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Shaping child development and early learning: The Cathedral Grammar Pre-School

The Cathedral Grammar Pre-School is an inner-city, family-orientated, community-based education centre for boys and girls, located in the grounds of The Cathedral Grammar School’s central city campus.



Head of Pre-School Lyndell Turner leads a team of caring early childhood teachers who possess a deep understanding of how young children learn.

“Teachers are responsive to individual interests, strengths and abilities. They listen closely to children, support them to develop oral language skills and share their ideas.

“Our Pre-School philosophy values play as instrumental in stimulating and shaping child development and early learning. Through planned and spontaneous play experiences, children form relationships, share, cooperate, develop self-regulation, they learn to test ideas and develop friendships, extend their range of experience through reciprocal relationships with people, places and things.”

“Our programme intentionally balances times of child-centred and adult-led play, plus we value extended blocks of uninterrupted time for children to make discoveries, to elaborate on projects, and to be involved in deep meaningful play,” Lyndell says.

The Pre-School children are fortunate to be located on the grounds of The Cathedral Grammar School. This means access to numerous activities and resources such as specialist art, music and physical education teachers which add value to an already strong and varied programme.

ECE hours available. For more information and Centre tours, please contact Lydia Hemingway (Registrar, The Cathedral Grammar School) on 03 365 0385 or email inquiries to




Scott Thelning: The Influencers

Everyone matters, every day. This simple, yet powerful and poignant statement is one of the guiding pillars at The Cathedral Grammar School.


The Cathedral Grammar School Principal

It ensures we are a part of the conversations and actions towards improving the truly disheartening mental health and suicide record of our country.

As we have evolved as a school in recent times, we are proud to have deliberately adopted a ‘heart as well as head’ approach that promises to nurture, to know and to grow every student, every day in a holistic and meaningful way. This ensures that the pursuit for academic success, which is clearly important, does not narrow the focus in a manner which diminishes self-worth, happiness and the ability to celebrate diverse strengths.

Within the last few weeks, we have had the Government announce its 2019 Wellbeing Budget, and New Zealander of the Year and founder of The Key To Life Charitable Trust, Mike King, was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his work as a mental health advocate.

We are blessed to live in this wonderful country of ours full of beauty and opportunity, yet something within our system and psyche goes so badly wrong for more of our teenagers than anywhere else in the world. Sadly, despite knowing this, we keep the same societal expectations, systems, processes and pressures in place, and then expect that somehow things are going to improve; the definition of madness at play.

At Cathedral Grammar we encourage personal growth and development, while providing clear, heart-focused pathways for our students. Everyone matters, every day.






Meet the Principal 2019: Scott Thelning of The Cathedral Grammar School



‘Every child. Every day.’ This simple yet powerful statement is the essence of my educational philosophy. It seems so obvious, yet in a school setting, can get lost in the pursuit of greatness, narrow measures of success and the needs of adults. At The Cathedral Grammar School your child is truly at the heart of the matter as we set about nurturing them, knowing them and growing them in a holistic and heart focused manner. Of course, academic performance and high expectations are key, but not at the expense of their wellbeing and the development of skills and qualities to thrive in a challenging and evolving world.



At The Cathedral Grammar School your child is in an environment that values their heart as well as their head. It’s the Grammar Way. The girls at our school enjoy the best of both worlds. In the Preschool and Junior School, girls receive the benefit of all that co-education has to offer. As they get older, their learning styles can start to differ from the boys. So, for Years 4-8, they are split into two separate schools. Based in their own respective classrooms within the school grounds, the girls and boys schools work independently but are closely aligned. This means the school can specifically tailor learning.

The Head Girl, Lucy, is the third of three girls in the Vance family to attend Cathedral Grammar and relishes the unique Cathedral Grammar culture. “The whole Girls’ School is basically a big family and everyone supports each other and they know everyone.” The prime inner city position means they make the most of the wonderful nearby resources. The girls head to Ara Institute for Engineering and Food Technology, Christ’s College to study Hard Materials and some students are involved in an Enrichment Programme at Tūranga, the new central city library. This is an exciting opportunity and aims to enrich and extend the school’s current learning programmes inside and outside the classroom.

