Our People

Sumathy Pushpakumar, Centre Manager

Kia ora kou tou,

I am Sumathy. I’m originally from Sri Lanka and migrated to NZ in 2003 with my family. I am a proud mother of two daughters. Since I was young, I have had a great passion for teaching, especially early childhood education.

I completed a Montessori Diploma from Colombo’s Montessori Teacher Training Centre (in affiliation with Fairfax University USA) in 2002. After moving to NZ, I completed a Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood Education) from New Zealand Tertiary College (in 2010).

I believe that the quality of education a child receives in the early years is indispensable in bringing out their potential. This philosophy inspired me to dedicate more than 20 years of my life to support young children’s personal, academic and social development. I love supporting children to become more confident and independent.

Premi Gounder, Qualified Senior Registered Teacher

Hello my name is Premi. I am originally from Fiji but have been living in New Zealand since 1989.

I obtained a Diploma in Primary Teaching and a Graduate Diploma in Early Childhood Education from Auckland University. I am a fully registered teacher.

Prior to working at Little Earth Montessori, I worked in other early childhood centres however I was attracted to the Montessori curriculum and the benefits of stimulating young children's developing minds. I find the Montessori environment hugely rewarding and exciting.

Xiaowen Yuan (Wendy), Qualified and Registered Teacher

Kia ora families and whānau,

My name is Xiaowen Yuan (Wendy). I am from China and have lived in New Zealand since 2001. I am qualified teacher, and I graduated from AUT with a Bachelor of Education (specialising in Montessori Early Childhood Teaching). Apart from being a teacher, I am also a mother of two lovely young children, a boy (8) and a girl (6). They are very active and full of curiosity. We spend lots of our family time at the Auckland Zoo and the museum. However, in my spare time I enjoy reading, crochet and origami.

Although my study was based on Montessori, I believe Reggio and Montessori have a lot in common - such as supporting and extending children’s learning based on their own interests; providing rich learning environments and helping children to learn through their five senses. I believe the learning environment (including classrooms, resources, friends and families) help children to enrich their experience, and from there they can form their own understanding and reinforce their knowledge.

I’d like to finish with a quote from Maria Montessori, “Education is a natural process carried out by the human individual, and is acquired not by listening to words, but by experiences in the environment.”

Summer Havea, Qualified Teacher

Malo e Lelei everyone, my name is Summer Havea. My ethnicity is Tongan, Māori and Cook Island. I am a qualified early childhood teacher and graduated with my Bachelor at the beginning of 2019 from the New Zealand Tertiary College. I am now working towards gaining my full teacher registration and am also expecting my first child in 2020.

I have worked at Little Earth Montessori since my first year of being a student and have gained lots of knowledge through working in a Montessori environment. My passion for wanting to work with children started in high school and since then I have loved my job being able to help foster and watch children’s development and growth through learning and exploration.  I believe in the Montessori philosophy and believe that providing all children with a rich environment is an important aspect for their learning and development.

Thilini Wimalaratne, Teacher

Hi! My name is Thilini and I’m from Sri Lanka. I’ve worked as a Pre-K teacher in Sri Lanka for four years.  I have a personal interest and passion for helping young children so after finishing high school, I choose early childhood education for my higher studies. I completed my Early Childhood Teaching Diploma and childcare management in Sri Lanka. I hope to continue with my Bachelors in New Zealand.

My passion is to provide children with the love and support they need through every area of their life.

Bahareh Asnaashari, Teacher

My name is Bahareh and I am from Iran. I have a Master in Psychology and have been familiar with the Montessori method of education since my Bachelors. I became interested in early childhood development and learning when I started my internship in a psychology centre soon after finishing my studies.

I have experience in different areas of psychology however my interest in working on children-related topics motivated me to contribute in the translation of a book about the play therapy of children. I enjoy working with children and listening to their stories and I believe that creating an environment to let children play and learn freely is the way to ensure children undergo optimal development. That is why I have chosen to work in Little Earth Montessori, Panmure. 

My hobbies include listening to and playing music, mindfulness practices, cooking, hiking in nature, travelling and hanging around with friends.