Our People

Sohee Son, Centre Manager

"Hello everyone, my name is Sohee Son, and I am the Centre Manager here at Little Earth Montessori Rosedale Centre. I would like to welcome you and your children to our community.

As the Centre Manager, my goal for our team is to create a happy team culture that supports happy teachers and children. I strongly believe that the environment we create for our children directly impacts their growth and development, and it is our responsibility to create a positive and nurturing environment for them.


At Little Earth Montessori Rosedale Centre, we provide a safe, nurturing, and stimulating environment where your child can grow, learn, and develop. Our team of qualified educators is dedicated to creating an environment that fosters independence, creativity, and curiosity.

I have 20 years of experience in the early childhood education field in New Zealand and hold a Postgraduate in Educational Leadership, a Bachelor of ECE (Specialised in Montessori), and a Diploma in Child psychology.

My personal philosophy aligns with the Montessori approach, which I see as not just a philosophy but a way of life. I believe that the Montessori method is an excellent tool for young children to start their learning journey, as it encourages them to become self-directed, independent and curious learners.

I am excited to get to know all of you and work together to create a positive and enriching experience for your child. Please feel free to approach me with any questions or concerns you may have - my door is always open.

Together, let's create a beautiful team culture that supports our teachers and children because we are nurturing children in their sensitive period, and they absorb all our emotions, verbal and body language that we use.

Su-Lin Ong, Teacher

Kia ora! My name is Su-Lin Ong. I was born and raised in Singapore, where I first studied and worked in the hospitality and tourism industry before embarking on a new journey. After working in a Montessori preschool and locally completing a Diploma in Montessori accredited by MMI (London), I undertook a Bachelor of Education (Montessori Early Childhood Teaching) at the Auckland University of Technology when my family moved to New Zealand in 2013.


The exploration and deeper understanding of the pedagogy has since led to my conviction in the Montessori philosophy, and has transformed my perspectives on children and education, and guided me in my personal practice and role as a Montessori guide. I believe that a prepared environment with opportunities and freedom for the children to practise at their own pace, will enable them to reveal their capabilities, confidence, and joy, which is paramount to their well-being. With support for their efforts in independence, the children increasingly delight in their own endeavours and contributions, and demonstrate the ability to help, love, and care for their environment and community. I am excited and privileged to be able to be a part of the children’s journey.

My hobbies include travelling, going on coastal walks, sewing, quilting, crafting, and attempting woodworking projects alongside my husband!

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Anita Nothnagel , Administrator
Nienke van Wijk, Teacher

Kia Ora, my name is Nienke van Wijk and I hail from the Netherlands to be a part of the Little Earth Montessori family in New Zealand. I am a trained Montessori teacher with over nine years of experience in Amsterdam at the Montessori school.

In addition to teaching the standard curriculum, I also instructed my students on the fundamentals of nature, science, and technology, conducted music classes, and even established a children's orchestra which I led as the orchestra leader.


My passions include nature, exploring different cultures, singing, and playing football. During the working cycle time, and other activity session, I aim to educate the children on the wonders of nature, introduce new songs, and maybe even teach them some football skills as well as the Montessori education.

I am not hesitant to introduce "challenging" vocabulary to younger children, as I strongly believe that no word is too difficult - only words that they have yet to encounter or utilize. My teaching approach involves observing each child's individual learning style and guiding them to walk their own learning path while fostering independence within the designated boundaries. I am enthusiastic and creative, and I look forward to teaching your children either individually or in groups.

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Tina (Qian) Mao, Teacher

Kia ora, my name is Tina (Qian) Mao, and I am a certificated teacher at Little Earth Montessori Rosedale Centre. Prior to moving to New Zealand, I worked at a university in Shanghai, China from 2006 to 2016. During my time there, I had the opportunity to teach and interact with many young adults and I came to appreciate the important role that early education plays in a person's life. This realization prompted me to move to New Zealand and begin a new learning journey in 2017.


From 2017 to 2020, I completed the Early Childhood Teaching programme and Postgraduate programme in Education at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, as well as a one-year Diploma course in Montessori with the North American Montessori Centre. I joined the Little Earth Montessori Rosedale at the beginning of 2021 and moved to Little Earth Montessori Oteha Valley in the middle of 2021. I am excited to return to Rosedale this year and continue working with children, whānau, and teachers here. 

As an educator with a strong theoretical background and over 10 years of experience, I firmly believe that children are confident learners. It is essential to foster this confidence from an early age. I agree with the idea that "Play is children's work," I encourage our children to explore and discover the world around them through meaningful play. Therefore, I see my role as facilitating and extending children's interests and strengths, developing their learning dispositions, and supporting the development of their working theories through spontaneous and intentional teaching rather than simply imparting knowledge and feeding them facts. I believe that children are natural investigators and learn best when engaged in hands-on, experiential learning. I love seeing our younger children ask questions, make connections, and think critically about the world around them.

 I am a fan of the Montessori learning environment, which emphasises self-directed learning and allows children to choose what they want to learn and do. This approach prepares our children for life and encourages them to become confident, independent learners. I also place a high value on building strong relationships with children, parents, and other teachers. I believe that working together with parents and teachers is essential to providing the best possible learning experience for children. With professional care and love, I am committed to walking alongside each child on their unique learning journey.

Roshika Samaratunge, Teacher

Kia ora! My name is Roshika Samaratunge, and I am originally from Sri Lanka. I completed my Montessori Diploma there and have been working as an Early Childhood Education (ECE) teacher for children aged 2-5 since 2013. In 2021, I moved to New Zealand and began my career as a reliever teacher at Little Earth Montessori in July of that year. From the very first day, I fell in love with this well-organized center. I am overjoyed to say that I was offered a permanent position as an Early Childhood Teacher in September 2022 and am thrilled to be part of this fantastic team.

I believe that the early childhood stage is one of the most critical periods of human life. By introducing Montessori philosophy at this stage, children learn essential life skills, gain academic knowledge, and develop their independence, all of which can help them become successful individuals in the future. My personal philosophy aligns perfectly with the Montessori philosophy, and I am passionate about guiding children to bring out their best with love, care, and ultimate support, using the experience I have gained throughout my journey.

Susan Hong, Teacher

I am an experienced Montessori Early Childhood Educator who has been teaching at Little Earth Montessori Preschool since 2005. With Montessori Teacher Certificates from both the USA and Korea, I pursued further studies at AUT University in New Zealand, where I obtained a Bachelor of Education with a specialization in Montessori. While I find all aspects of Montessori theories and activities captivating, I am particularly interested in Mathematics. Working with children is my passion, and I take pride in witnessing their positive growth and development. As a devoted teacher, I am committed to nurturing each child's potential during the most critical period of their lives. 

Creating an environment that reflects the Montessori philosophy is paramount to me, as it stimulates children's interests and allows them to work independently or collaboratively to develop problem-solving skills. I also take great pleasure in producing and updating individual learning stories and progress reports for each child, which detail their activities, skill development, and future plans.