2014 Review Submitted by Karen Payne (parent and ECE Registered Teacher)
The Tot Spot
Address: 1440 Cameron Road, Greerton, Tauranga
Number of Children: 72 children (including up to 23 under-2s)
Hours 7.30am to 5.30pm
Management: Built in 2012 this centre is privately owned by Michelle Hodge.
My first impression of The Tot Spot when I visited it at around 10am was that it was very easy to spot on the main road. The centre has logos on the front and flags out on the curb.
I entered the building and walked straight into the reception area. I could see the baby area which has a huge ceiling to wall window to look through. I was greeted by the head teacher Carol who was helpful and friendly. Carol was more than happy to show me around, explaining what the centre offers and introducing me to all the staff. I was interested to see if this centre would be one that my sister might like for her son.
Carol gave me an information sheet and began to inform me about the centre’s routines. The centre is separated into three rooms, the ‘messy monkeys’ 0-2yrs, the ‘zooming zebras’ 2-4 yrs and the ‘crazy crocs’ 4-6yrs old. They supply all meals for the children (except for those in the ‘crazy crocs’ room) and encourage healthy eating.
Carol took me through to the crazy croc room as this is where my nephew would go. It was a big open plan room with beautiful wooden floors and lots of windows. There were several tables which at that time of the day were full with children as it was morning tea time. The children in this room bring their own lunch box when they turn 4 to help to prepare them for taking a lunch-box to school. I was introduced to the teachers there, who were all very friendly. I was told they have a transition to school programme for children from 4 years of age and they focus on developing academic skills such as learning letters and numbers.
The daily programme featured free play for most of the day alongside three set mat times, one in the morning lunch time and one in the afternoon.
The outside area is open for children aged 2- 6, so it is shared between the ‘zooming zebras’ and ‘crazy crocs’. The outside area had lots of open space for children to play and have fun in, it had a long sandpit and an area for a big climbing frame which was placed on a large amount of artificial padding. There was also a concrete area for bikes, and other outside activities included water play, messy play and music and movement.
I noticed there was also a separate outdoor area for the under-2s with lots of natural grass.
After entering the inside area again I noticed that morning tea was finished and the tables had been set up with table-top activities for the children to sit at and do. Most of the children appeared busy and engaged in activities and teachers were close at hand talking with them and providing guidance when needed.
I really liked the feel of The Tot Spot, it felt warm, inviting and generally a happy place to be. Most of the teaching staff were fully qualified ECE teachers with some primary trained teachers as well. The staff were all professional and had a warm and loving relationship with children. It was good to see!