Our Team – Facilitators & Associates

Tō Mātou Rōpū – Ngā Kaitautoko me ngā Hoa

Ki ngā whakaeke haumi

Bring together those who can join the sections of a canoe – which is meant remind us to grow leaders who can bring diverse ideas together.

Wendy Lee

Professional Learning Facilitator

Wendy believes that at the heart of teaching are relationships. Te Whāriki states this as a central principle and goes on to describe, within Ngā Hononga (Relationships), the following: ‘Adults provide encouragement, warmth, and acceptance. They also provide challenges for creative and complex learning and thinking, helping children to extend their ideas and actions through sensitive, informed, well-judged interventions and support….

Maria Sydney

Pouako whakaako

Having spent most of my childhood growing up on my papa kainga and near the moana, I have very fond memories of my whānau coming together, singing waiata, eating kaimoana, te reo Māori being spoken and celebrated, exploring te taiao and the gifts from Papatūānuku to my heart’s content. These integral experiences of connectedness as an ākonga have shaped who I am as a kaiako. Today those experiences are the pou supporting my foundations from which I view and interact with my world and the people I meet along the way…..

Roberta Skeoch

Pouako whakaako

My early childhood journey began 25 years ago like many others, when I enrolled my eldest child in Te Kohanga Reo and realised the incredibly complex learning and development taking place at this age. This revelation inspired me to change tact in my studies and I enrolled and completed the Diploma of ECE at Waiariki Polytech.  Transitioning from study to mahi, I was fortunate to find myself in the company of some wonderfully wise kaiako who modelled kindness, professionalism and strong practice. These formative experiences laid a strong foundation for my teaching philosophy.

Rebecca Kingston

Professional Learning Facilitator

My journey in education started over 22 years ago studying psychology and then teaching at the University of Waikato. Following this I secured my first job as an Intermediate School teacher in South Auckland. This was where I soon discovered my desire even as a Beginning Teacher to lead others and bring heart and soul into teaching and education. Here my love for diversity and working through adversity was planted.


Lorraine Sands

Professional Learning Facilitator

Lorraine has worked for ELP with teachers across all diverse settings in Aotearoa New Zealand since 2001. During this time she has drawn on her work at Greerton Early Childhood to support teachers to build learning cultures that enable each and every child to thrive as they begin to develop their learning identities. Lorraine has thought deeply about how current theory and research might be integrated into children’s, families’ and teachers’ learning lives in natural ways, that enable children’s learning identities to flourish….

Emma Parangi

Pouako whakaako

I am a teacher and a learner. I live in Onehunga on the ancestral lands of Ngāti Whātua. I am currently a leader in the Our Kids learning communities of Onehunga and Glen Eden.

I have 13 years teaching experience and have led the integration and expansion of Te Ao Māori in every one of my workplaces in that time. I am currently the Centre Manager for Our Kids Glen Eden and Onehunga. I have designed and taught professional development relating to te reo Māori me ōna tikanga, pūrākau (ancestral storytelling, oral transfer of knowledge), mātauranga tātai arorangi (Māori astronomical knowledge) and anti-bias training.

Catalina Thompson

Professional Learning Facilitator

I have a Bachelor of Teacher and a Postgraduate Certificate in Early Years and Primary from London Metropolitan University. Although my professional career started in England, in primary education, it is the early childhood that has given true meaning to my professional identity. For the past eight years, Greerton Early Learning Centre has been my ‘home away from home’, a place I feel empowered to learn and grow alongside a wonderful, diverse community….

Anita Homewood

Professional Learning Facilitator

Anita has been working in Early Childhood Education for over 20 years now, enjoying opportunities to grow her teaching learning philosophy. She has had experience in all aspects of ECE, working as a teacher, and in leadership and curriculum development. Anita is passionate about supporting teachers in their teaching learning journeys, strengthening their practice and inspiring them to grow as professionals…..

Melissa Osmond

Professional Learning Facilitator

Whanaungatanga sits at the forefront of Melissa’s teaching philosophy, and she believes that relationships based on respect, empowerment and kindness sit at the heart of her teaching practice. In order to reach their full potential, Melissa believes that all ākonga, regardless of their age, must feel that they are part of a culture that invites and values their place within the learning community……

Gayle Croft

Professional Learning Facilitator

My pathway as an educator has always been linked very closely to Papatūānuku and the natural world. The importance of connecting tamariki with nature is something I have always been passionate about and that passion has been the driving force behind a lot of my mahi.

I began my teaching journey as a primary school teacher, heading off on my OE soon after qualifying. I spent the next two years teaching in some rather challenging London schools, where the entire outside space consisted of a concrete pad. It upset me to see these children struggle in an environment that seemed almost completely devoid of nature.

Christine Bailey

Professional Learning Facilitator

In implementing Te Whāriki over the years I have come to know this rich, dynamic and exciting curriculum document. The wisdom behind this document has guided me not only through my teaching practice but in my everyday life as I work and learn and grow alongside others. I have a particular interest in developing a love of nature within the heart of our Mokopuna. As I understand it if you love something you will look after it. Our world needs us each to play our part to protect and care for her….

Marianne MacPherson

Professional Learning Facilitator

Working within the richness of the cultural diversity in the Auckland area the concept of ako is important to me. Building respectful relationships with teachers and children responsive to their cultural settings supports me to work alongside teachers acknowledging that learning happens most powerfully when we are responsive to and respectful of each others strengths, passions and cultural knowledge…..

Michelle Flower

Professional Learning Facilitator

I value the individual strengths of teachers within a team. Sharing teacher expertise is important to the growth and development of everyone. Nobody has all the answers; we can support, research, network, and step outside our comfort zones to give something a try, and if it does not work first time, learn from our mistakes. We are growing and learning alongside the children. I value creative, divergent, and innovative thinking…..

Harriet O’Sullivan

Professional Learning Facilitator

I believe that learning through play is of the upmost importance and think that it is through play that tamariki are able to engage in deep level learning; play is a very serious business and I believe, as the saying goes, that play is the highest form of research. We are designed to learn through play and it is our job as kaiako to create environments that are singing out to be explored, investigated and played in……

Jo Colbert

Professional Learning Facilitator

Te Whāriki underpins everything I do within my practice from working with children, to working with teaching teams and colleagues. In particular the Principles of Te Whāriki, relationships, empowerment, holistic development and family and community are central to the way I live my life and the way I am everyday in my place of work. This is not just a curriculum that guides us in the way we work with children and families, it is also a document with principles to guide us in the way we work and interact with each other on a daily basis……

Stay Informed!