Our Teachers

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Big Lumsden

Maggie Seton

B.Ed. Dip Tch.; centre director

Maggie saw the need for a nurturing yet stimulating childcare centre that afforded little people the opportunity to learn big things, and so Lumsden Kindergarten was born. Since its founding, Maggie has surrounded herself with talented, passionate and highly qualified teachers who share her vision of opening children’s eyes to the world, the arts, languages and education without compromising the caring, calm and loving approach that meets each child’s needs while away from home.

Email: maggie@lumsdenkindergarten.co.nz

Rakelle Ru Bay

B.Ed. Dip Tch.; centre manager

Nothing escapes Rakelle when it comes to the smooth running of the centre, from honing its policies and procedures to leading staff appraisals so that the best can be gained from the team, to identifying the individual talents and needs of each tamariki at Lumsden. Drawing on her specialist study, passion for learning and great patience, Rakelle works with our older tamariki teaching numeracy and literacy in School Group, preparing our four-year-olds for the challenges that await them at school. She is proactive in her use of Te Reo Maori and is active within Havelock North’s Community of Learning, working alongside other educational institutes to help learners achieve their full potential.

Email: rakelle@lumsdenkindergarten.co.nz

Jenna Suckling

B.Ed. Dip Tch.; Big Lumsden team leader

Jenna is Big Lumsden’s committed, organised and highly respected team leader who has experience working with all age groups but is particularly passionate about the difference she can make at the three and four-year-old level. She initiates complex learning experiences to the great benefit of our oldest children, challenging them to extend their capabilities and produce amazing results. Jenna coordinates her extraordinary team of teachers to great effect, and has established long-standing relationships with parents and whanau, regularly encouraging families to visit at mat time to share their skills and experiences when pertinent to topic studies.

Email: jenna@lumsdenkindergarten.co.nz

Amy Greaves

BVAD; specialist art teacher

Amy combines her love of working with children and honed skills in art and design to bring life and colour to the art room at Lumsden. As our specialist tertiary-qualified art teacher, Amy leads the artistic endeavours at both Big and Little Lumsden, employing her skills in Maori, Pacific and indigenous art, screen-printing, self-portraiture and more to great effect and learning benefit. Tamariki flock to Amy’s creative and specifically-designed art space at all times of the day, eager to express their moods, dreams and aspirations using an array of colour, paint, modelling and collage.

Email: amy@lumsdenkindergarten.co.nz

Kirsty White

B.Ed. Dip Tch.; specialist outdoor teacher

Kirsty heads up the action in Big Lumsden’s great outdoors, with a collective of enthusiastic adventurers following in her footsteps come rain, hail or shine. Tamariki are drawn to her vibrant yet nurturing personality as she embraces the outdoor and active world, encouraging them to get messy and experience nature and its elements, gumboots and all. Kirsty acknowledges how essential active movement and healthy outdoor experiences are in a child’s daily life; drawing on her specialist training in this area, she tenderly encourages tamariki of all capabilities to explore and challenge their physicalities and coordination, helping them get school-ready and prepared for academic learning.

Email: kirsty@lumsdenkindergarten.co.nz

Tanja Whyte

Degree in Early Childhood Teaching from Germany; specialist language teacher

Native German Tanja is our specialist language teacher and is integral to the countries of the world studies that comprise a fascinating element of Lumsden’s topic studies curriculum. She takes great care coordinating the studies, provoking children’s interest in foreign cultures, languages and geographic differences, making their learning relevant through song, literacy and numeracy, interactive games and puzzles. Tanja brings Europe to life at the centre speaking and singing in German to the tamariki, and she exudes patience and tolerance helping them master foreign concepts as she opens their eyes to world outside of Lumsden.

