Skip to main content

Highly Qualified Staff

Maria Johnson

Managing Director/Owner/Licensee


Hi my name is Maria Johnson. I have lived in Wellington after getting married in 1992 (two of these years were spent in Sydney!!). I spent my childhood growing up on a farm with my parents, two brothers and three sisters.

I moved to Wellington after training as a Primary School teacher at Hamilton Teachers College and completing my Bachelor of Education at Waikato University. B.Ed, Dip. Tching Primary. In 2006 I studied full time and gained my Early Childhood qualifications from the New Zealand College of Early Childhood Education.

I am married to a wonderful husband Craig and have four beautiful boys - Mathew, Joshua, Benjamin and Jacob (twins). I love being with my children and watching them grow and develop as individuals! Being a Mum is the greatest job in the world (even though sometimes it tests our patience).

I really enjoy spending time with family and friends, relaxing in my garden and being creative. When there is any spare time I also like to exercise.

After living in Sydney and experiencing the wonderful Pre-School Education system there, both Craig and I felt there was a huge need for quality education in Wellington. We are both excited about Little School's programme and what it has to offer.

I am passionate and ambitious about young children discovering their abilities and providing them with the knowledge, skills and values to make them lifelong learners.  I continually aspire to be a leader in education and thoroughly enjoy this journey.  I am extremely fortunate to work alongside a brilliant team of dedicated teachers at Little School.  Together we aspire to be widely recognised leaders in preschool education.

I have also been an executive member of the Early Childhood Council since 2008 and am currently the ECC President.  This is a role I thoroughly enjoy and again I am fortunate to work alongside a team of people who are dedicated within the early childhood sector. 

In 2012 Little School won two Her Regional Wellington Business Awards - Best Small to Medium Business and Wellington Business Woman of the year.

 


Administration

Rachel Hooper

Accounts/Accountant

Hi, my name is Rachel and I started working for the Little Schools when they first began in 2003.  I was born and raised in Wellington and attended Victoria University, graduating with a BA (Hons) in International Politics.  My husband Gary and I have three teenage children - two sons and a daughter.

After using my degree working for Department of Trade and Industry facilitating NZ's trade and economic relations with Pacific Island countries, I then decided to move into the area of Accounting.  I worked in London for Reuters and then returned to Wellington where I worked for Unisys as one of their financial Accountants.

Although my work experience has been varied, my main priority has always been my children and this is where the flexibility of working for the Little School has fitted in perfectly with my life.  I enjoy being a member of the Management Team at Little School and look forward to meeting with all our new children and their families.

Kathy Campbell

Curriculum Co-ordinator

Hi, I'm Kathy
I have been employed since May 2007 as part of the Management Team at Little School, where my role is extremely varied, no two days are the same! I thoroughly enjoy working with the staff at Little School.

My background is in Primary School teaching. I completed my degree and teaching diploma in the early 90s, and taught in several primary schools within the Wellington area, working with children in years 0-6. I completed my Early Childhood Teaching Diploma in 2009.

I myself have a daughter, Maddi, who attended Little School, so I have an interest and perspective as a parent as well as a staff member and educator.

When I'm not working I enjoy spending time with family and friends, watching movies, reading, exercising, cooking, eating and travelling.

Megan Watson

Operations Manager/Enrolments

Hi My name is Megan.
I began working as a Teacher at Little School when it first began in 2003.

I have a Diploma in Teaching Early Childhood which I completed at Whitirea Polytech. I then nannyed for two very special families which have remained a special part of my life and I still enjoy watching the children grow.

I took a break from Little School in 2007 when I had my son Oscar, who is a delight. I returned to Little School in 2009 when I became a member of the Management Team which I really enjoy. My son attended Kelburn Little School and was enriched by this experience.

In my sparetime I enjoy cooking, skiing and spending my time with family and friends.

Jane Jennings

Curriculum Co-ordinator

Hi, my name is Jane.  I began working as a teacher at Little School just after it first began in 2003.

