Whimsy, Wonder and Warmth
What do you wish for your preschool child?
A beautiful, nature-rich place to play and learn.Teachers with big hearts and inspiring minds.The chance to acquire practical life skills in a way that’s fun.The joy of construction with simple objects.Exposure to science, nature, art and stories in a way that intuitively promotes reading, writing and numeracy.
If you want these things, we can help you. Our preschool learning environment is carefully crafted to be beautiful and peaceful, but also stimulating and educational.
We believe children need the chance to connect with nature, especially when they live in the city. We understand that children need a balance of self-directed play and structured learning, to prepare them for the challenges of primary school. We also believe that love is the best teacher.
“Education is not about ‘what the children should learn’, it is about love. Love is the very foundation of true education. Think back to your most effective teachers – they were teaching their love. They shared their love of music, of Shakespeare, of calculus, of poetry, their love of the seasons, of sunflowers, of painting….”. Caron Michael, founder of The Toymaker’s Cottage.
“I’ve been involved with preschool children for more than 25 years – as a kindergarten teacher, a nanny and as a mother. My idea for the Toy Maker’s Cottage has been quietly simmering away for a long time. In my mind I saw a place that invoked a sense of wonder and magic in young children. A place full of hand-made and heritage toys that develop children’s imagination, creativity, intelligence and joy of exploration. A place to play and be happy.”
“To bring the vision to life I’ve spent many months milling trees to make the furniture, collecting heritage hand-made toys, meeting toymakers from around the world, and making blocks and toys myself out of reclaimed timber from old Hoheria School, which is on our family land in Waitakere. Once I found the site in Partridge Street, I worked closely with builders to re-purpose the heritage home that is now the Toymaker’s Cottage. It’s been a challenging process, but I’ve loved every minute of it.”
“It is my sincere wish that this centre is full of sweet whimsy, wonder and warmth. I want children to learn through exploration, discovery and storytelling. The Toymaker’s Cottage is an idea I’ve had for years. Now it’s come to life.”