Every week the girls and boys come together for what we call an Hour of Power, where they’ll study a myriad of subjects such as Robotics, Coding, Electronic Music 101, Collage Fabric and Food Art and French. They also join forces for extension classes in Maths and English, for chapel, assemblies, sport and fitness. Recognising that a well-rounded character is just as important as academic success, all students are involved in community service, helping to enrich the lives of others. “We would love your daughter or son to be part of our community, our family.”


The Cathedral Grammar School

Capturing creativity & innovation: The Cathedral Grammar School

Set in the figurative and literal heart of the city, The Cathedral Grammar School captures creativity and innovation both through its physical incarnation, and through a unique structure that is designed to get the very best out of each and every student.


The Cathedral Grammar School


In much the same way as the world-leading innovative junior school with its roof-top playground and slide combines with a rich and long history, so too does a commitment to tradition and the energy to explore culminate in a best of both worlds approach to education.

“We’re very much about the balance of the traditional rigour of academia, but equally, we’ve got an eye on the exponentially changing world that the children are going to need to thrive in,” Cathedral Grammar Principal Scott Thelning explains. “A big part of that is creativity. We want to move away from our children being passive receivers of information, and instead become critical thinkers, analysers, creators and collaborators.”

This understanding and reverence of the school’s history is captured in the catchphrase, ‘Aspiring since 1881’. ‘Aspiring’ speaks of the innovative future focus; ‘Since 1881’ denotes the long and illustrious history that underpins everything the school does.
The unique structure, which includes a play-based Pre-School, a co-ed Junior School and for Years 4-8, a Boys’ and Girls’ School, enables Cathedral Grammar to meet the unique needs of girls and boys while giving them the opportunity to work together.


The Cathedral Grammar School


Students here learn from the best. Every year level benefits from the expertise of high-calibre specialist teachers across multiple subjects and with plenty of individual attention, every child’s strengths are identified and built on, with support provided where and when needed.

One of the school’s greatest strengths is that it is a really tight, welcoming and warm community, and that comprises not just staff and students, but also the parent community too. “We promise our parents that we will nurture, know and grow their children because we want to make sure that our school is about the heart as well as the head,” Thelning says.

“We want them to be able to leave our school being strong learners, but they are gritty, they’ve got resilience, they’ve got strength and great friendships.” Open Day is on Thursday 7 March with the Principal’s address at 9:30am.


To book a personalised tour contact the registrar, Lydia Hemingway on 03 365 0385 or register online at


Scott Thelning Principal of The Cathedral Grammar School

Meet the Principal 2018: Scott Thelning of The Cathedral Grammar School

Scott Thelning Principal of The Cathedral Grammar School
Scott Thelning Principal of The Cathedral Grammar School

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started and at The Cathedral Grammar School we aim to make that start something extraordinary for your child. Balancing our traditional Christian values with an energy to look forward, our students’ path to excellence begins here. Supported and encouraged by a culture of nurturing, knowing and growing, our students advance on their educational journeys with a solid foundation of academic success and a well-rounded character based on our Anglican character.”

The Cathedral Grammar School is an independent school providing high-quality education for pre-school, primary school and intermediate aged girls and boys.
This is a place of ambition alongside preparation where students learn from the best right from the start. Every year level benefits from the expertise of our high-calibre specialist teachers across multiple subjects. And small class sizes mean a lot of individual attention, ensuring every child’s strengths are identified and built on, with support provided where and when needed.

The Cathedral Grammar School The school structure is unique and designed to ensure students have the opportunity to make the most of their formative school years. The school understands learning happens in different ways at different ages; its students work in both co-educational and single-sex learning environments at times when this best suits their learning journey. In Pre-School and the Junior School, children learn in a co-educational environment. Students in Years 4 to 8 attend either the Boys’ or Girls’ School. Allowing students the best of both worlds, single sex classes offer the opportunity to target and deliver the curriculum in the most effective and interesting style possible, while social skills are developed by sharing mixed-environment break times, specialist classes and activities.
Creativity and culture play a big role here with four choirs and hundreds of individual music, speech and drama lessons every week. It’s also a proud sporting school, providing students with the facilities and encouragement to try their hand at a range of sports and recreation activities.
Ultimately, The Cathedral Grammar School is committed to providing a balance of tradition and rigour, while being curious and adventurous every day. The Cathedral Grammar School – aspiring since 1881.