August 21, 20200

Could sKids be your new Buzz?

“There’s no better time to get involved in this highly resilient and rewarding industry”, says CEO Dawn Engelbrecht.

The global pandemic has caused financial struggle for many families, resulting in reduced hours and redundancies. While the effects of COVID-19 will continue to be felt for some time, it has also created new opportunities. If you’ve been affected by Covid-19 or are looking for a new direction and you love working with children, sKids could be the exciting next step in your career.

About us

Safe Kids in Daily Supervision (sKids) is a before and after school programme for children aged 5-13. It also offers holiday programmes and a range of innovative programmes including music, sport, and cooking. There are 70 sKids franchises operating 170 centres at schools around New Zealand.

No better time

During lockdown all franchisees went the extra mile to support their clients and families, as well as using the time to upskill staff, said sKids CEO Dawn Engelbrecht. As a result of their dedication, every franchisee has kept their business running and has come back better than ever.
There’s no better time to get involved in this highly resilient and rewarding industry, says Engelbrecht. You’ll be able to take control of your future by being your own boss, with franchise opportunities in a number of parts of the country. “As New Zealand gets back on its feet after Covid-19 and people get back to work, the demand for sKids out-of-school care will grow even more.”

Make a difference

People from the tourism or hospitality sectors, and people who enjoy working with children, make great sKids franchisees. If you love working with people and children, and you’re ready to make a difference within your community, then sKids offers a fantastic opportunity from as little as $35,000.  The company’s aim is to provide programmes and activities that parents can clearly see will be of benefit to their children’s education, health and wellbeing. “These give expanded opportunities to our franchisees, and present parents with something of value rather than just an ordinary after-school care service,” says Engelbrecht.

A proven business model

This has gained sKids an international following based on its innovative programmes and determination to have a positive impact upon children’s lives. It’s also a business model that has stood the test of time, having been in operation since 1996 and is recognised by the Ministry of Social Development as providing an essential service.
If you’re looking for a great business opportunity with low fixed costs in a growing industry, which brings joy to children and their families, sKids could be for you.


July 3, 20200

“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” – Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein knew the value of reading. It’s true that much of a child’s learning is done through books, but the benefits span far wider than this. Reading transports children to other worlds, develops their imagination and a sense of empathy, helps them process their world, and is essential for clear communication skills. 

So as we approach the school holidays, what could be better than curling up with a great book? To give you some inspiration, co-owner of Wardini Books in Hawke’s Bay, Louise Ward, has come up with her list of best reads. Among these current titles you’ll find something for every age and interest, along with adventure, fun, humour, and surprise. 

Let’s get reading!


  1. Mophead by Selina Tusitala Marsh

Reading age 4+

At school Selina is teased and called mophead for her frizzy hair. One day, celebrated NZ poet Sam Hunt visits her school and Selina sees herself in his mad hair and love of words. As a result, she decides to let her hair out and embrace her differences. A finalist in the New Zealand Book Awards, this is a story about being labelled, finding out who you’re supposed to be and celebrating diversity.


  1. The Bomb by Sacha Cotter and Josh Morgan

Reading age 5

Winner of New Zealand’s Book of the Year in 2019, this quintessential lKiwi summer story follows the journey of a young boy who dreams of pulling off the perfect bomb into the water. While everyone has an opinion about how it should be done, he discovers his own way to do his perfect bomb. 

A great book to share as a family when children aren’t quite reading yet.

  1. Rabbit & Bear by Julian Gough and Jim Field

Reading age 6+

Bear wakes during hibernation to find her store of food has been stolen. As she sets out to find it she meets a grumpy rabbit and tries to get him to help her.

Humorous, fun and educational. 


  1. Hattie by Frida Nilsson and Stina Wirsen

Reading age 7-8

Hattie lives in the middle of nowhere and is desperate to start school so she has someone to play with. At school she meets a little girl who becomes her best friend and the story follows all of the mischievous things they get up to. 


  1. Here in the Real World by Sara Pennypacker

Reading age 9+

If your child is a quiet introvert, this is the book for them. Ware is meant to stay with his grandma for the summer but after she has an accident he is instead sent to a summer programme, where his parents hope he will have meaningful social interaction.  Ware instead meets tough, secretive Jolene at the churchyard next door and the two develop a close friendship. 

A book about finding out exactly who you are and being comfortable with that.

  1. Echo Mountain by Lauren Wolk

Reading age 9-12.

Set during the Great Depression in America in the 1930s, Ellie’s family have lost everything and moved to Echo Mountain. Ellie navigates their new life on the mountain’s tough terrain, while getting to know the people around her and going through personal challenges.

Dark, full of adventure, danger and children making moral decisions.


  1. The Good Thieves by Katherine Rundell

Reading age 9-12

Vita is in New York to visit her beloved grandfather who is widowed and has lost his house to a fraudster. When Vita sees the sparkle has gone from her grandfather she decides to get it back. To help her she recruits a crew of kids who all have specialist skills, and who work together to pull off her ambitious plan. 

A story about children being in charge and making decisions that force the adults around them to see who they are. 

