Welcome to Paula’s Tiny Tots, Paula’s Preschool Richmond and the Richmond Academy. We are looking forward to getting to know you and your family!

Who are we?

We are proud to say we are a 100% locally owned and operated family business. You will often see Anthony and Stacey in and out of the centre on a daily basis.  We feel strong ties to the community and enjoy supporting local events.  We are very proud of our identity and our history in the community.   Our main role is to support staff, assist Vanessa with her management decisions, provide upkeep of the building, and business administration.   

Anthony grew up locally, attending Waimea Intermediate, and Waimea and Nayland Colleges.  While travelling abroad in the USA, Anthony met Stacey, and married in Fort Worth Texas in 2002.  Stacey is an American born Kiwi, and is an early childhood and primary trained teacher with work experience in USA and in New Zealand.  We chose Nelson as the ideal place to raise a family and moved back in 2003 to take on the Early Childhood sector.  Since 2005 Stacey has focused on raising our 4 children, Preston, Gavin, Adam and Mason.

All 4 children have attended our centres, with our youngest recently transitioning to primary school.  We live locally and enjoy supporting the community.  We enjoy sport, camping and the outdoors, our boys love to roam so we are very busy on the weekends following their interests.

What’s our History?

Paula’s Preschools have been operating as a family owned operation in the Nelson area since 1994.  Paula and Kevin Holder (our parents) are the founders of our philosophy.  As a family we are very passionate about Early Childhood Education.  Paula’s Preschool Richmond was located on Mcglashen Ave and moved location in 2003.  Paula’s Tiny Tots began in 2006, which used to be located on Cautley Street before merging into our main preschool building.  Other centres are Paula’s Preschool Tahunanui and Paula’s Tiny Tots Tahunanui, which operate on Parkers road, Tahunanui, Nelson.

What do we believe in?

Our core emphasis in early childhood education is building a programme centered on strong family values and relationships.  Key to this approach is mutual respect towards those that attend the centre (children, teachers, family members, whanau and so on), and providing an environment where children and teachers are comfortable, confident and happy.  We want to provide positive learning experiences for both children and teachers, where they are encouraged to share, explore and grow.   We want children to leave our centre confident knowing they have a sound base of numeracy and literacy skills to equip them for the challenges at primary school.

What’s the difference?

Teaching team

The big difference between what we provide and other centres is our 100% focus on the children.  We seek out the best teachers we can find, offering the best quality care.  We also develop quality teachers with supporting students through their training.  Our teacher-to-child ratios give our teachers the opportunity to connect with your child.  This is vital as Early Childhood Educators are passion driven professionals. We strive to provide an environment where teachers are valued and can give their best for the children. 


We are not a centre based on gimmicks, and the lure offering free lunches or free rides to preschool.  We are about quality of programme, not quantity of children attending.  We do not operate our centres to the MOE (Ministry Of Education) minimums like other centres. Rather, we focus on what we feel is the best ratios and play areas for our children so they don’t feel crowded, lost in the system and just another number on the role.  Our value is the experiences and opportunities the children receive while attending the centres with quality teachers. 


Our centre has a homely feel to children, parents and teachers.  Our centre is not custom a made building, nor are they located in industrious or commercial zoned areas.  We are located in the community, often close to schools and people.  Our centre has fantastic flow from indoors to outdoors.  Our playgrounds are designed with the age of the children in mind, with big trees and large expansive areas to explore.

We are a locally owned operation in your community

Our philosophy is vastly different to the ideals of the multi-national early childhood education chain centres.  We believe in supporting local business, by buying goods and services in our community.  We value our relationships with local schools and stay connected with our families long after they move on from Paula’s Preschool. 

Getting a Head Start

Our teachers create a nurturing environment, where children feel safe and secure.  Balance of programme is the key to children getting the most out of their early childhood education.  We believe we have the right mix of structured numeracy and literacy learning and child-lead creative play for children to excel.  Our smooth transitions between each class environment makes life easy and not stressful for children.  We constantly receive glowing ERO reports and positive parent feedback, which is very important to us.   New Entrant Teachers rave about our children and how successful they are once they start primary school. 

If you have any questions about our centre, we are very approachable and happy to help.