Our People

Our people

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Hazel Fernandes, Centre Manager

Kia Ora and Namaste

My name is Hazel Fernandes. I am from Mumbai, India. I am the second of three girls. I’ve been in New Zealand for 13 years. I hold a Post Graduate Diploma in Early Childhood Education from the University of Auckland. I have been a teacher for over 7 years and in a leadership role for a year.

I love music – listening, dancing, and singing. I love travelling too. I have travelled to Christchurch, Coromandel, Wellington, Cape Reinga, Mt. Rupeahu, The Kauri Forest, and Hamilton. I enjoy a bit of photography. I have begun to gain an interest in baking.

 My early years of teaching started back home when I taught in Sunday school while in college. I even worked as an Assistant teacher in a Kindergarten back in Mumbai. After my studies at AUT, I specialised my skills in RIE (Resource in Infant Educarers) through the foundation course. However, I was keen to gain knowledge of other approaches and philosophies. It gave me an insight into Montessori too.

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Annette Mohanraj, Cook/Chef

Vanakkam

My name is Annette, and I am from Sri Lanka. I completed secondary education and obtained university entrance for BCom; however, the Sri Lankan Civil war made it hard for me to pursue higher education. I left Sri Lanka and came to New Zealand as refugees in 1998 with my husband, and two daughters. decided to continue as a stay-at-home mum as my children were adapting to the new country and culture. I continued being a home maker even after my son was born.

After 2 decades of caring for my family and children I decided to pursue a career from a place of passion. I had fallen in love with the art of cooking, three children with mix cultural upbringing meant I needed to stay on top of my cooking game. It was a natural call for me to be innovative with food and try new dishes, even create some of my own.

 

I began doing some minor catering services for the extended community groups and eventually started my employment as a Kitchen Assistant in an elderly home care. When the centre permanently closed, I started my journey here with Little Earth Montessori as the Cook.

I take great pride in ensuring the children here receive well-nourished meals and pull every trick out of the hat to make sure a healthy meal is given without taste compromised. As a bonus to a passion driven career, get to come downstairs and spend some time with the kids. This helps me observe their eating habits and get feedback from the young critics themselves and they do not hold back. Over the years have made a few changes to the menu and am continuing to grow as cook with the children here. There is nothing more joyous than seeing children ask for multiple servings. I make sure every child feels they are served a meal that is curated for their dietary requirements.

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Zhe Emily Fan, Qualified Kaiako (Tui Room)

My name is Zhe Fan (Emily) and I come from China.

When I first came to New Zealand seven years before, I was deeply attracted by the natural landscape. Then we decided to move to New Zealand with my family (My husband and our son). We are so happy with the decision that we made before.

I used to be a piano teacher in China, particularly working with preschoolers. I am able to speak Mandarin, English and Russian. After we arrived in NZ, I made a new plan for my future. I received my bachelor's degree in teaching two years before and became a qualified teacher. While pursuing my education

I also worked part-time as a reliever in LEMR around 4 years before. All this experience taught me how to support tamariki of a variety of abilities and cultural backgrounds. Meanwhile, I also completed the Montessori Assistance Course for 3-6 years.

I am doing exercise regularly, such as running outside which is closer to nature; spinning in the gym to strengthen my immune system. In my leisure time, I enjoy spending time with my whanau and friends like travelling or exploring diverse food.

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Jacintha Barboza, Qualified Kaiako (Kākapo Room)

Kia Ora

My name is Jacintha Barboza. I am a qualified and registered ECE teacher. I am Montessori trained and experienced. I have studied Graduate Diploma in ECE teaching through New Zealand Tertiary College and Aperfield Montessori Course through Te Rito Maiaho. I have been in New Zealand for 09 years.

My passion is playing, interacting, socialising, working, and learning with/around under 5’s. Being a reflective teacher, I work around the overall development and safety of the children in our care. I firmly believe in the Montessori philosophy, which stems from a deep respect for children.

It involves respecting the uniqueness of every child, their freedom to choose, to move, to correct their mistakes and to work at their own pace. I embody the Montessori principles and role model to the children by being polite, humble, curious, peaceful, grounded, and honest. This form of role modelling enables children to understand the expectation standards set within the learning environment.

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Ambalangoda (Jayathri) Perera, Unqualified Kaiako

Kia ora Whanau/ Ayubowan

My name is Jayathri, you can call me Jay. I am originally from Sri Lanka. I am excited to be joining the whanau here at Little Earth Montessori.

I am an overseas-qualified Montessori and Preschool, Teacher. With over ten years of experience both overseas and in New Zealand, supporting the learning of tamariki, it is not a job for me but my passion.

I strongly believe children learn and grow in their own unique way and as Kaiako, we should provide them with a stimulating environment for their holistic development.

I live in Remuera with my husband and my two wonderful children, my son Kushal (14) and my daughter Amasha (8). Outside of work I love being with my family and spending time together. I love all things creative and during my spare time I love helping Amasha with her Creative projects.

I am beyond excited to be part of the teaching team at Little Earth Montessori and can’t wait to meet and work alongside your child and whanau.

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MadhushaManadi Pathirannehelag Nirmani Jayasinghe, Unqualified Kaiako

Kia ora Whanau/ Ayubowan

My name is Jayathri, you can call me Jay. I am originally from Sri Lanka. I am excited to be joining the whanau here at Little Earth Montessori.

I am an overseas-qualified Montessori and Preschool, Teacher. With over ten years of experience both overseas and in New Zealand, supporting the learning of tamariki, it is not a job for me but my passion.

I strongly believe children learn and grow in their own unique way and as Kaiako, we should provide them with a stimulating environment for their holistic development.

I live in Remuera with my husband and my two wonderful children, my son Kushal (14) and my daughter Amasha (8). Outside of work I love being with my family and spending time together. I love all things creative and during my spare time I love helping Amasha with her Creative projects.

I am beyond excited to be part of the teaching team at Little Earth Montessori and can’t wait to meet and work alongside your child and whanau.

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Pallvi, Unqualified Kaiako

Kia ora

My name is Pallvi. I am originally from India, after completing my Masters in IT, I have been working in various fields, but my passion for children led me to the field of early childhood education.

I am also a proud mother of a wonderful three-year-old child, and I understand firsthand the joys and challenges of parenthood. As an educator, I strive to create a nurturing and inclusive environment where each child feels valued and supported in their unique journey of growth and development.