  1. Spearo by Mary-Anne Scott

Reading age 10-14

Sean has emigrated to New Zealand from Zimbabwe with his mother after the death of his father. He finds it hard to fit in a school until he meets a boy in his class, Mason, and gets to know his family who are mad about spearfishing. Despite having no experience of the water Sean gets swept up in the family’s interest, and is thrust into a spear fishing competition.

An outdoor adventure full of action and drama. 


  1. The Traitor and the Thief by Gareth Ward

Reading age 12+

Set in Victorian Oxford, young orphan Sin is a petty thief when he is offered the chance to join a covert operations group and become a spy to stop the next Great War. 

Full of gadgets, spies and secrets.

  1. If Only by Adele Broadbent

Reading age 13+

When Kayla tells a lie to go to a party with her friend, it ends up spiralling into a disaster. She

meets a boy involved with project Jonah, an organisation that refloats stranded whales, learns the truth and must make some hard choices. 

Themes of romance, pushing boundaries and the protection of whales.

Louise and Gareth Ward opened independent bookstore Wardini Books eight years ago in the heart of Havelock North village. They chose the name ‘Wardini’ because of Gareth’s background (children’s entertainer, magician and hypnotist) and to reflect the warm, magical environment they have created. Inside you’ll find a fantastic selection of books, and a passionate team of voracious readers who are always happy to help you find the perfect book. 

For more information go to

Co-owner of Wardini Books, Louise Ward




May 18, 20200

Update | 18 May 2020 | sKids Safety at Level 2
Super excited to be open today and we wanted to assure you about the safety of the children in our care under a return to work scenario.

  • All staff have completed COVID-19 return to work training
  • All staff have completde a Return to Work health survey
  • COVID-19 awareness posters will be on display during sKids operating hours
  • We have a contactless option available for sign in and sign out of children
  • For parents who are unable to use the contactless solution there will be hand sanitizer available for them to use prior to signing in /out on the tablet and the tablets will be wiped down with disinfectant wipes before and after each use
  • All other visitors will be required to sign the visitor register to ensure contact tracing can be undertaken if necessary
  • All our standard Health and Safety procedures will continue to apply as per normal
  • All equipment will be thoroughly cleaned prior to opening
  • Equipment will be cleaned daily after use
  • Extra emphasis will be placed on hand-washing before and after activities (especially small group activities)
  • Where possible we will encourage physical distancing
  • We have issued a new COVID-19 onsite safety checklist for each site to ensure that all staff are aware of and follow the new procedures
  • We have provided each site with a COVID-19 RAMS checklist to assist with mitigating any additional potential risk factors


April 28, 20200

Media release: 21 April 2020
Kāpiti Coast siblings hope lockdown single will be the ‘Virtual Poppy donation’ for ANZACs.
Out of School Care provider sKids (Safe Kids in Daily Supervision) announced today the release of its single ‘We are the Ones Unite – COVID 19’ (a rewrite of its original 2018 collaborative single with chart topping NZ singer-songwriter Kings, directed, by William Henderson), to raise money for ANZAC veterans.

Like all organisations sKids has been deeply impacted by COVID19. “Despite this hardship we are dedicated to giving back to our community – always looking for ways to help others” says sKids Marketing Manager Bex Woolfall. “When we went into lockdown, I felt we had an opportunity to reboot our song ‘We are the One’s Unite’ originally produced to raise money for ‘The Child Cancer Foundation’. The chorus is not only deeply moving but also very aligned with COVID 19 & New Zealand’s response”, says Woolfall.

Bex reached out sKids Franchise Owner, Sonia South, to see if her son 14 year (birthday spent in lockdown) James Stent, (one of the stars of the original song) would be up for a lockdown challenge – to rewrite, & re-record the song with a COVID theme to raise money for those impacted by COVID 19. Not a task for the faint hearted, but for James (aged 14) and his sister Mārama (aged 10) they took to the task like superstars.

“Of course, there are many worthwhile causes for any proceeds, however I was particularly moved about the news that there would be no Poppy Day due to COVID 19, so felt downloading our song could act as a virtual Poppy donation ” Says Woolfall. Poppy Day has been a part of the New Zealand calendar since 1922, making it one of the oldest nationwide appeals usually raising up to $2,000,000 to support veterans.

ANZAC day has significant meaning for the Stent Family. 84 year old Grandad: William (Bill) James Austin Stent, was in the Malayan emergency, the NZ 1st battalion. It started in 1948 and finished in 1960. He was a dog handler from 1951-1953, and led the patrols, hoping the dogs would alert to an ambush beforehand. When Bill heard his Grandchildren were singing to raise money for those that have served, he was very moved.

CEO of the RSA Karen Rolleston is simply delighted with the song. “COVID 19 has been a battle we have all had to fight, but what is particularly touching that amidst all the fear and uncertainty that our tamariki have thought about our veterans, – those who went before them fighting a very different war – to ensure we never forget.”

Bex & Karen hope all New Zealanders will get behind this single, whether they are music lovers or not, and treat a download like a virtual poppy donation. Bex would also like to acknowledge the original sKids kids group of superstars who feature in the wonderful music composition & chorus.

‘We are the Ones Unite’ (COVID 19) costs $1.29 to download and is available on all music platforms.…

Notes to Editors:
Media Enquiries to
bex on 0272119090