Welcome to Songbird Early Childhood Centre.
Quality care and education for toddlers and pre-schoolers ages 2-5 years.

• FREE* 30 hours over 3’s
• High Child to Teacher ratio
• Inviting rural setting with a spacious outdoor area
• Building confident learners in a happy and secure environment
• Focus on strong relationships with Children and families
• Just 8KMs South of Katikati

Close to Pahoia and Wright road.

Open from 8am – 4.30pm

We are situated in a beautiful rural setting halfway between Omokoroa and Katikati. Beyond the fence is an enthusiastic, caring and nurturing team of qualified early childhood teachers.  Songbird is surrounded by farmland and orchards.  Set amongst trees and native plants it has a large lawn, vegetable garden, playground and huge sandpit.  An inviting space to relax, explore, play, discover and learn.  A home away from home.

Our center provides education and care for 2-5 year olds.  Our families and whanau enjoy a friendly, dedicated team who are passionate about supporting children on their learning journey.

At Songbird we build trusting, respectful and reciprocal relationships with our children, families, and whanau.

We believe that a secure sense of belonging and community is an important foundation for exploration, discovery, and learning.  Children are supported to develop self-management skills to ensure that they have the best preparation for their progression to primary school.     Each child has a beautiful record of their learning in a portfolio.  This documents how their learning and development is progressing and becomes a delightful keepsake for children and their families.

Our Philosophy

At Songbird Early Childhood Centre Te Whariki, the Early Childhood Curriculum is woven throughout our programme planning. We are guided by a philosophy of respectful interactions and provide tamariki with the foundation skills for developing manaakitanga (respect, empathy, care for each other) and atawhai (kindness). Kaiako, tamariki and whānau develop trusting, respectful long-lasting relationships through a culture of kindness. Through open, honest communication we work together towards a common goal of inspiring our tamariki to be active explorers and confident learners who are curious about the world around them.

We acknowledge both parties of the Tiriti o Waitangi and the significance it has in the history of Aotearoa, New Zealand. Māori language, and tikanga are woven into our daily practice. We celebrate uniqueness and diversity and are inclusive of all cultures.

With a focus on Ako (learning together) we actively listen to everyone involved in the centre and its wider community. Our planning is based around children’s interests and family aspirations. Our environment reflects a home like setting creating a nurturing home away from home that encourages risk taking, problem solving and enquiry. Through nature, the environment and meaningful relationships tamariki learn, develop resilience and form a strong sense of belonging.

As a team of professionals, the kaiako at Songbird are involved in on-going lifelong learning through professional development, research and discussions. We value our learning partnerships with each other, our whānau and tamariki. We believe our play-based programme involving tamariki initiated and kaiako supported learning in a warm and caring setting leads to positive outcomes.

Ahakoa iti, he pounamu
Although it is small, it is of a treasure.

Our Values


Community and relationships








Respect, empathy, care for each other

Mahi tahi

Working together


Rebecca and Dan Hesson

Rebecca and Dan live locally in Omokoroa with their two young children.  Rebecca is a qualified, registered teacher with experience working with babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers.  Dan is a business owner and our go to guy for all our accounts administration and maintenance here at Songbird. Originally from Auckland we moved our family down to the Western Bay of Plenty for a lifestyle change and to open Songbird Early Childhood Centre. 

Our vision for Songbird is to create a home away from home, an extension of children’s families and home with a genuine community spirit.  An inviting learning environment which is nurturing, creative, fun and secure.  A place where all children and families feel valued and enjoy positive relationships with teachers.  We look forward to meeting you and sharing in your child’s learning journey.


Rebecca Hesson

I am a qualified and registered early childhood teacher with experience in working with babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers. I am passionate about providing children and their families with a nurturing and welcoming environment, a home away from home where fun, discoveries and friendships flourish.

Pauline MacDonald

I am a Nana of nine who absolutely loves working with children.

I feel it is a privilege to be part of the Songbird tamariki’s learning journey,  everyday is exciting as together we learn through play.

Jody Manukau

Kia ora koutou Ko Jody taku ingoa.

My name is Jody and I am a qualified, registered kaiako with 35 years’ experience.

I live in Katikati with my Whānau including my husband Anthony, daughter Ariana and mother Janita.  We also have a son Gabriel who lives in Auckland.

Working at Songbird I enjoy the wonderful family orientated atmosphere and play based philosophy.  I have an interest in the natural world and science.  I also have a passion for encouraging and supporting concepts of kindness, resilience and empathy which I believe creates a base for children to be respectful, thoughtful and strong.

Liz Bowtell

Jacqui Herd


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We are looking forward to hearing from you. Please feel free to get in touch via the form below, we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Phone: 07-552 0045
2257 SH 2, Katikati 3178

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