Cherry’s on Riverview St is set on a quarter acre section in a large character bungalow and provides a comfortable home-like amongst established trees and play-gardens. Thorrington and Beckenham Primary Schools are nearby. We have a quiet suburban location street several blocks from the southern end of Colombo Street, in a loop of the Heathcote River at the base of the Cashmere Hills.
There are separate large and well shaded play-gardens for younger and older children, where age-appropriate and challenging physical activites can be organized by teachers. Larger trees include silver birch, walnut, genko, cedar and totara and cabbage trees. Respect for the environment can be seen in the children’s involvement with gardening.
The sustainability theme is carried through to the indoor reaching spaces where natural materials are favoured where possible. The kitchen is central, and children love to be invited to help with baking. Children use porcelain cups, plates and bowls and learn to respect these, as they would in a home.
At any one time we have up to 33 children over two years of age at the Centre. We employ four teachers, plus a float teacher. The ratio of teachers to children amongst these older children is between 1:6.6 and 1:8.25. We usually have 12 infants and toddlers, with three rostered teachers and a float teacher. The ratio here is 1:3.6.
Your child is assigned to a teacher who is their primary care-giver and who will give feedback to you at pickup time. This teacher will also maintain a profile book documenting your child’s progress and interests during your time with us. We encourage parents to contribute to this document as well.
Cherry’s as an Enviroschool has a living and enduring vision whereby we seek to strengthen our commitment to working towards a sustainable environment and community. Our children learn to care for their environment within our grounds, and from there learn to love nature in the wider world. Teachers are role models and children learn that they too have responsibilities and can make a difference through their actions. In many, often simple ways, children will gain understandings and skills that will enable them to make future decisions that will progress the movement towards sustainable lifestyles in our community.
Respecting and valuing different perspectives that come from our bicultural past and increasingly from a wide range of cultures helps promote a tolerant and peaceful society. Knowing where they are in a unique natural environment with a rich Maori culture to draw upon helps children learn who they are as New Zealanders. Children will leave Cherry’s with a solid base of values upon which to develop into young citizens better equipped to make choices that will promote a sustainable future.