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About Starfish

Starfish Early Childhood Centre has been a well established childcare facility on the Hibiscus Coast for over twenty years. It was purchased in 2006 by Alistair and Robyn Matthewson. Under this new management in 2010, Starfish underwent major redevelopments to create a state of the art, modern purpose built facility for education and care.

Robyn Matthewson is a qualified Primary and Early Childhood teacher and has worked in education for over twenty years. With a passion for education and a Bachelors Degree in Business, she and her husband Alistair have created an outstanding early childhood centre featuring a fun and stimulating environment where they work alongside an exceptional team of teachers. 

Robyn and Alistair outside centre


Starfish is licensed for children aged 2-5 years. The excellent child to teacher ratio allows for multiple teaching and learning opportunities that can be directed specifically to cater for individual interests and needs. 

The Centre is divided into two separate areas, one catering for the 2-3 year olds and the other for 3-5 year olds. Both areas are richly resourced and lead into separate specifically designed outdoor spaces.

Starfish is open from 7am -6pm. Varied session times are available within these times. Please see fee schedule.

We welcome interested parents/caregivers to view Starfish Early Childhood Centre and fully appreciate the caring staff, stimulating environment and excellent teaching and learning experiences in action. Please phone to make an appointment to visit. 

Inside the centre

Our Philosophy


The teachers at Starfish Early Childhood Centre believe in providing an environment that is welcoming, safe, nurturing and stimulating to children and their parents/whanau within our community.

We believe that all children are competent and capable learners who have naturally inquiring, questioning minds. We value their uniqueness and will treat them with dignity and respect.

We provide a programme that recognises the holistic way children develop and learn. Children will have equitable opportunities to develop within a child-initiated environment that supports self-motivated learning and peer collaboration.

We acknowledge and respect parents/whanau as first teachers, and value their contribution in the well-being and education of their children. Parent/whanau participation and their voice (whanau korero) will be encouraged and welcomed.

As teachers we value our unique role as facilitators of children's learning and recognise the need for ongoing professional development.

We provide all children with the opportunity to develop knowledge and an understanding of the cultural heritages of both partners to Te Tiriti O Waitangi.

A quality early childhood centre is complimentary to family life.


"To the best bunch of Kindy teachers in New Zealand-  Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being so kind, caring, lovely, patient and fun with my son. It's a big thing for a mother to be able to say good-bye to their child and know without doubt that he is in the best hands. For all the times you distracted him when I was leaving with cuddles; tied his shoe laces so he wouldn't trip; cut his apple for him; put plasters on his grazes and reapplied his sunblock- thank you! You have been a big part of his life. Being an early childhood teacher is a really important job; I admire each of you for doing it and being so good at it. I will miss seeing you all."

Kim and Jay 


" We can't say a big enough THANK YOU to you all for giving our three children such a great preschool experience. You've been a little like an extended family to us, celebrating the good and being supportive during tough times! There have been many occassions where you have gone the extra mile for us and we've been so grateful. It's what makes Starfish so special and a great place to be part of- thank you! All of our children have wonderful memories of their Starfish days. Thanks for all your positive input into their lives."

Craig and Kerry


"We would just like to say a special thanks to the team at Starfish for the wonderful job they have done with our four children who have attended the Centre over the years. Your daily efforts have let us know how much you cared and our children have truly benefited from your contribution and expertise. Thank you for inspiring  them and developing their love of learning. You are certainly an exceptional team of teachers."

Raj Family  


"We couldn't have chosen a better pre-school for our boys. Your help, support and kindness over the last 3 years has been fantastic. Even when the boys had difficulty settling, you never gave up and we got there in the end. Richard and I will miss chatting with you all at drop off and pick up times too. The boys are already planning a visit to Starfish. Thank you for all the love, care and attention you have given the boys. Your pre-school is second to none!" 

The Batty Family 


"My husband and I want to thank you all so much for being such a big, important, influential part of our daughter's life for the last three years. She has come so far, from the timid two year old who would cling to my neck to the confident little bright, sociable spark that she is now and I know that Starfish has helped to shape her to be the girl she is. Your caring, inclusive, patient manner with her and the warm, fun environment that you provide will continue to delight and engage children as they grow and flourish in your skilled care. Thank you!"

Deb and Matt 


“We would like to pass on our appreciation and thanks for all your love and care of our daughter over the past three years she has been at Starfish. She has enjoyed coming to Starfish and we will miss you all dearly. You are without a doubt, the best daycare on the Coast with the most loving, caring and dedicated staff. ”


“Thank you so much for looking after our boy and all the experiences you have shown him. There was not one day that he didn’t want to attend Starfish which showed us that he was secure, cared for and most of all learning and having so much fun. ”

Shelley Family 

“Words cannot express how amazing you are and how special you have been with us. Our son has grown so much. It has been a long journey and you have been right by our sides and for that we are forever grateful. We miss you already. ”

Debbie and Mike

“The biggest thank you goes to the teaching team who have looked after our daughter since she started. We can honestly say as parents we have never worried about her being in your care and have so enjoyed knowing you all. Starfish has been our daughter’s second home and sometimes asked at weekends if she could go there. We will miss you heaps. ”

Liam and Jill

“Thank you all so much for looking after our son for the last three years. You gave him the best start to his time in school and know that as he moves onto Primary school we will all look back on his time at Starfish with much affection. ”

Amy and Wes

ERO Review (external link)

ERO Review

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