I have a Diploma of Teaching in ECE and a Bachelor of Education which I completed at Dunedin College of Education and Otago University in the early 90's.

From mid 2004-2008 I took a break from Little School and Andrew and I had our two children Sarah and Harry - they are busy little people who bring lots of joy, love and laughter to our house.  Sarah attended Khandallah Little School and Harry went to Kelburn before transferring to Khandallah - so I have and interest and perspective in the schools as a parent and as an educator.

I returned to Little School in 2008 as a release teacher and in 2010 I became part of the Management Team and took on the role of teacher support and curriculum support.

In my spare time I enjoy running, walking, cooking, traveling and spending time with family and friends.


Khandallah Little School

Charmaine Ramos-Yee

Assistant Supervisor

It is with great pleasure that I can say I am part of the Little School family AGAIN!  It feels like Little School is my second home.  I first joined Little School as a teacher at Kelburn Little School and became an Assistant Supervisor at Churton Park Little School in 2008.  In 2011, I joined Khandallah Little School as a teacher.

I am Maria Charmaine Ramos-Yee from the Philippines.  I am married with a wonderful son named Jaeci, the sweetest thing that spices up our lives.  I come from a family of teachers.  However, being a teacher was not my first profession.  I am a graduate of Bachelor in Journalism and worked in a telecommunications company.  After eight years of working in the corporate world, I decided to retrain in the teaching profession.  I took post-graduate studies and earned a Master of Arts in Education, majoring in Early Childhood Education.  I have gained intensive training in International Baccalaureate-Primary Years Program (IB-PYP) while working in international schools in Philippines and New Zealand. 

I believe that the child’s success in school lies in the partnership of teachers and parents.  I am happy to be part of this wonderful partnership with you on your child’s learning journey.

Last year, I discovered another passion which is makeup artistry.  I enrolled myself to makeup schools and earned certificate in makeup artistry and became professional makeup artist for weddings, fashion shows and other special occasions.  This became another outlet of my creativity.  I enjoyed swimming, cooking, baking, photography and traveling.  But most of all, I enjoy spending my time with my son.

 

 

Kiri Woods

Supervisor

My name is Kiri Woods, and I am part of the Khandallah Little School team!

I attended Victoria University where I obtained a BA/BTeach, majoring in education and early childhood education. This furthered my interest in working with children and helped me develop many valuable practices to support and enhance learning experiences for children in the early years. I enjoy teaching and working in early childhood and supporting the education and development of the younger years.

I first began working with Little School in 2007 where I became assistant supervisor at Khandallah Little school.

 In 2010 I headed over to the UK to live and work for a couple of years. This was a fantastic experience both personally and professionally. During my time overseas I was able to gain new skills to grow as a teacher, and explore a diverse range of countries and cultures.

After an amazing O.E. working in London and travelling all over the world. I am very happy to be back working and living in New Zealand.

I enjoy spending time with family and friends and also being outdoors exercising or relaxing! I am a keen traveller and I am constantly finding new places to travel to both in New Zealand and overseas.

I am very happy to be back in the Little School environment, and look forward to meeting you and working alongside your child/ children.


 

Katharina Kiefer

Teacher

Hallo, Bună, Ni hao and Kia Ora!

I am Katharina Kiefer and have taken over group 2 this term. I have worked at Little School Khandallah before staying home with my little one and joined last year the Kelburn teaching team for a couple of terms. Teaching is my passion and I am looking forward to having a splendid time learning and playing alongside your children.

 

I moved with my husband Thomas to New Zealand in 2009. I was born in Germany and have spent all my childhood living in a three generation house. Even though I live far away from my family, I am very bonded to them. Work and interest has sent me until now to many different countries such as Rumania, China and now I call New Zealand my home.

 

In July 2012 my husband and I welcomed our first child, Kailani Amilia. She turned our life upside-down and we are extremely happy. Sometimes we are too happy and excited to have her that we can’t sleep at allJ.

 

I am a positive thinking person who enjoys working in a team and I am looking forward to be back at Khandallah Little School. I am curious about the things I will learn and the things I can contribute. Please don’t hesitate to ask my any questions or discuss your child’s learning.

