Aratupu Preschool & Nursery recently celebrated its 40th birthday by holding a community fun afternoon on 25th January.

A bouncy castle, giant games, sausage sizzle and music were enjoyed by Aratupu's staff, tamariki and whānau as well as people from the wider Papanui community. It was a great opportunity to celebrate this important milestone for Aratupu as well as giving families in the community a chance to see what makes it special.

Aratupu was built in front of the Christchurch Methodist Mission's orphanage and children's home on Harewood Road in 1978. Since opening, it has provided the very best in care and education for children aged six and under and placed a strong emphasis on supporting young, single mothers to raise and provide for their children.

Today, Aratupu is a whānau hub with an early education centre at its heart and remains committed to supporting young parents by providing a wrap-around service for all families. Most of the children enrolled are from young single parent families who rely on a benefit or have a low income. A range of services are provided including an on-site Whānau Support Worker, Community Health Worker, parenting courses, group programmes and access to the wider services of CMM.

Aratupu Practice Lead Marcia Manson-Glover said it is important for staff to play a vital role in "supporting families beyond Aratupu's walls and creating the best possible home environment as well. It takes a village to raise a child; we know that some whānau don't have support systems or that they struggle to get the support that they need."

Marcia has worked at Aratupu for 10 years and has seen generations of families come through. "One particular mother brought her children here and later became a teacher. Now her daughter is about to give birth and she's on the wait list," she said.

"Another family with six children is about to leave after 18 years. That's going to be a big loss for us. It's that long-standing relationship at Aratupu that's always really relied on," says Marcia.

Aratupu has spaces available in both the nursery & pre-school. Please contact Centre Manager Katie Parks on 03 352 6816 or or pop into Aratupu at 97 Harewood Road in Papanui.

Everyone at the celebration had the chance to enjoy a slice of birthday cake.