Our Team

Early Childhood Education Infant And Toddler Care Specialists

 

Nikki – Owner Director

Hi I’m Nikki, the proud owner and hands on operator here at Kidstown. You will see me around the Centre assisting the staff on a daily basis.

20 years in the workforce has seen me move from early teaching roles to programme management and business development roles. I hold a BSc and PhD in applied science and a graduate Diploma in Education from Auckland University. I have 4 wonderful children, who have finished their education and have recently returned from working overseas.

I believe that quality early education plays an important role in preparing young children for the first few years of school. If you encourage children to get involved, explore their world, persist with challenges and communicate clearly with others. they will develop a belief in themselves, a love of learning and the courage needed to take the next steps forward.

 
Emma – Centre Manager

Kia ora, Ko Emma Goodwin tōku ingoa. No Tāmaki Makaurau ahau.

I completed a BA/BTeach (ECE) in 2013 from Victoria University of Wellington and have been working in Early Childhood Education ever since. I have experience teaching in both New Zealand and overseas settings and have a passion for working alongside kaiako as we promote high quality learning outcomes for ākonga. 

I joined the Kidstown whānau in 2020 as Centre Manager. I am thrilled to be working alongside a group of unique tamariki, whānau and kaiako, who each contribute their rich kete of dispositions, capabilities, strengths, interests and cultures. Respectful and reciprocal relationships form the foundation of my teaching philosophy. I endeavour to work in an authentic partnership with all members of our learning community so please feel free to come and see me at any time.

 

Teresa – Lead Teacher Kiwi – Toddlers Room

Kia Ora, I’m Teresa and I’m excited to now be a part of the Kidstown Team in the Kiwi Room.  I changed careers from one in Accounting to becoming a teacher after having my daughter and volunteering at her Kindergarten.  I have been teaching since 2012 and completed my Bachelor of Education (ECE) in 2013. I am a fully registered early childhood teacher. I love working alongside children and get inspired by their willingness to learn.  I’m excited to be working in the Kidstown environment where children are encouraged to explore, communicate and contribute to their learning.  The Kidstown philosophy also aligns closely with my own where we connect with our local community, show care and empathy for animals and our environment and most importantly develop strong relationships with children and their families. I have one daughter who is 13 and has just started at College.  I look forward to getting to know all the children at Kidstown, and working closely with the children, parents and whanau in the Kiwi Room. 

Morgan – Lead Teacher (currently on maternity leave) 

My name is Morgan Schaeffer and I’m from the United States. I moved to New Zealand in July of 2010. I was not sure how I would like living across the world from my family and friends, however I absolutely fell in love with New Zealand and have no plans to return to the US any time soon. 

I have completed my Bachelors of Teaching at NZTC and have been working in Early Childhood Education for 3 years. I’m really excited to be working here at Kidstown and looking forward to getting to know all of you and your children. 

One of my main passions is health and fitness. I have always been involved in sports as a child which include gymnastics, dance and horseback riding to name a few. My current passion is CrossFit and I’ve been doing this for 9 years now. Before I was an ECE teacher, I was a CrossFit Coach for 5 years.

Besides coaching adults, I’ve also worked with kids and teens from the ages of 5 – 17, helping them with their nutrition and fitness. I love helping the younger generation become active and making sure they are having fun doing so alongside teaching them the benefits of eating healthy foods.

Briana – Lead Teacher Pukeko Pre-school Room

Kia ora everyone, my name’s Briana and I’m very excited to be working at Kidstown in the Kiwi Room! After completing my Bachelor of Arts (Psychology and French) in 2013, I spent 7 months in France teaching English in French Primary Schools. It was a very rewarding experience and this is where I developed my passion for working with children. I returned to New Zealand to explore working in Early Childhood Education and have never looked back. I completed my Graduate Diploma of Teaching (ECE) in 2016 at the University of Waikato and am now a fully qualified registered teacher. After completing my diploma, I made the decision to move back across to the other side of the world and I have just returned to New Zealand after spending two years teaching in London. I have a love for travelling and discovering new cultures and languages and am excited to keep exploring this at Kidstown with the diverse range of cultures and languages within our families I believe in providing children with an environment where they have the ability to explore their own interests and abilities and feel a strong sense of belonging. I enjoy celebrating the child as an individual with all the knowledge and culture they bring with them. Developing strong and positive relationships with both the children and their whanau is very important to me.

Emma – Lead Teacher Under 2 

Kia ora, I’m Emma and I have been teaching since 2013. I completed my Bachelor of Education (ECE) at Auckland University and I am a fully registered teacher. I’m passionate about working with infants and toddlers and I believe that respectful, caring and trusting relationships are at the heart of successful education especially with this age group. I value all meaningful relationships that a child is a part of, connections with family, other children, teachers, the environment and the community. I believe as teachers we have the responsibility to help children build foundations through play based learning, to assist them not only in their time in early childhood education but also in life as well rounded contributors to society. This includes valuing learning dispositions such as empathy, perseverance, taking an interest, collaboration, imagination and observation. In my spare time I enjoy relaxing with family and friends, reading, going for walks and exploring new places.

