Ilam Early Learning Centre

Ilam Early Learning Centre

Carpark 1, Dovedale Campus


The University of Canterbury Students' Association (Inc) provides Early Childhood Education for children of students enrolled at the University of Canterbury to allow for attendance at lectures, tutorials and employment, and where places are available, for children of staff and the community.

Our teachers create a warm, friendly, multicultural atmosphere where children feel secure and comfortable. The centre's programmes are based on Te Whaariki, the Early Childhood Curriculum. Each child receives individual attention to enhance positive development. The centre's philosophy is to observe each child and extend their natural interests.

Licensed for up to 65 children from six weeks to five years the teacher to child ratios are above the minimum standards. The centre is divided into 4 areas of care:

Babies 6 weeks to 18 months:

For our babies we ensure individualised programmes adjust to the infant's own rhythms, informed by a strong partnership between parents and staff. The ratio for this area is above ministry of education requirements and is one teacher to three babies for under ones and one teacher to four babies for over ones. 

Toddlers 18 months to 2 years:

In our toddler room children enjoy a secure environment including a large outdoor activity area. We provide a programme with both daily routines and challenging activities that encourage a toddler's developing cognitive skills and language.

The morning programme includes group morning tea, action songs from many countries, and group lunches at 11.30am (children bring their own lunch). The afternoon programme may include sleep according to the child's natural rhythm, and a range of self-choice activities followed by afternoon tea at 2.30pm and quiet music time. Again the ratio is above requirements with one teacher to four children.

Transitioning Children around 2 Years to 3 Years:

In our transitioning area children's learning and development is fostered and extended.  There are more complex challenges to encourage problem solving and investigation.  The children enjoy a shared outdoor area with the toddlers but begin to have transitional visits to the Senior Learning Areas.  This helps to build a sense of familiarity, friendship and belonging for when they eventually move into the Senior Room.  

Senior Room Children Over 3 Years:

In the Senior Room children aged three and four enjoy resources, challenges and support for their widening interests, increased capacity to solve problems and develop social and emotional competencies and independence. Teachers encourage conversations, queries, and complex thinking, including concepts of fairness, feelings, difference and similarity. Children are encouraged to investigate their interests and are supported through group learning situations based on these interests. In these situations children and their peers can learn alongside each other and support each others learning, developing negotiation and communication skills. 

Children's' interests are extended through field trips as well as utilising the University campus and community.

A major feature of Senior Room is the large outdoor area, where projects and activities are always in action. Children are encouraged to value the natural environment and take a role and responsibility for its care.

During the day children have self choice activities inside or outside, this includes table-top activities, floor activities, arts and crafts as well as outside activities that encourage physical movement, challenges and controlled risk taking.  

There are two mat times, one before morning tea and one before lunch with a quiet group story time for the children leaving by 3.15.

Children have a shared morning tea of fruit and bring their own lunches.

Parent Support:

Teachers value daily informal communications with parents and are happy to meet with you on a more formal basis by arrangement. Any comments, suggestions or ideas for improving the Centres' practices are welcomed, please discuss these with our Head Teacher or Licensee.


Ilam ELC's sessions are based on the needs of student parents. Core sessions are 9.15am to 12.15pm, and 12.15pm to 3.15pm. In addition to the core sessions parents can extend the hours by 15 min increments to ensure they have the flexibility to extend for the length of their lectures.  Flexibility can be made on a case by case basis around exam days.

The centre is open during both semesters and through summer school, mid November to mid February, with a three week close-down over Christmas and one week close down in the July semester break.

Students who have re-booked in advance for the following February will not be charged if the child is away during the summer semester. The centre can help with WINZ subsidy applications. Parents are expected to maintain their booking without changes for the entire semester.


The centre has a discounted rate for University of Canterbury student parents, with capped fees at 37 hours per week.

Our Rates for 2018 are:


Rates for Ilam Early Learning Centre

Ilam ELC Pricing


Business Hours:

We are open from 7.45am to 5.15pm Monday to Friday.


The Ilam Early Learning Centre is situated on the Dovedale Campus.  Use the entrance to Carpark 1 off Parkstone Avenue.  Parents are able to park in our 10 minute carparks for drop off and pick up.  Bikes are available if you wish to leave your car at the Dovedale campus and bike over to the main campus.

For further details on the centre, and to arrange a visit, please contact Sara, the Administrator or Karen, the Head Teacher on 348 4336.

More info on UCSA childcare