Our Teachers (Kaiako)
I have always had a passion for working with young children, particularly with those aged under 2. Children are born learners, so I feel strongly that it is our job to support them in becoming confident and capable beings who have a love of learning. I look forward to joining your child on their learning journey here at Geckos (The Nest).”
Fun Fact: Cassandra knows what it is like being a working Mum with her dog (Bella) in doggy day care three days a week!
caregiving. Respect is at the heart of my teaching philosophy and this is why I enjoy working with the team here at The Nest. I love that our centre’s philosophy is also based on respect and meaningful relationships.”
Fun Fact: Danni would like to be an international kickboxing champion!
their whānau to help our young ones reach new milestones. I love seeing tamariki use the foundations they learn at home and Geckos to become their best selves.”
Fun fact: Becky would like to learn to ride a motorbike but is scared she will fall off!
Geckos is. Everyday I strive to help our tamariki become confident, capable individuals.”
things and I love giving our tamariki the space and resources to explore their interests and strive for their personal best. Life at Geckos is special, we really are one big family here.”
Fun fact: Cheyenne's favourite animal is a camel and would like to ride one someday!
I knew the previous owners and they offered me a part time job relieving. Who would have thought that I’d now be qualified and working as Lead Kaiako!
I’ve lived in Whangarei my entire life, besides university (turns out an Art History and History degree is not that practical for the real world) and travelling, so connecting with our community is an important part of my teaching philosophy. I’m a keen learner and love to explore alongside our tamariki at Geckos. It’s hard for me to sometimes get my office work done because I’m always sneaking back out on the floor to be with our tamariki!
If you ask our tamariki about me, their number one observation is “Pizza!” (yeah, I really love pizza!), followed by “always wearing your sunglasses” and “you write a lot of notes Sam!”. They also tell me “I like to water the plants with you”, “I like to play on the ground with you Sam”, “sometimes you look like a princess” and “I like the way you look after us”. “
Fun Fact: Sam is the proud parent to a 2-year-old cat, Bernie, but prefers working with tamariki to cats, which is why she’s not a vet!
Nō Waihopai ahau.
Kei Whangarei tōku kāinga noho.
He kaiako ahau.
Ko Alana tōku ingoa.
No reira, tena koutou katoa.
I moved to Whangarei after I graduated from university. Although I was born in Australia, I have lived most of my life in Invercargill, which I have been told is quite obvious from the way I say my ‘R’s’! I’ve had the pleasure of being a part of my Geckos whānau since 2016. In that time I have learnt a lot from the kaiako, tamariki and whānau and have developed a strong sense of belonging here in Whangarei.
You might say that early childhood education (ECE) runs in my family as both my Mum and Grandmother worked in ECE. Having brothers that were so much younger than me also inspired my passion for ECE as I had the opportunity to help them learn and grow.
I love being creative, especially in visual arts, which I share with our tamariki. You might find me seated at the art table drawing or painting with our tamariki, or inventing my own interpretive dance moves!
I asked our tamariki what they liked about me as a teacher and they replied “you’re funny” and “sometimes you’re silly”. What can I say… I do like to have a laugh, especially since they make me feel like the world’s greatest comedian! Some of my favourite moments at Geckos have been sharing a joke and a laugh with our tamariki.
I hope to give the tamariki that I work with the support, aroha and experiences they need to be lifelong learners who are happy, kind, capable and confident!”
Fun Fact: When Alana is not at Geckos she likes to draw, paint, read and go on adventures. She also has a feline fur baby named ‘Cheese’ who can be very demanding!
Early Childhood Education and my desire to support this amazing and crucial period of children's learning and development.
The team at Geckos makes this role all the more special. Our shared love, support and enthusiasm for giving our tamariki our absolute best and creating opportunities for them to lead their own learning, means every day is filled with discoveries, triumphs and so much laughter! It’s a real privilege to be able to share in the ever-evolving joy and wonder of our tamariki’s inner and outer worlds.”
Fun fact: Anneliese used to DJ on a radio station and worked in the music business!
Postgraduate Diploma in Specialist Teaching Early Intervention
“ Tēnā koutou katoa. Ko Kellie tōku ingoa. I emigrated here nine years ago and love the natural beauty of Aotearoa and the opportunities it presents for exploration and protection. Originally trained as a primary teacher, I’ve worked in early childhood education since arriving in NZ. I’m passionate about inclusion and enjoy working alongside families, teachers and other adults to support diverse learners within our Geckos community. I look forward to getting to know you. Arohanui.”
Fun Fact: Kelli is passionate about conservation and sustainability and enjoys spending time planting trees, growing food, looking after animals and exploring the beauty of Tai Tokerau.