Email: tanja@lumsdenkindergarten.co.nz

Lucy Chen

B.Ed. in ECE from Tainan University of Technology; specialist language teacher

Tamariki gravitate to our gentle Lucy, whether she is working with our babies in the nursery or our four-year-olds at Big Lumsden. As our very own Mandarin-speaking teacher, Lucy can be heard greeting, singing rhymes, counting and naming colours in her native tongue – effortlessly entertaining and educating the children simultaneously in this universal language as they repeat her phrases and sing along. Lucy is softly spoken, compassionate and tender, and works well with small groups of tamariki igniting creativity and investigations of the world around them.

Email: lucy@lumsdenkindergarten.co.nz

Little Lumsden

Juanita Taurerewa

Dip Tch.; Little Lumsden team leader
Nga Puhi, Ngati Whatua

Juanita leads the talented team at Little Lumsden nurturing and caring for our youngest tamariki without compromise. She has a wealth of experience working with preschoolers, producing great results with her gentle, patient and tireless manner. She is highly respected throughout the centre, drawing incredible results from her dedicated team and building long-standing relationships with all of Lumsden’s families. As a curriculum lead, Juanita is proactive in her use of Te Reo Maori and helps design and coordinate the programmes carried out at Little and Big Lumsden to promote and stimulate our children’s learning experiences, making them relevant to modern day New Zealand. Juanita guides all kaiako on Maori protocols and supports them in their work on Educa, guiding and advising their in-depth, insightful reporting on children’s significant learning and developmental achievements.

Email: juanita@lumsdenkindergarten.co.nz

Geet Deol

B.Ed. Dip Tch., M.Sc (Mathematics), MA (Education), DELF(A2) French; specialist ready-to-run teacher

Geet is our extraordinary mathematician who simplifies numeracy so as to easily incorporate it into the everyday care and education of a toddler at Little Lumsden, proving the two can, and should, go hand-in-hand. She is passionate about working with young children, firmly believing that is where the learning process begins, and her calm, sensitive nature perfectly complements our two-year-olds’ burgeoning independence and self-help skills. Geet speaks five languages and can be heard speaking Punjabi to the tamariki, sparking their interest and participation with tender songs and phrases in her native tongue.

Email: geet@lumsdenkindergarten.co.nz

Chelsea Agnew

B.Ed. Dip Tch.; specialist nursery teacher

Chelsea is a star attraction in our nursery, captivating both babies and families from first meeting and ensuring the transition from home to Lumsden is as sensitive and reassuring as possible. She brings valuable industry and personal experience as well as energy and vitality to the Little Lumsden team, expressing particular passion for music in the everyday care of children having developed a specific programme for exploration in the nursery. Chelsea embodies our philosophy in her tender care for and teaching of our youngest tamariki, drawing on her formal ECE training and her years spent working as a private nanny in London.

Email: chelsea@lumsdenkindergarten.co.nz

Charlotte Breene

BHSc., post-grad Dip. Tch; specialist nursery teacher

Charlotte is a huge advocate for good health and mental well-being as well as a lover of nature and all things organic. As such, she brings a resounding calmness and wholesomeness to the nursery, with our tamariki responding delightfully to her harmonious and unrushed manner. Charlotte is a sustainability enthusiast, and takes every opportunity to instill the importance of nature and respect and care for the earth at Lumsden, encouraging budding environmentalists from a young age.

Email: charlotte@lumsdenkindergarten.co.nz

Christina Croad

BA., Dip. Tch. (ECE and Primary), Graduate Certificate in Children’s Literature; specialist nursery teacher.

Christina is passionate about the study, care and education of young tamariki and strives to remain current with research and issues surrounding their development and learning. She is a valued team member at Little Lumsden, sharing her knowledge and discoveries to ensure each kaiako remains relevant on current theories and good practice. Christina imbues a quiet calmness, sensitively settling our babies into the nursery environment with her nurturing presence. She is respectful of each baby’s differing needs and patiently responds to their individual cues, following their leads for meal times, rest and play while understanding the importance of an age-appropriate routine. Christina’s wealth of expertise includes training and experience in the primary education and ECE sectors, five years working in the United States, two years in Belgium, as well as knowledge of French and Te Reo Maori.

