Our philosophy 

The child is the seed, the origin of all things / Ko te tamaiti te kākano, te pūtake o ngā mea katoa 

  • We believe every child is important and deserves a quality early childhood education. 

  • Our qualified, friendly teachers build great relationships with each child and their family, supporting them to grow as confident, successful, lifelong learners. 

  • We pride ourselves on high-quality teacher/child ratios that you will not find in many other centres. 

  • We provide a fun, safe and nurturing environment that supports children in their learning. 

  • We have a large outdoor environment, and value the importance of play and physical challenges. 

  • Our passionate, knowledgeable teachers use effective teaching strategies to encourage children to learn through their own individual strengths and interests. 

  • We value the diverse range of cultures that contribute to making our centre a dynamic learning environment. 


Education Review Office (ERO) Report 

We are proud to have one of the best ERO Reports that you will find among Christchurch early learning centres. You can read the full report here

“UCSA is committed to the provision of high-quality early learning services for its members. The Association ensures the centre is resourced to maintain high teacher-child ratios and continue to improve its learning environments.” – ERO Report 


Teacher-to-child ratios 

Our centre is licensed for up to 65 children, ages six weeks to five years and is divided into four areas of care, which have the following excellent teacher-to-child ratios: 

  • Infant room 1:3 

  • Toddler room 1:4 

  • Junior room 1:6 

  • Senior room 1:8 


Modern and spacious facilities 

Infant Room 

Our very experienced teachers create a warm, safe and nurturing environment. We ensure individualised programmes adjust to the infant's own rhythms, informed by a strong partnership between parents and staff. The daily programme is based on replicating the routines already established in the home environment as much as possible to build familiarity and trust. 


Toddler Room 

In the Toddler Room, the daily programme consists of unhurried meaningful routines, interactive group time and planned learning moments. We have a beautiful outdoor area that encourages physical, active play and a love of nature. 

The dedicated teachers provide a wide range of learning experiences that foster language development, social skills, critical and creative thinking, problem solving and much more. 

Importance is placed on helping children to develop emotional awareness. Teachers focus on helping children to understand and express their feelings appropriately as they interact with each other and build relationships and friendships. 


Junior Room 

Our Junior Room is a place where the teachers can build close and caring relationships with children, and foster friendships between children. The small group size supports us to plan well for individual and group learning, and facilitate opportunities for children to enhance their leadership abilities and mana. 

As we share an outdoor space with the Toddler Room, our Junior Room children learn to care for their younger friends and support them in their transitions into the Junior Room. Our Junior Room children also have frequent visits to the Senior Room, so that they build a sense of familiarity for their later transition. We foster rangatiratanga – leadership, whānaungatanga – relationships and manākitanga – respect and caring for others. This supports our children to excel in their learning and sense of connection to the wider community. 


Senior Room 

In the Senior Room, we believe in providing experiences that empower and enhance children’s sense of self-worth and confidence, and we celebrate children’s successes and achievements. 

Children enjoy resources, challenges and support for their widening interests and increased capacity to persevere and become effective problem solvers. 

A major feature of the Senior Room is the large outdoor area, where children are encouraged to value the natural environment and take a role and responsibility for its care. Children are supported to take calculated risks and persist with challenge, helping them to build resilience and confidence. 

Teachers support children as they prepare to transition to school by equipping them with the skills and knowledge they need. These include relationship building, communication, numeracy, literacy and self-help skills, as well as the ability to negotiate and resolve conflict. 

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

“The centre's curriculum and teaching practices are highly responsive to children's needs, abilities and interests ... Children's confidence and sense of belonging in the centre are carefully nurtured through warm, positive and affirming interactions with their teachers.” – ERO Report



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 attend 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. 

 “Children benefit from the way teachers actively build reciprocal and respectful educational partnerships with parents and whānau ... Teachers take time to learn about the family and cultural values of all children and to make links to these in learning programmes and practices.” – ERO Report 


Business Hours 

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



The Ilam Early Learning Centre is conveniently 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. 


Contact us 

For further details on the centre, and to arrange a visit, please contact the Centre Administrator, or Karen, the Centre Manager, on 03-348-4336. 


Updated Fees (Jan 2024)

Under 3-Year-Old Children

Student Rate

Non-Student Rate

Hourly Rate



Capped Weekly Rate



Over 3-Year-Old Children

Student Rate

Non-Student Rate

Up to 20 hours ECE subsidy, & up to 6 hours ECE per day

After this, rates apply as below:

No Charge

No Charge

Hourly Rate



Capped Weekly Rate



Ilam ELC Session Times:

Morning session times 9.15am-12.15pm

Afternoon session times 12.15pm-3.15pm

6 hour session times 9.15am-3.15pm



Outside of sessional hours, fees charged per hour, or part thereof in 15-minute increments.

We offer a 10% reduction on fees for younger siblings. Once the older sibling has left, the discount will be removed.




My daughter has been in this centre for nearly five years and I wouldn't go anywhere else! All the teachers in the centre are so passionate, loving, kind and professional. The environment and atmosphere they create for children and their families are above and beyond. With the support, care and guidance from everyone (admin staff, centre manager and teachers), my child has grown into a confident, kind, and happy girl ready for primary school! Highly recommended!!!
My son had spent more than two years at Ilam ELC, and he loves it. The teachers are very caring and professional. I love the way and frequency that they change the environment to suit children’s interests. The teachers provide so many different, fun and creative activities to children. We feel lucky that we sent our son to this centre.
A great and fun place for the little ones. Excellent outdoor space and teachers that work with the whānau to enable the kids to learn and thrive. Great activities from art, to planting gardens, bike riding, and slack-line walking!
[My children] have learnt so much from their time at Ilam ELC. Bella .. [is] more confident and grew to care and look after other children especially the young ones. Brooklyn ... grew out of his shell, grew more confident in relating to others and [is] more confident in physical activities.
Extremely happy with my son's preschool. The teachers are amazing and treat every child with love and respect.
Five Stars!