 
Chloe

My name is Chloé. I am originally from France and arrived in beautiful Aotearoa New-Zealand in 2011. NZ is now my 2nd home, and I live here my wee boy Valentino. After a few years working in hospitality and perfecting my English (still learning new words every day!), I decided to follow my true passion and started working with children. I completed a Graduate Diploma in Teaching ECE with the University of Auckland in 2016 to finally join the Kidstown family! As an early childhood teacher, I feel it is a privilege to be helping the very young children to grow and become themselves, and to develop the dispositions, knowledge and skills that will help them to be successful in this exciting journey. Play is a fantastic motor for children’s learning, and they should be able to follow where their interest lies and be free to investigate what makes them ‘spark’; they become curious, playful, motivated, are willing to take risks, and most importantly develop a love of learning. The arts have always been part of my life, I have a Bachelor in Art History and Archaeology from France, and I love sharing that passion with children doing music, visual arts, and dance.

Kerryn

Hi I’m Kerryn I’m a fully registered teacher and I completed my Montessori Teaching Diploma in London before returning to New Zealand, where I then completed my Bachelor of Education Early Childhood Education specialising in Montessori. I am married and have 2 children, a 12 year old daughter and 10 year old son. I have worked as a nanny in both London and New Zealand and have also worked in two different Montessori Preschools for 6 years prior to joining the Kidstown Team. I am a caring, enthusiastic teacher and love working alongside children of all ages. I believe all children deserve the right to live a happy successful and fulfilled life, where all their physical, mental, social and spiritual needs are met, supported and extended. I am looking forward to getting to know all of the children and their families better and being an integral part of your child’s development and education.

 
Shelby (currently on maternity leave)

Kia Ora my name is Shelby and I’m excited to be a part of the Kidstown Team in the Over 2 Room.

I have been teaching since 2014 and completed my Bachelor of Education (Teaching) in 2013. I am a fully registered early childhood teacher. 

I have a passion for working alongside children and get inspired by the ways in which they learn. The Kidstown philosophy aligns closely with my own where we connect with our local community, show care and empathy for animals and our environment and most importantly develop strong relationships with children and their families.

I’m excited to be working in the Kidstown environment where children are encouraged to explore, communicate and contribute to their learning. I look forward to working closely with the children, parents and Whanau and team at Kidstown. I have a passion for art, the natural environment, keeping fit and travel.

Ella

Kia ora, My name is Ella. After growing up in Lake Taupo my whole life, I moved to Auckland and gained my Bachelor of Arts degree in Event Management where I worked in the sporting Event industry for 5 years. This gave me the opportunity to travel internationally whilst working. I then decided to do my Post Graduate Diploma in teaching (Primary) where at the end of my studies in 2021 I decided to make the change over into teaching Early Childhood. 

I adore working with children, building strong positive relationships, laughing and exploring different environments together. I look forward to getting to know all of the whanau and working alongside our amazing team to grow and shape our gorgeous little tamariki.I am so excited to be welcomed into the Kidstown family and I am thrilled to be working in the Kiwi room. In my spare time I love all things outdoors whether it is hiking, camping, mountain biking, swimming or planning my next travel adventure!

Kerry

Kia ora everyone. 你好(hello in Chinese). My name is Kerry and I’m excited to be part of the Kidstown family and to be a teacher in the Pukeko room. I come from China, Guangzhou and speak Mandarin, Cantonese and English. I studied in New Zealand, completing my Bachelor of Education (ECE teaching) degree in Auckland in 2018. I also specialise in Montessori curriculum.

I enjoy working with the children, sharing ideas, laughing and building positive relationship with children. I strongly believe that teacher can create an environment which aim to support each child’s unique development of becoming a capable, confident, respectful, responsible and creative learner.  I would love to support our families and empower the Pukeko children by providing quality and premium educational adventure in a safe, caring environment. I consider myself to be a bubbly fun-loving and positive person. I love swimming, yoga, hiking and I enjoy travelling and exploring different places and cultures.

Yvonne

Kia ora, my name is Yvonne and I was born in Taiwan but moved to Auckland when I was young, so New Zealand has been my home for the past 24 years. I have always loved children, even from a young age. Although I wasn’t sure about what I wanted to study at the end of highschool, now I can’t imagine being anything else but an early childhood teacher. I completed my Bachelor of Education (ECE) with honours in 2014 and have been working with children since then. My passion lies with working alongside infants and toddlers. I love seeing the wonder in their eyes as they discover and explore their surroundings, and the joy and laughter on their faces from even the smallest things. One of my favourite quotes is from Helen Keller, who said “The best and most beautiful things cannot be heard or seen, it must be felt by the heart”. I believe in fostering and building strong relationships with children because the relationships they build in the first 3 years of their life lays the foundation for all future relationships. I’m  looking forward to getting to know all of the children and whanau at Kidstown.

