School Start First Impressions works to reduce the impact of financial strain from education to families living in material hardship.

We acknowledge that a child’s 5th birthday and the beginning of school as the first major step for a child. The first steps towards education and independence and the first steps the child takes towards becoming a person, making their way in the world.

The cost of equipping a child for school can be extortionate. And added financial pressure on families in poverty can have major impacts on a child’s self-esteem, experience of school and their ability to focus on learning.

The provision of our School Starter Pack is designed to alleviate inequity for that child who is starting their school journey. Our children have the opportunity to start school on an equal footing with their peers, giving them confidence to embrace the challenges of school, focus on learning and a sense of belonging.

We help children move from the Ministry of Education’s early childhood curriculum principles, Te Whāriki, to the New Zealand curriculum.

“Te Whāriki is underpinned by a vision for children who are competent and confident learners and communicators healthy in mind, body and spirit, secure in their sense of belonging and in the knowledge that they make a valued contribution to society”.

– Ministry of Education


School Start First Impressions is a registered charity (CC51707) governed by three trustees, Jane Thomas, Graeme Thomas and Rae Blackwood, who are all very involved in the running of the charity. Our charity information, purpose, structure, officers details, trust deed, annual returns, and other documentation reside on the Charities NZ website.

We can confidently say that all the funding and donations that we receive is directly spent on equipping our children to start school.

SSFI was the first initiative of Addenbrooke Foundation. In September of 2019 Addenbrooke Foundation was renamed to School Start First Impressions.