Harriet O’Sullivan

021 045 0219[email protected]

 I originally trained to become a teacher in England, at The University of Cambridge. I was privileged to be learning alongside an impressive host of scholars and fellows who instilled a passion for research, reading and learning about tamariki and education. From then on, during my nearly 10 years of teaching and learning with tamariki I have always be drawn to continually challenge myself to try something new, take a chance and have a go. Since being in New Zealand I have been inspired and motivated by the ELP team to make a difference for our tamariki. I am thrilled to be joining the team and cannot wait to work with more passionate kaiako as we continue to be advocates for our tamariki and for the early education that they are a part of in New Zealand.


‘You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than a year conversation’
– Plato

As a kaiako passionate about developing lifelong learners, I believe in creating an environment in which tamariki can reach their full potential and extend their skills in order to succeed as learners and members of a cohesive community. As the above quote suggests 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.


‘The best classroom and the richest cupboard are roofed only by the sky’
– Margaret McMillan

Spending time in the outdoor environment and playing in nature should be at the top of our agenda. There is more and more research showing the negative effects of not being outside and I am passionate about working with kaiako and tamariki to ensure that are taking time to be outside. When we develop time and space to be in and connect with nature we are helping to develop a commitment to looking after our planet as well as looking after ourselves. I have spent time in the Norwegian Nature Kindergartens and have brought this into my teaching practice and leadership in New Zealand and the UK. Richard Louv reminds us that ‘the health of the child and the health of the planet are inseparable’. If we keep this in our mind when learning and playing with tamariki we will be setting the next generation up for success.

Environment and loose parts

‘The wider the range of possibilities we offer children, the more intense will be their motivations and the richer their experiences’
– Loris Malaguzzi

I wholeheartedly agree with the philosophy that the environment is the third teacher and I have worked tirelessly with my previous teams to ensure that our environment motivates and inspires learners to take their learning to the next level. I am a huge advocate for loose parts and believe that in providing an environment that is full of open-ended resources we are enabling our tamariki to become the problem solvers, inventors and divergent thinkers of the future.

Stay Informed!