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

Christina Croad

BA., Dip. Tch. (ECE and Primary), Graduate Certificate in Children’s Literature; specialist art 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 Big Lumsden, sharing her knowledge and discoveries to ensure each kaiako remains relevant on current theories and good practice. Christina imbues a quiet calmness in the custom-built art room, sensitively encouraging and nurturing each child’s creative skills and expression of themselves. She is respectful of each child’s differing wants and needs, following their leads rather than imposing artistic boundaries. 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

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. She encourages families to visit and share their knowledge and experiences when relevant to the topic, taking learning beyond Lumsden’s walls and into the home. 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 at large. Her extracurricular German language classes each Saturday have proved a bit hit.

Email: tanja@lumsdenkindergarten.co.nz

Brittney Lorck

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

Brittney is our diligent, highly motivated and creative student teacher at Big Lumsden whose enthusiasm for fitness, the outdoors and embracing opportunities combine to make an inspiring role model for our older children. She completed a GAP year in Australia before committing to her teacher training, where she worked as an international assistant at Timbertop, Geelong Grammar School’s academic and outdoor education facility based in the Victorian Alps. Brittney has already amassed little fans thanks to her vibrant personality and energy both in the art room and outside amidst the active movement challenges. 

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

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

Dayna Tucker

B.Ed; specialist nursery teacher

Dayna recently moved to Hawke’s Bay from Keri Keri. Her vast experience working with infants and preschoolers is evident in Lumsden’s nursery, where she calmly cares for our youngest children with tenderness and compassion.

Email: dayna@lumsdenkindergarten.co.nz

Sam Osborne

B.Ed. Dip Tch.; specialist ready-to-run teacher

Sam is especially passionate about engaging with our ready-to-run toddlers, exploring their burgeoning physical and learning capabilities as well as developing their social and emotional competencies. She has an art for setting up amazing provocations for this age group, sparked by the children’s own interests and creations. Sam has a talent for showcasing the children’s learning and work in eye-catching displays, and families and children cherish the whanau books she cultivates to enhance each child’s sense of identity and belonging. Te Tiriti o Waitangi and our country’s history and identity hold great importance for Sam, who aligns her teaching alongside the principles of this document and supports other members of staff in doing the same.

Email: sam@lumsdenkindergarten.co.nz


Degree in Preschool Education from Soria, Spain; specialist ready-to-run teacher

Spanish-born teacher Laura boosts our ready-to-run room with her comprehensive ECE experience, as well as Lumsden’s foreign language capabilities. Laura’s fluent Spanish skills provoke interest and fascination among our toddlers and will serve to strengthen Lumsden’s COTW studies, which open our little people’s minds to the big wonders of the world. Laura is passionate about the Montessori philosophy and sets up valuable learning provocations that both spark and extend the children’s interests.

Email: laura@lumsdenkindergarten.co.nz

Jess Gurney

Dip Tch., staff support teacher

Jess provides invaluable support to the Little Lumsden team, drawing on her formal training and workplace experience as well as practical skills of mothering four children of her own. She is effortlessly nurturing, caring, patient and loving with each child and is adored centre-wide. Jess works in the middle hours of the day to best support teachers at the busiest periods of children’s meal times and naps, and can be found on occasion supporting staff at Big Lumsden also.

Tori Cowan-Smith

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

Now in her third 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 TRT hours. She is composed and patient during the busy middle hours of each day, always making time for the tamariki, speaking with them in Te Reo Maori 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: office@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