About Us

Footprints Preschool

Philosophy connecting to our Logo

Our logo had a little update in 2021.

  • Green represents connections with Te Ngahere (the Bush).
  • Blue represents connections to te Wai (the Water), te Awa (the river) and te moana (the sea).

These are central to the learning your child will experience at our Footprints Preschool. We spend 90% of our day outside.

Empowerment, Courage, Curiosity and Kindness are at the core of what we are about. Through Empowering your child through choice and partnership they are able to engage in our free-play curriculum with courage, curiosity and kindness with others.

The two footprints are without shoes, showing the special connection made when bare feet touch earth (whenua). 

See more at our philosophy below.

Our People

Footprints Preschool is owned and operated by sisters, Tina Mudgway and Kathryn Cochet. The centre was purpose built in 2009 and has consistently maintained a high standard of care and education of all children.

Tina and Kath

Kia ora 

We are the lucky owners of Footprints Preschool, here in Waihi. We purchased the centre from Phil and Pauline Davison in late 2019, and began a fabulous journey with the existing staff. Tina, a qualified Early Childhood Teacher, spent the last ten years working in childcare in Nelson, while Kathryn is a Qualified Primary School Teacher, from Rotorua. 

We both truely enjoy working with children watching their growth as they learn about the world around them. From this relationship with the child, we become a part of something bigger, part of each family, and the community around us. Hence we have come to purchase a childcare centre together as sisters, turning our small family into a larger one.

As a team we value the individual child, their needs, and interests. Our desire is for children to come away from preschool with a strong sense of self worth, good self-esteem, confidence in their individuality, and the ability to be independent in their day to day activities. This will put them in the best position to be ready to start school. We have excellent support in the kind and caring staff at the centre - You can read more about them below.

We look forward to meeting new families and inviting them to join our community here at Footprints.




I have been a part of the early childhood sector/industry for over 18 years, starting as a nanny then going on to achieve a Bachelor of teaching ECE. I have been a tutor for the Open Polytechnic and mentored a number of teachers over the past 18 years.

My passion is to give children the love of learning, so they are able to achieve their goals and milestones in their own time and space. To care for children like they are my own and give them the respect and love like they would get from their parents. I believe this can be achieved by creating an environment that reflects their own home life and to build respectful, trustworthy relationships with children and families.



I have been involved in Early Childhood Education and parent education for the past 13 years and hold a Playcentre level 4 qualification, and in 2021 completed my Batchelor of Teaching (ECE) . I have been trained by Pennie Brownlee and Kimberly Crisp to hold respectful parenting courses within the community. The practice of working in partnership with children and parents, through education, is my passion.

I believe in creating a supportive stable environment where children can play out their intelligence to their highest potential.



Hi, I’m Hayley. I started at Footprints as an unqualified teacher in 2021. 

I work in both the Soulroom with the under two year olds, and in the Over two’s space. I enjoy looking up new art and craft ideas on pinterest and am enjoying getting to know the children and families at preschool. 



Hi, my name is Belinda and I am working 4 days a week in the Over two’s area. I started in 2021 covering parental leave for Kayla.  I am part of an out doors family who enjoys trips to our mountain house to go snowboarding. It has been my pleasure to meet the different families and start to build a relationship with the tamariki.



My name is Suzy and I am currently working in the Over twos on Thursdays and Fridays while Kayla is on parental leave.  I have been relieving here in the past so a few of the tamariki and whanau already know me.  I am excited to get to know all the new tamariki and their whanau.



My name is Kayla, I started out at Footprints doing my work experience for school, then as a reliever and now I am a full time teacher since early 2019.

I love working with children and watching them develop all their milestones and having lots of fun along the way. Having strong relationships with the children means they can trust you and they can come to you when they need you most. I am currently unqualified but have the national certificate in ECE level 3, in the future I do hope to study ECE more. 

In 2021 I had my first child and am currently on Parental leave until 2022.

Our Philosophy

Our philosophy is our guide and foundation for everything that we do at Footprints Preschool.

Our vision is to create a family within our centre, with connection to our people, and places within the wider community. We are here to nurture and support each other, through manaakitanga, and whakawhanaungatanga. Like the harakeke plant, the young children are at the heart of our community, surrounded firstly by their whanau, and supported by the kaiako, to be confident, capable learners who are secure in their sense of self.

Our mission is to grow empowered citizens that show kindness to others and through curiosity and courage, building resilience that will leave impressions, lasting for life

At the heart of our philosophy, is the concept of Mana Motuhake - Empowerment. To support our children, in setting them up for lifelong success. We believe that to be a happy, healthy learner, physiological and biological needs must be met first  and foremost, such as safety, security, belonging, and connection, so their confidence and a sense of self can be actualised. At Footprints we build this empowerment through caring relationships, knowing our tamariki and respecting who they are, and by working ‘with’ children in partnerships such as ako. Children are empowered through being given the opportunity to make choices for themselves, being seen as capable, practicing self care and care of others, and having responsibilities and leadership opportunities. Our parents and whanau are valued partners with Kaiako working together to achieve the best learning outcomes for their tamariki.

Ko te ahurei ko te tamaiti arahia ō tatou mahi  Let the uniqueness of the child guide the work

Being Kind, having Manaaki for everyone in our community and beyond underpins our curriculum. Kindness is encouraged and role modelled; to be friendly, generous, and considerate to oneself as well as others. It is shown through affection, gentleness, warmth, concern, and care. It’s about  taking our time, having empathy, being kaitiaki to our environment, and giving to others. Through feeling the joy of kind words, or kind acts, children are open to giving kindness to others, which in turn fosters friendship and connection which are vital to increasing overall happiness. Kaiako at Footprints encourage and support children to receive and give kindness through their words and actions day in and day out. 

He aroha whakatō, he aroha puta mai, Kindness given is kindness sown.

As children's sense of security, empowerment and mana grows this enables them to engage fully in a curriculum of Curiosity and Courage. Time and space to engage in free play empowers our tamariki to take a lead in their learning, while kaiako take the time to observe the learning that has happened, and provide an environment that extends and enriches each child’s individual learning path.

Curiosity/Whakapākiki is at the centre of all play. It is a desire to learn, explore, discover, and understand all that is around.  Children are inquisitive to know how or why something is, or does what it does. A curious child is open to possibilities.  Through providing open ended play materials, and plenty of uninterrupted time, kaiako support children to follow in our favourite character Maui’s footsteps; to think outside the box, through resourcefulness, problem solving, inventing, teamwork, experimentation, innovation and creativity

Mā ngā huruhuru ka rere te manu … It is the feathers that enable the bird to fly

As our curiosity grows, we need a little Whakamanawanui/Courage to realise our potential. Courage is not loud or proud, but a quiet confidence, that “I can do this”. When children feel good about themselves and see that they have the personal power to make courageous choices, they are more likely to lead personally satisfying and successful lives . The environment at Footprints is set up to provide just the right amount of challenge at the right time, so children meet small moments where courage can be practiced. Kaiako support children to acknowledge and understand their feelings, to use their voice to speak up, to take calculated risks, and to try something new, enabling the children to fly… 

Ka mahi te tawa uho ki te riri  Well done. You, whose courage is like the heart of the tawa tree

When children leave Footprints to continue their learning journey we know that through providing a secure base children are being empowered to be kind, curious and courageous explorers. In providing a circle of security, children’s inner strength is developed allowing them to take risks, recover, and get back up to try again. 

We are creating  “Learning impressions that will last for life”