Our People

Our people

Sumathy Pushpakumar, Centre Manager

I am Sumathy. I am from Sri Lanka and came to New Zealand in 2003. I am a proud mother of two daughters. Since I was young, I have had a great passion for teaching, especially early childhood years.

I have completed a Montessori Diploma and was teaching in Sri Lanka. After moving to NZ, I completed a Bachelor of Teaching in ECE. 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 23 years of my life to support young children’s personal, academic and social development. My passion is to support children to become more confident and independent.

My hobbies are cooking, listening to music, gardening.

Foong Leng Sally Lok (Sally), Assistant Manager

Kia ora koutou, I am Sally from Sabah, East Malaysia, situated on the island of Borneo. 

In June 2005, my family and I immigrated to New Zealand.

Prior to our relocation, I was the sole owner of two Montessori centres in Sabah, which I established immediately after graduating from the London Montessori Centre, where I obtained my Montessori Diploma.

Following my passion for early childhood education, I pursued a three-year study at the University of Auckland, culminating in the attainment of a Bachelor of Teaching degree specializing in Early Childhood Education (ECE).

Inspired by Maria Montessori’s profound insight, I firmly believe that the journey of intelligence begins not in the lecture halls of universities, but in the tender years from birth to six. It’s during this critical phase that the foundation of intellect is laid, shaping the essence of who we become.

I’m committed to nurturing young minds like seeds, providing the optimal environment for growth and flourishing, and ensuring they bear the fruits of intelligence and character through the Montessori philosophy.

Jacintha Barboza, Senior Teacher - Preschool room

Kia Ora,

My name is Jacintha Barboza. I am Ece and Montessori Trained teacher. I have been in New Zealand for 10 years.

My passion is being around children and helping them to be more confident and independent. I firmly believe Montessori philosophy which stems from a deep respect for children.

My personal philosophy is respecting the uniqueness of every child.  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.

I will strive to be an asset to the Little earth Montessori and be a part of children’s learning, development and care.

Some of my hobbies are sewing, arts and crafts, singing, cooking, and reading.

Maria Bai
Maria Bai, Senior Teacher - Toddler room

Hello, my name is Maria. I'm an experienced and registered teacher. My journey in ECE started when my first child went to kindergarten, and it got me really interested in this field.

In my teaching philosophy, I put a lot of emphasis on creating a respectful and inclusive environment that welcomes all cultures. I strongly believe that every child is special, and I'm dedicated to getting them involved in various activities that help them grow and learn.

My main goal is to lay the groundwork for lifelong learning, where children can do well in a supportive, diverse, and stimulating atmosphere. In my free time, I practice Taichi with my Chinese community. I enjoy both Chinese and English literature, like watching movies and reading novels.

Geetanjali Sharma, Teacher Toddler room

Kia Ora/ Namaste, 

My name is Geetanjali Sharma. I have earned Bachelor in Computer Science, Masters in Mathematics and Bachelor of Education from India. I am from Punjab, India and have been living in New Zealand for nearly 2 years.

In my 2 years of teaching experience from India I have always empowered the children to believe in themselves. I believe that every child is unique in his/her own way. 

I would like to take care at an early childhood stage to encourage them to be more confident and guide them towards becoming a responsible person as they learn important skills for life learning. I am highly privileged to be a part of Little Earth Montessori. My hobbies are cooking, travelling.

Chengliang (Tina) Luo, Registered Teacher - Baby Room

Kia ora, my name is Chengliang Luo, but you can call me Tina. I hail from China and graduated from ICL Graduate Business School in June 2023 with a major in Early Childhood Education. I am also a proud mother of two sons. My deep passion lies in spending time with children, deriving immense joy from it.

My philosophy on working with children revolves around viewing their learning as integrated and interconnected. Hence, I prioritize children's holistic development, focusing not only on their cognitive aspects but also on their physical, personal, social, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

I eagerly anticipate embarking on your child's growth and development journey here at our centre. Together, we will cultivate an environment where every child can flourish and realize their full potential.

Madhusha Nirmani Jayasinghe, Teacher - Baby Room

 I am Madhusha Nirmani Jayasinghe. Before moving to New Zealand, I have worked in Sri Lankan education sector for more than seven years. After teaching in a primary school for more than two years, I spent five years working as a teacher educator.

I hold a Bachelor of Education degree and a Master of Education Management degree. I have undergone several trainings related to primary teaching and teacher education in Sri Lanka.

I enjoy spending time with kids, but I also feel a great deal of responsibility as a teacher who must also serve as a positive role model for their students.

Other than teaching, I have a passion towards music too. I love singing, listening to music and cooking in my leisure time. I also cherish the time I get to spend with my two children.

Sue Callaghan, Administrator

Hi, my name is Sue. I am from England and moved here over 20 years ago with my husband and we have two adult children.

My administration journey started as a qualified secretary with a bank and then with a local education authority.  When I moved to New Zealand, my children attended Playcentre, and it was through them I learned more about education-based administration. 

I remained working part-time with Playcentre for 14 years until both children were at college. 

I joined Evolve in November 2015 as an administrator for one centre, increasing to two, three and now four centres.  I am based here at Little Earth Montessori Remuera on Wednesdays.  When I am not here I am visiting the other 3 centres.

I look forward to meeting and getting to know all our whānau at Little Earth Montessori Remuera.

Annette Mohanraj , Centre Cook

My name is Annette. I am from Sri Lanka. After 2 decades of caring for my family, I decided to pursue a career in cooking.

I am with Little Earth for more than 7 years now. I take great pride in ensuring the children here receive well-nourished and healthy meal is given without taste compromised. As a bonus to a my passion driven career, I spend time with children while helping teachers during their meal times. This helps me to observe their eating habits and to review their food menus with their interest. There is nothing more joyous than seeing children ask for multiple servings. My hobbies are gardening, cooking and sewing.