I gained my Bachelor of Education (ECE), and Certificate in Adult Teaching as an adult student. I have 22 years of teaching experience across a broad range of early childhood settings including Playcentre, home-based care, and community based early learning centres. 13 years in a Centre Manager role. ELP Facilitators have been my critical friends during this time and we have worked on inquiries in distributed leadership, companionship, boys in play, literacy, and mathematics.
“The sacred urge to play” by Pennie Brownlee is my favourite read, and this quote sighted within it speaks to my heart as a teacher. “It is in playing and only in playing that the individual child or adult is able to be creative and use the whole personality, and it is only in being creative that the individual discovers the self” (D. W. Winnicott).
My happy place is Whangamata beach, where I connect with nature and family. I spend many hours gathering the gifts of Papatūānuku (the Earth Mother). I value the moments when tamariki stop and stare in awe (wehi) at the wonder of the natural world. Setting up environments with natural materials and loose parts excites me. I have a keen interest in ephemeral art. More recently I am learning alongside the children to develop a greater sense of environmental awareness through composting and worm farms.
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.
Relationships are the foundation of all learning. By implementing a key teacher model, I believe that distributed leadership can be reconceptualised. Each child is an individual, who has inherited traits from their ancestors. The child is surrounded by those who have passed on, and by their whānau in day-to-day life. Strengthening our bonds with whānau is an important part of our role as teachers. Tamariki are part of the whānau and the whānau is part of the tamariki. One cannot be separated from the other.
Compassion, love, and kindness
I am very passionate about children spending time in mixed age settings. By developing a culture of tuakana/teina, older children delight in opportunities to care for and help younger children, and by doing so, practice kindness and learn tolerance from their younger peers. I also believe that our youngest children are the leaders of tomorrow and through observation, imitation and practice we see these children blossom.