 

Haere rā, Katharina

 

 

 

 

Lana Swain

Teacher

Kia Ora!

 

My name is Lana Swain. I am originally from the Horowhenua district and have spent the last three years studying in Palmerston North.  I have just completed a Bachelor of Education (Teaching)  Early Years (0-8) at Massey University and I am now happy to be settling in Wellington.

 

I am passionate about the outdoors and like to keep fit and healthy. In my spare time I enjoy going to the beach, fishing and spending time with family and friends. I also love to explore my creative side, particularly in art and photography.

 

I believe in building responsive and reciprocal relationships with each individual child in order to develop a love of learning. I am very excited to begin my teaching career at Little School and look forward to working alongside the children, families and teachers  at Khandallah.


Churton Park Little School

Penny Mulcahy

Teacher

Kia ora, my name is Penelope (but you can call me Penny). I am very happy to be working in the Little School team. I studied in 2008 at Victoria University to complete my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Education. From there, I went on to do a Graduate Diploma in Teaching at the Primary school level. I really enjoyed my teacher training, where I got to experience teaching at the senior and junior level.

In my spare time I love to bake. I enjoy testing out new recipes and food from different cultures. I am the captain of a social netball team and play weekly. I have a love of dance, and enjoy incorporating this into my teaching where appropriate.

I am really looking forward to meeting all of the friendly families here at Little School in Churton Park, and supporting your child’s development.

Mikaela Gerray

Teacher

Hi, my name is Mikaela Gerraty. I have recently moved to Wellington from Marlborough, and am excited to be starting at Churton Park Little School.

I graduated in 2005 with a Graduate Diploma of Teaching and Learning (Early Childhood). Before that I had completed an Honours Degree in Education (2001), and did 2 years relief teaching in Primary Schools in the Christchurch area. While relieving I discovered my passion for teaching children aged under 5.

In my spare time I enjoy gardening, baking, Highland Dancing, music, and reading. I am a keen ukulele player - and enjoy encouraging children to learn as well.

Children learn so much before the age of five, and I believe it is my role to guide and support them on their learning journey, helping them to gain lifelong skills. While doing this I believe it is also my role to be there for whānau as well.

I look forward to getting to know the children, whānau, and staff of Churton Park Little School.

Nia Apineru

Teacher

Talofa lava, my name is Niagai (Nia) Apineru. I was born and raised in Samoa. I came from a family of nine children six boys and two sisters. I came to New Zealand in 1979 and worked at the Justice Department Land and Title Section.

I was teaching in Samoa before I came to New Zealand. In 1995 I started my training as an early childhood teacher at Wellington College of Education, and graduated in 1998 with a Diploma of Teaching Early childhood.

I have two children of my own that are grown up now and very independent. I have completed my B.E.D in July (2006).

I enjoy working with infants and toddlers and their families.

Tatjana Manabe

Supervisor

Hello, my name is Tatjana Manabe and I'm originally from Germany. I studied Primary School Education at Koblenz University, Germany, and moved to New Zealand after passing my state exams in October 2008.

During my one year working holiday in New Zealand (2005-2006) I worked as a live-in nanny and found myself thoroughly enjoying the work with pre-school aged children. Therefore, I was more than happy when I got the opportunity to join the Kelburn Little School team in February 2009.

In 2102, I gained my Graduate Diploma of Teaching for Early Childhood Education and also got married to my wonderful partner of seven years.

In my spare time I enjoy reading a good book or two or spending time in my garden (depending on the weather), and taking my dog for long walks.

I am looking forward to getting to know the children and families at Churton Park Little School, and learning and exploring alongside them.

Keri-ann Dobbs

Assistant Supervisor

Hi, my name is Keri-ann Dobbs.

I started working for Little School in April 2010, after I completed my BEd (Tch) ECE at Victoria University.

This is my first full time teaching role.  Previously I worked as an after school teacher and a relief teacher.