Email: christina@lumsdenkindergarten.co.nz

Lauren McNiece

B.Ed.; specialist nursery teacher

Lauren is a specialist baby teacher, experienced in caring for and nurturing young infants with an emotionally warm and reassuring approach. Lauren believes it is vital to create a sense of belonging and security for each baby and works with parents to ensure a smooth transition from home to Lumsden.

Email: lauren@lumsdenkindergarten.co.nz

Tori Cowan-Smith

ECE teacher-in-training at EIT Hawke’s Bay, second-year student

Nearing the end of her second year of study, Tori is our amazing EIT student who is a natural with preschool children – they are drawn to her lively, sunny disposition. Her diligence, youthful enthusiasm and thirst for experience makes her a valued member of the team who can move between the two sides of the centre. Tori realises the importance of maximising a child’s first learning years and values the results high-quality early childhood education achieves, making her a perfect fit for our Lumsden ethos. A social media guru, Tori effortlessly captures the wonders that occur at Lumsden each day and shares them instantly with families and friends on Instagram.

Email: tori@lumsdenkindergarten.co.nz

Support Staff

Paige Paewai

ECE teacher-in-training at Te Rito Maioha, first-year student; resource support

Paige is our indispensable Girl Friday, working across both Little and Big Lumsden and always drawing a fan club of little people in her wake. She prepares the morning and afternoon teas with the help of eager little kitchen hands, manages the centre’s laundry, and assists kaiako with their contact and non-contact duties. An experienced nanny already and bolstered by her colleagues’ encouragement and expertise, Paige is completing her formal ECE training while living and breathing practical work experience at Lumsden every day.

Email: paige@lumsdenkindergarten.co.nz

Tammy Pierce

Resource support
Nga Puhi, Ngati Whatua

Equally fundamental to the smooth running of our centre, Tammy diligently carries at our kitchen and laundry duties and provides vital support to our team during their contact and non-contact hours. She works easily and effortlessly during the busy middle hours of each day, speaking in Te Reo Maori with the children and involving them where appropriate.

Email: tammy@lumsdenkindergarten.co.nz

Talisa Stanton 

NCEA Level 3 Early Childhood Education and Care; office administrator and relief teacher

Talisa’s accurate and diligent book-keeping and admin skills make our families’ lives a breeze at Lumsden as she assists with enrolments, accounts, WINZ applications and absences quickly and efficiently. Talisa can be contacted at the Lumsden office every Monday and Tuesday from 8 am until 4 pm, and also every other Friday morning.

Email: talisa@lumsdenkindergarten.co.nz

Specialist Consultants

Sally Cawston

Certified child and baby sleep consultant; SCsleepconsultant

Sally works closely with the team at Little Lumsden to ensure optimal age-appropriate routines and nap times are in place to benefit the health and well-being of babies and toddlers spending busy days away from home. Under her guidance, Lumsden has attuned its sleep environment to provide the most sleep-conducive setting for even the lightest of sleepers. She is passionate about working with families to encourage positive, healthy sleep associations for young children, making the most of their biological sleep windows and hormones and ensuring a well-balanced diet as well as a positive, healthy attitude towards sleep. Sally is available to work privately with our families. www.facebook.com/SCsleepconsultant

Email: sallycawstonsc@gmail.com

All of the staff have touched Danyon in a special way. There is no one person we can pinpoint who has been better than any other. You are all fantastic, caring and professional, a truly dedicated team of teaching staff.

Wayne and Julia Dohmen
Parents of Danyon

The use of drama, music, dance and role playing are wonderfully evident, interactions that promote and support the development of oral language and creative thinking. The teaching and learning practices that I have witnessed contribute to positive learning outcomes for the children.

Barbara Jenks
Grandmother of Tilly