Stephanie joined the Oma Rāpeti family in June 2017 and stepped up into the Centre Management role when our manager left on maternity leave. She holds a Bachelor of Education from the University of Auckland and a Diploma of Teaching (Early Childhood) from Auckland College of Education. After more than twenty years of teaching, Stephanie completed Dance with Me in the Heart Level One in 2017. She is passionate about building authentic relationships with children and their families and loves nothing more than observing children totally engrossed in their play.
"Be careful what you teach. It might interfere with what they are learning."
- Magda Gerber
Shirley was born and raised in sunny Dunedin and has been an early childhood teacher since 2004. She joined our team in October 2012 and is currently a Senior Teacher in the Meadow. She has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Otago and Graduate Diploma in Teaching (ECE) from University of Otago College of Education. Shirley has completed Dance with Me in the Heart Levels One and Two. She has an ongoing interest in implementing a culture of kindness within the centre. Shirley loves to share her passion for nature and gardening with the children, so they in turn can explore their relationship with the natural wonders of the world.
"Let the child be the scriptwriter, the director and the actor in his own play"
- Magda Gerber
Monique joined the Oma Rāpeti whānau in May 2019 where she is working alongside the tamariki in the Burrow. Monique completed her Bachelor of Education (Teaching) ECE from The University of Auckland in 2020. Monique is passionate about continuously developing herself as a teacher and how she can better implement respectful practices with children. Monique is very excited to be working in a centre where respect and trust are the base of the philosophy.
"If you can dream it, you can do it"
- Walt Disney
Mariko completed her Bachelor degree in childcare in Japan before completed her Graduate Diploma in ECE through Auckland University in 2020. Mariko loves the child-centric approach and found it very close to her ideal way to nurture children.
Mariko strongly believes that healthy food, nature, and kindness are the assets to nurture mentally and physically healthy children. Mariko is also passionate about enhancing and embracing children’s imagination and creativity, which comes from their curiosity and interests.
"There's no hope for anybody if we do not create a world of compassion and generosity"
- Dr Patch Adams
Sophie has been a special part of the Oma Rāpeti whānau since 2015, as a relief teacher, a practicum student, a Meadow teacher, and now as a teacher in The Burrow, where her daughter Margot also attends. She holds a Bachelor of Science (Psychology and Linguistics) from Victoria University of Wellington and a Graduate Diploma of Teaching (ECE) from Auckland University. Sophie completed Dance with Me in the Heart Level One in 2016 and RIE® Foundations: Theory and Observation in 2019. Sophie is passionate about continuing to learn from the children, by slowing down, observing the children and seeing them for who they are in order to build trusting, authentic relationships.
"Learning to fall, getting up again, and moving on is the best preparation for life."
- Magda Gerber
Nikki searched through multiple centres before settling on Oma Rāpeti for her son (later joined by her daughter, who is also at Oma Rāpeti) and found herself loving spending time at the centre. It wasn't until she reflected on how much the team had changed her parenting, gently supporting and guiding, that she realised she wanted to continue to learn and develop within Early Childhood Education. Having trained as a Chartered Accountant, but wanting something she was passionate about, Nikki was lucky enough to purchase Oma Rāpeti. Her husband Col is often a familiar face at the centre along with their children Lachlan and Emme.
"When educating the minds of our youth, we must not forget to educate their hearts.""
- Dalai Lama
Brenda has been at Oma Rāpeti since 2013 and you will find her either cooking our delicious meals in the kitchen or spending time in the Meadow with the children and team. She has a background in working with children in many different areas and enjoys watching children be the beautiful beings they are. Her passion is her family and she enjoys celebrating the spirit of whānau when at Oma Rāpeti.
"Families are like branches on a tree, we grow in different directions yet our roots remain as one."
Debbie has worked at Oma Rāpeti since the centre opened in October 2011, initially in our kitchen and administration support. At the beginning of 2013, she joined the Burrow team. She already held a Bachelor of Education (Primary Teaching) with Honours from Oxford University, but went on to complete a further two years teacher registration process. Debbie has attended Dance with Me in the Heart Level One and Level Two. Debbie strongly believes in the need to engage with our children in the natural world. She is passionate about supporting them as they connect with their senses, nurture their sense of wonder, look with them and marvel at the miracles of nature. In this way she hopes to keep the enchantment of childhood alive.