Wellington is my home town and I love it here.  Activities that I love to do are reading, singing and camping.  I am a member of Newlands Baptist Church where I am part of the music group and often sing on a Sunday morning.  My family, my partner Michael and I are always going on camps.

I look forward to getting to know you.


Kelburn Little School

Makenzie Kellogg

Teacher

Hi, my name is Makenzie Kellogg and I am from Seattle, Washington USA.  I have a bachelor degree in Human Development, a minor in psychology, and a certificate in family studies. In May of 2011 I attended an internship with Child Youth and Family in Wanganui, NZ to complete my bachelors degree.  New Zealand is an amazing country that I grew to love and have recently moved here with my kiwi partner.  I have been teaching in early childhood education for the last 4 years and have developed a great passion for working with children and watching them learn and develop.  The past four years I have been working mostly with infants aged 3 months to 14 months and have enjoyed being a part of the intense growth and development that takes place in those early moths of a child’s life.  I am excited to be working with the children at Little School and thrilled to have more opportunities with this age group.  It is very fulfilling watching children at this age learn new things, grow, and develop their own interests.

Exploration and creativity are my favorite things to incorporate into an activity with the children.  Watching their little minds think and interact with their environment is what drives me to create unique experiences for the children that will help them grow and develop new skills.  

In my spare time I enjoy cooking, baking and crafting.  I am looking forward to learning growing along side the children and developing strong relationships with the families at Kelburn Little School. 

I am looking forward to getting to know you and starting my new life at Little School.

Jacquie Costello

Supervisor

Kia Ora my name is Jacquie Costello.

I have lived in Dunedin all my life on the Otago Peninsular. I moved up to Wellington with my partner in November 2006, to further my career as an Early Childhood educator.

Following completing High School I took a year out of study and worked in the hospitality industry, training as a chef the following two years.

I then followed my passion in working with children to extend their knowledge and development, and started training at Dunedin College of Education.

In my spare time I enjoy spending time with friends and family, exercising, healthy eating and living, listening to music, exploring the North Island, and exploring personal culture.

I am thoroughly looking forward to getting to know and working with the children and families/whanau of Kelburn Little School.

Louise Macdonald

Supervisor

Hi, my name is Louise Macdonald and I am originally from London. I studied and trained in London and qualified as a Primary School teacher. I spent 4 very happy years teaching in a school in Twickenham before moving to New Zealand in 2006.

During my teaching experience in the UK, I have taught both infant and junior age children. I have also worked with children with special needs. I particularly enjoyed the challenge of working with infant aged children, as no two days were ever the same!

Since moving to New Zealand I have spent most of my time teaching - from Early Years relief work right through to Adult Education.

In my spare time I enjoy watching sports, especially rugby and cricket. Living in Wellington has allowed me to do lots of this. I also like to spend my time with my friends.

I look forward to getting to know and working alongside both you and your children.

Emily Eckhoff

Assistant Supervisor

Hi there, my name is Emily Eckhoff. 

I grew up in Dunedin and moved to Wellington in 2008. I originally studied the Bachelor of Education in Primary Teaching and then decided to further my teaching studies and did the Graduate Diploma in Early Childhood Education. 
I am passionate about teaching and I love helping children to grow their potential and become independent learners.

In my spare time I enjoy going for walks, spending time with family and friends, listening to music, tramping and exploring the North Island.

I look forward to getting to know you and your child at Little School.

Paola Malibiran

Assistant Supervisor

Hi!  I'm Paola Malibran.  I have a Bachelor degree in Early Childhood Education and have taught for three years as an early childhood teacher in an international school in the Philippines.  It is my privelge to continue my profession as en educator at Little School.

I have always wanted to be a teacher since I was in first grade and I am very happy with my choice.  Pre-school teaching is challenging but at the same time, very rewarding.  There is nothing more satisfying than knowing that I've made a difference in the life of a young child!

I value learning and experience and not only do I give all my thought and skill to teaching, but also my passion and commitment.  I can't wait to experience new adventures in teaching in New Zealand!

