Cedar Saplings is a Ministry of the Birkdale Beach Haven Anglican Community Church. SPACE programmes were started at the Cedar Centre in 2011 and the Playgroups in 2014 and are activities undertaken to promote Christian values within a non-threating Christian Environment.

We believe every child and family is unique and by providing a wide range of perspectives on various topics we will enable parents to formulate a parenting style that works them. We respect the choices of parents and will provide a forum to empower informed decisions by promoting current best practices, big picture thinking, reflection and evaluation.

We recognize and value the importance of gentle, responsive parenting and believe that children should be respected from birth and thrive on parental warmth and affection which is fundamental to how children develop physically, mentally, and socially.

We seek to create a friendly environment where all parents and children are valued, supported and inspire each other. We encourage parents to nurture their relationship, and grow in their new role as parents.

We recognise that children reach their full potential most successfully when their parents understand their development and take part in their learning.  Children learn by doing – through play. Adults set out the equipment and materials to stimulate their children’s all-round development and it is the children who choose which activity they undertake.

We see parents and children as a community of learners.

We endorse Te Tiriti o Waitangi and its commitment to biculturalism.

The Space programme aims to support parents in their role as the best and most important educators of their children through:

  • providing parents with support and encouragement from other participants in the group and from experienced facilitators as they journey through their child’s early months
  • providing parents an opportunity to listen to, and develop links with, a range of community organisations and services providers
  • recognising that the SPACE programme provides a meeting place for families to share experiences, make friends, discuss joys and problems, and learn more about children’s development

The SPACE programme also seeks to increase the participation of children in early childhood education at an early age through the provision of quality curriculum that maximizes children’s learning from birth:

We provide the SpaceNZ Programme, focused on “The Heart of Parenting and The Growing Child” and “Exploring Play” and the Playgroup under Ministry of Education guidelines of “parent-lead play”.  Cedar Saplings embraces the SPACE philosophy along with theories and practices from world renowned researchers and professionals; such as Bowlby, Ainsworth, Erikson, Grille, Thomas & Chess, Piaget, Gerber, McKenna, Sears and others.

A Ministry of Education Playgroup provides an environment for children and parents to learn together and for parents to support each other.

Although these playgroups can have specific philosophical approaches and vary across settings throughout New Zealand, they all have one thing in common – they offer the opportunity for parents or caregivers to meet regularly with their children to play and provide educational and social experiences.

Cedar Saplings is a “Certificate” Playgroup with the Ministry of Education: Education (Playgroups) Regulations 2008 (SR 2008/205).   For more information


  1. To provide a peaceful transition during the 4th Trimester (0-3 months) and beyond.
  2. To be sensitive in all dealings with parents, especially with their worries and concerns.
  3. To support parents transitioning into a family by understanding the difficulties they may be experiencing.
  4. To support parents in understanding normal behaviours in an infant’s first year of life (SPACE) and during the 6 month to 5 year period (Playgroup).
  5. To provide research based information.
  6. To assist parents in understanding baby’s cues and to promote healthy structures within the family.
  7. To assist parents in avoiding information overload from well-meaning friends and family, publications and the internet by empowering parents to have confidence in their decision making.
  8. To assist parents in understanding their child’s temperament, which is innate at birth and remains fairly constant throughout their life, and their personality as a combination of temperament, life experiences and their environment.
  9. To encourage parents to refrain from shaming, manipulation or physical punishment of their child.
  10. To encourage parents to refrain from the “Cry out method” and/or sleep trainers in the child’s first year.
  11. To encourage breastfeeding, but not at the expensive of the mother and child’s well-being.
  12. To promote attachment by developing trust between the child and the main caregiver(s) in order to assist the infant develop the network of neurons in the brain dedicated to forming lifelong stable relationships.
  13. To promote safe sleeping environments and baby wearing.
  14. To promote nutrition for mother and baby from the latest research and encourage baby lead weaning.
  15. To promote singing, playfulness, and socializing for both babies and parents.
  16. To promote long-term friendships between the parents.
  17. To create and maintain a database of local professionals and pre-school programmes that can assist in the healthy growth of babies.
  18. To help parents gain for themselves more understanding of their role as parents.
  19. To assist parents in their personal growth and continued learning.
  20. To provide quality education through ongoing training.