 

Hannah

Kia ora Kidstown whānau, 

My name is Hannah. I’m thrilled to be part of the Kidstown family  and excited to work with the team here to provide the best care for your child.  

When finishing high school I was unsure of what to do next, and I ended up completing my certificate of Applied Theology before heading out into the workforce. Completely by chance, I found myself at an early childhood centre in Onehunga. It did not take long for me to develop a love for education within the early years and two years later I found myself enrolling at the University of Auckland to complete my degree in Early Childhood Education. 

I feel honoured to be able to serve our community through this role, I love working alongside others to encourage and grow our tamariki. I am passionate about advocating for children and coming alongside whānau and their aspirations for their tamariki. I love working in the outdoors, encouraging exploration, and enhancing a sense of wonder for our outdoors.

 
Jordan

Kia ora Kidstown whānau.  I’m Jordan and I am excited to be working at Kidstown. I have a Bachelor of Sport and Recreation and graduated in 2019. This led me to coaching sports in primary schools. From coaching I realised that I am passionate about working with children and supporting them to grow and develop. In 2021 I completed the Graduate Diploma in ECE at the University of Auckland. I believe in providing children with a warm, safe, inclusive and positive environment for them to explore the environment and themselves. The Kidstown philosophy also aligns well with my own where the natural environment is valued and plays an important part in the curriculum. I love the fact that the children get regular opportunities to explore the local natural environment and community and build connections with it. This also enables children to take part in physical activity and contributes to providing children with a broad range of learning experiences.

I enjoy working with children as I find it both rewarding and challenging and it gives me a sense of achievement when they are enjoying what they are learning.  In my spare time I like to spend time with my friends and family, bake and go on adventures.  I look forward to getting to know all the unique dispositions and interests of the children at Kidstown, their parents and whānau.

 
Jamahlia

Kia ora, I’m Jamahlia and I am a NZ registered teacher, after completing a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and History and a Graduate Diploma in Teaching in 2020.

My passion for education comes from all the wonderful women in my family who worked across early childhood, primary, and secondary education as I was growing up. 

My practicum experiences at university led to my passion for infant and toddler contexts. I absolutely love watching young tamariki discovering new wonders every day. I also strongly believe strong relationships and play is essential in children’s learning. 

I have a love for all aspects of nature. In my spare time I love cooking and exploring new food places.  I’m also a passionate follower of NBA basketball. I look forward to getting to know everyone in the Kidstown whānau in 2021 and beyond!

Kat

Kia ora, I’m Kat, I was born in Canada but have been living in beautiful Aotearoa/New Zealand for 21 years now. I come from a big family and have 4 sisters and 3 brothers. Family is very important to me and a big part of my life. 

I used to work at Kidstown three years ago but I moved to Timaru to be with my husband and study my bachelors degree of teaching (ECE). I am now a qualified teacher and am lucky enough to be a teacher in the Pukeko room. 

I have a passion for teaching and seeing young tamariki reach their full potential and to know that they are always safe and secure within their learning environment. I am bubbly, outgoing and always up for a laugh.

In my spare time I am with my family and friends. I love being creative and going on adventures with my husband.

 
Amelia

Kia ora, I’m Amelia and I enjoy being part of the Kidstown whanau.  I’ve been working with children for the past 15 years as a nanny both in New Zealand and in Australia. I have also worked as an in home educator through Porse and most recently I’ve been a relief teacher for Kindy Relievers.  In October 2018, I completed my Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care in Melbourne. My passions are arts and crafts, spending time outside, exploring our beautiful country travelling, cooking and spending time with my family. I have 2 children, a daughter, who is 11 and a son who’s 15. I thoroughly enjoy working with children of all age groups and find my career very rewarding. I enjoy watching children learn and grow and helping to guide them, as and when needed, with their learning and development. I enjoy to getting to know all the families and building respectful and positive relationships with you all.

Miharo

Ko Putauāki te maunga

Ko Rangitaiki te awa

Ko Mataatua te Waka

Ko Ngāti Awa te iwi

Tihei Mauri ora!

Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou katoa, ko Miharo Sisley-Tihema ahau, he uri tēnei nō Ngāti Awa, Ngai Tūhoe me Ngāti Pikiao. Greetings to you all, my name is Miharo Sisley-Tihema and I am a descendant of the three tribes, Ngāti Awa, Ngai Tūhoe and Ngāti Pikiao. I am currently studying Te Tohu Paetahi Ako (Bachelor of Education) under Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi and am in my last year of being a student before I become a fully qualified teacher.  My parents raised my siblings and I in the heart of Te Urewera where we grew up hunting and riding horses. The ngāhere (forest) was our playground. I finished high school in 2016 and was enlisted to the Royal New Zealand Navy in 2017. I served for two and a half years and began my teaching degree in 2020.

I feel very honored to have been given the opportunity to give back to our community by nurturing the children here at Kidstown. I look forward to experiencing the new setting and encouraging our tamariki and pēpi to flourish into who they are! Ngā rangatira o āpōpō! (Our leaders of tomorrow) 

Tauaki te tū, taiki te rere, Ōkōrero kia mau!  Stand tall like our mountain Putauaki, flow towards your dreams and aspirations like the Rangitaiki river, and when you reach your goals, create a new one!

Heshala

Hi, I’m Heshala Seneviratne and I’m from Sri Lanka. I moved to Auckland with my family for my husband’s higher education. I am a proud mother to two gorgeous children, who mean the world to me and who keep me on my toes.  I was a practicing lawyer in Sri Lanka but have now changed my profession to early childhood. The change took place when I received an exciting job opportunity as a Kumon Teacher in New Zealand which gave me the opportunity, experience and confidence to work with children. Thereafter I began my new career initially as a relief teacher,  gaining experiences in a variety of Centres around Auckland. During this time I had the wonderful opportunity to work as a reliever at Kidstown and I’m now enjoying my time here working in the Kiwi room with my Kidstown family. My philosophy is to be fair, responsible and respectful to every single person, big or small. I am very passionate about working with children and have found it very rewarding to be a part of children’s development and see their responses to the encouragement I give them. I enjoy working here because of the sincere smiles I receive from the children that encourage me to become a better person and offer my best to them.  In my spare time I enjoy cooking, gardening and travelling with my loving family.

 

Yukari

Kia ora and konnichiwa, Kidstown whanau!

My name is Yukari Yoshimura and I’m from Osaka, Japan. I graduated from Nara University, in 2015, with a Bachelor Degree in Teaching, majoring in Primary Education and English Teaching at both Junior High and High School levels. I then participated in an exchange program with Heidelberg University in Germany for a year. This gave me the opportunity to teach Japanese to primary school students in Aalen.

My passion for education was passed down from my parents, who were both primary school teachers. As a primary school teacher in Japan, I taught maths and worked directly with children with special needs. I arrived in New Zealand in 2019 for cultural experiences and to further improve my English language skills.

The opportunity to work at Kidstown is truly exciting. Kidstown has an inspiring atmosphere where both professionals and community members share ideas, values and experiences. Children can only benefit from such a positive environment, which enables them to reach their full potential as individuals.  Activities I enjoy include drawing, making crafts and singing. I also enjoy growing plants, cooking and baking, making fermented food (miso, kimchi, sourdough etc.), practicing yoga and walking.

 

Valentina

Hola Kidstown whānau! My name is Valentina and I am originally from Chile, but Aotearoa has been my home for the last 14 years. I am so excited to be a part of this awesome Kidstown community.

I have a Bachelor’s degree in French and Anthropology and I am currently studying social work at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa. 

I am passionate about children and love witnessing their curiosity and imagination. It is a privilege to grow alongside them as they constantly remind me to slow down and see the beauty in all things. In my spare time I love spending time with my friends and family, travelling, reading, and making jewellery.

Antonella (Nelly)

Kia ora Kidstown whānau! 

My name is Antonella (but most people call me Nelly). I’m from Chile and have been living in New Zealand since July 2019. I completed my Bachelor of Education and a degree as a Junior High School EFL teacher in Chile in 2018.

I have been teaching since I was in my 2nd year of university, helping students through academic assistantships and I also had the opportunity to work in a primary school in Chile during 2019.

When I came to New Zealand, I decided to expand my horizons and I tried doing other jobs like in the hospitality sector and factories but after a while I realised that I missed teaching very much because there’s nothing more rewarding than seeing your students happy while exploring and learning new things every day. That’s why I decided to join the Kidstown family because I’d like to get more experience working with younger children in a multicultural environment.

The Kidstown philosophy of showing care for animals and the environment aligns with my own. In my spare time I love travelling, going out with friends, singing karaoke, making crafts and roller skating.

Michelle

Kidstown’s Master Chef Kia ora my name is Michelle and I’m originally from Ireland where I developed my love for cooking alongside my gorgeous grandma. I hold a level 4 qualification in culinary delights.  I love working with children and you will find me playing alongside them every afternoon when the cooking is finished.   I am a firm believer of you are what you eat. Feed your body with good food and your mind will be fed with good thoughts.