Hilary Slight

Teacher

Kia ora, my name is Hilary Slight and I am very excited to be at Kelburn Little School.  I have always had a passion for teaching and knew that some day I would be an educator. In 2010 I completed a Bachelor of Education: Early Years (0-8), which allows me to teach at both early childhood and primary level.  I believe that early education is so vital, as it gives children the building blocks that are important for later learning. I have a huge interest in providing literacy and numeracy experiences to children in a fun and meaningful way, because I believe it is important to give children the best possible start in their schooling years.

In my spare time I enjoy going on walks, attending the gym and spending time with friends. I am very new to Wellington and have so much to explore and discover!

I am looking forward to working with all the children and their families at Kelburn Little School


 

Ronan Kelly

Teacher

Kia ora, my name is Ronan Kelly and I am from Co. Donegal, Ireland.  I have a BA in English and History and also studied drama at University.  Later I did my teacher training in London where I taught for three years.  This was a really rewarding experience and I love working with children and young people. 

I enjoy reading, listening to music and other outdoor activities.  I also love travelling and am really enjoying living in New Zealand.  I look forward to getting to know the children and families at Little School.


St Heliers Little School

Jasmin Kaur

Teacher

Hello!
My name is Jasmin.  I am from Hamilton and have recently moved up to Auckland with my amazing husband Amandeep.

I have just completed the Graduate Diploma of Teaching, Early Childhood at the University of Waikato.  I already hold Bachelor of Teaching (Primary Education).

I spent my childhood in India with my parents and younger brother and sister.  We migrated to New Zealand 10 years ago.  I really value and enjoy spending time and relaxing with family.

I have always been passionate about supporting children.  My passion for teaching and supporting young children motivated me to explore early childhood education.

I believe children are active learners and need opportunities to engage in inquiry and problem solving within an authentic learning environment.  I see my role as a teacher as one that will facilitate, guide and create an environment that encourages children to discover and explore their learning ideas, skills and knowledge.

This is my first full time teaching position.  I am very excited to begin my career at Little School in St Heliers.

I look forward to getting to know and working alongside you to support our young learners.

 

 

Gretchen Greaves

Teacher

Hello!
My name is Gretchen Greaves. I am originally from the state of Iowa in America.
After earning my degree in elementary education, I had the opportunity to live and work in one of America’s national parks, where I met my Kiwi husband-to-be. We lived in Colorado for six years, where I taught preschool and decided that early
childhood education was my passion. We moved to New Zealand in 2011 and are quite excited about our future in this amazingly beautiful country!
In my spare time I enjoy being outside in the sunshine! Camping, tramping, traveling and bicycling are all activities I love. I also enjoy cooking, relaxing with a good book and gardening.
I am grateful for the opportunity to join the Little School team and will strive to help each of the children to gain the skills, knowledge and confidence that will lead them into the next chapter of their lives.

 

 

Xinyue Wang

Teacher

Dear Parents/Guardians:

My name is Xinyue . I originally came from Shanghai, China. I have been in Auckland since 2008 and I love the life here. I also love to play the piano, which I have learnt since I was 4 years old.

 

I graduated from AUT University with a B. Ed in early childhood teaching. In addition, I have a certificate in Performance Music from a Music College in China where I specialised in piano. I am multi-lingual and this helps me to provide a language rich environment for all children.

 

I am very passionate about Early Childhood Education because I have a warm heart and I adore children. I take pride in supporting children and enjoying seeing them grow. I look forward to collaborating and learning from the many professional educators here.

 

I would love to meet you, please come to say "Hi" to me.                 

 


At Little School we are proud to have highly trained early childhood and primary school teachers. Our unusually high staff to child ratio allows teachers to spend quality time with your child.

It also enables small group teaching opportunities, which are vital for children's learning experiences.

Our highly qualified teachers will gain knowledge about your child by working in partnership with parents and caregivers.

We will help develop children's emotional well being, relationships with peers, and knowledge of limits and boundaries for acceptable behaviour. Teachers will support children in learning strategies for active exploration, thinking and reasoning.