserverance, patience, love and support your child will get there.

We recommend saying a quick goodbye to your child as lengthy goodbyes can make your eventual departure more difficult for your child. Our team will be on hand to reassure your child armed with a range of techniques to assist them to settle quickly, confidently and happily.

You are always more than welcome to ring us at any time of the session to check how your child is getting on. We can even recommend a fabulous cafe nearby in case you want to stay close and wait for us to ring you to let you know she or he has settled and is happy.


We keep a very close eye on our children and always alert parents immediately to any signs of illness. However we ask that you keep your child home should they display the following symptoms:

- A temperature over 38 degrees Celsius

- Coloured discharge from your child's nose

- Unidentified rash or spots

- Inflamed throat or eyes

- Severe cough not linked to asthma or breathing disorder

- Vomiting or diarrhoea (this can return 48 hours after the last symptom)

- Head lice

Tip: If you have other children at home who are sick, please don't be afraid to let us know. Sometimes a day of less active, one on one indoor activities might be all a child needs to allow their immune system to fight off a bug.

Toilet training

At The Secret Garden we want to work collaboratively with you to support any toilet training that you are doing at home.

If your child is not yet toilet trained don't worry - we have a lovely, fun and hygenic nappy changing area ready for them. Simply pack enough changes of nappies (and clothes) in their school bag.

When toilet training begins let us know and we'll provide you with our toilet training tips and tricks sheet! Remember to pack plenty of changes of clothes during this time as accidents are unavoidable and a very normal part of the toilet training process. By encouraging routine toilet times (eg: before naps) throughout the day, good toileting habits can easily be formed.

The Secret Garden Preschool - Huapai

About us

Welcome to The Secret Garden.

Secret Garden

Having opened in September 2015, our beautiful newly renovated space is designed for a maximum of 30 children aged from 2 years to school starting age.

Our large open plan indoor space is light and sun filled, spacious and beautifully equipped with hand selected resources. The outside patio just perfect for messy activities in winter! With over 1000 square meters of lush grass lawn, complete with mature fruit trees, a magical playground and fabulous sand play pit for creative construction, The Secret Garden really is the perfect place for discovering and learning both inside and out.

It is our aim that all children at The Secret Garden receive a wide range of rich learning experiences whilst they feel 'at home' in a genuinely warm and nurturing environment. Children are encouraged to develop their personal capabilities, strengths, interests and learning styles.

Our experienced team of professional Early Childhood Educators strive to ensure each and every child at The Secret Garden LOVES their time at preschool and has their individual needs met with love, patience and understanding. Our teachers encourage children to think for themselves, make decisions and work towards their own solutions, by expressing their own ideas and feelings.

We work together closely with parents and families to ensure all of our children are happy, healthy and fulfilling their absolute potential for learning. We feel it is a privilege to play such an important part in nurturing and guiding your children through their preschool years and we genuinely love what we do.

We hope you will visit us at The Secret Garden soon, but in the meantime please don't hesitate to get in touch by phone or email for a chat.

The Secret Garden Photo Galleries

Days at The Secret Garden are filled with fun, laughter and learning. Our semi structured day allows children to enjoy quality time, both inside and out. Have a look through the galleries below to see what The Secret Garden is like outside and inside!

Our Team

Jodi Walker

Owner / Operator, Monday - Friday

Jodi has always had a love for children and education. With both her Mum and sister having established two successful preschools, early childhood education is in the blood.

After an eleven year career in the NZ Police, including working as an investigator with the child protection team, front line policing and an overseas deployment Jodi and her husband Simon decided to move to Waimauku and start a family of their own.

Now with two preschool aged children, Jodi has succumbed to the pull of working in early childhood education and has fufilled her long held dream of opening a centre of her own. Fresh air, mud pies and jumping in puddles are just as important to Jodi as preparing children with the skills they need to develop and thrive out in the big wide world.

Vanessa Peterson

Head Teacher, Monday - Friday

With 17 years of early childhood education experience, Vanessa has a genuine love for teaching. She is thrilled to work in a profession which provides the daily rewards of watching children grow and develop into special little people.

She looks forward to meeting parents and families in the area who are looking to give their children a real Kiwi preschool experience - filled with gardening, gumboots, climbing trees and lots of fun!

A born and bred West Aucklander, Vanessa loves nature and the beautiful west coast beaches where she can often be found walking her dogs Chloe and Albert with her partner Stuart. An avid reader, she's also a keen painter and photographer, but loves spending time with her family above all else.

When not working Vanessa is busy working on a children's book series which she hopes to launch by 2018.

The Secret Garden Preschool - Huapai

Session time and fees

The Secret Garden is open from 7am - 6pm, Monday to Friday.

We offer a range of options to suit children and their families, including morning or afternoon half day sessions, and a full day session. Unlike many other preschools, our sessions run continuously throughout the year, with no school holidays or need for school holiday programs. We are even open over the Christmas period for your convenience.

Half day

  • At The Secret Garden we offer two sessions per day from either 8am - 12pm or 12pm - 4pm.
  • Please email us for further information on fees.

Full day

  • A full day session is from 8am - 4pm. The Secret Garden is open from 7am until 6pm to cater for parents who need to drop off or collect their children outside of these times.
  • Please email us for further information on fees.

Enrollments + payments

  • - 20hours ECE are available for families who complete the Ministry of Education 20 hours Attestation form.
  • - Fees are to be paid by automatic payment, kept one week in advance and payments to be in our account on the Wednesday of the proceeding week.
  • - WINZ subsidies are available for those who are eligible.
  • - We recommend and require a minimum of two sessions per week.

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Enrol with us

If you are ready to enrol your child, please download our enrolment form by clicking here.

If you would like to find out more about us please just pop in, no need to make an appointment

The Secret Garden Preschool - Huapai

Get in Touch

Feel Free to Drop Us a Line to contact us

The Secret Garden Preschool

  • 399 Main Road, Huapai, Auckland
  • 09 412 9995
  • info@thesecretgardenhuapai.co.nz