Leslyn Graham, Centre Manager
What inspired you to forge a career in the early childhood sector?
I came into early childhood teaching in my late thirties, making the decision to change my career and return to study. I was inspired to take on that challenge because, having been blessed in experiencing a rich and diverse life (so far, much more to come!), I wanted to give back. I chose early childhood teaching because of how critical this life stage is for later positive outcomes for us as healthy, well-adjusted social beings. There is a huge amount of credible research around how one person can be pivotal in supporting positive lifelong outcomes for young children. This for me is an irrevocable truth, resonating at the core of my values and beliefs and this inspires me every day to be all that I can.
What do you love most about what you do?
People! My core reason for moving into management was to expand my sphere of influence in providing positives outcomes for children. I realised by shifting my lens from what I could do in a classroom to support children myself, to supporting teachers in developing their expertise, knowledge and skills, meant that I was actively helping in uplifting skills across our sector – and reaching many more children and families than I ever could have by working within one classroom.
What makes Active Explorers so special?
Our family values set us apart from others. We understand the pressures of everyday life and core to our Active Explorers brand is working closely with our families of both our community and our team. If we can do something to help, we do. A very big part of centre life is our practices around excursions, as we believe in getting out and about , experiencing our community and the larger world around us. Our team are amazing people dedicated to what they do every day and they are here for our tamariki.
Tania Johnson, Prep Room Head Teacher/Assistant Manager
Kia ora my name is Tania, I have been a teacher in the Prep Room for four years, assistant manager for one year, and overall teaching in ECE for 18 years.
I really enjoy the family atmosphere in our centre and how supportive we are to each other. Families and teachers work together to support each other in ensuring their child has a strong sense of who they are through language, culture and identity.
Through positive reciprocal relationships within our team and whanau, our tamariki have the foundations to succeed, developing their own ability to learn and make sense of their world in a safe, positive and caring environment.
As a teacher I love it when we go on school visits and have visits in return from our children transitioning to school. Seeing our children who have transitioned with a huge smile on their face, so eager to share how school is going with such vibrancy and energy, it always makes my day! My smile is just as big, and I feel such a warm glow when I see the confident and competent learners that they have become through family/whanau and centre working together.
Krystal King, Teacher-in-training, Nursery
My name is Krystal and I am in the third year of my Bachelor of Teaching. I have been fortunate enough to work as a teacher-in-training in our wonderful nursery, with our youngest explorers. I am passionate about the work I do with infants and toddlers as I believe our young children should be in an environment where they have secure attachments to familiar caregivers, so they can enhance their learning and development through play-based experiences.
This is reflected across our centre, so it is fantastic to be part of the team here at Active Explorers Central City. I value the cultural diversity of our families/whānau and staff, and the promotion of inclusive and bicultural development. I am supported as both a mother and a teacher by my colleagues, as I develop my teaching practice in an environment that is respectful, professional and trusting.
Tatiana Silva, Teacher-in-training, Nursery
Kia Ora Whanau. My name is Tatiana, I am a teacher-in-training and this is my first year of teaching studies. I am a kind and nurturing person and for me it is vital that all relationships are reciprocal - children, parents, whanau and colleagues. Here at Active Explorers Central City you can feel the sense of team environment, we support each other in a respectful and professional manner.
Additionally, having a multicultural teaching team, and also children and families from all over the world provides a unique and rich centre environment that for me is a wonderful, educative and motivating experience as a bilingual teacher-in-training.
Tatiana Woodham, Team Leader, Nursery
Hello, my name is Tatiana. I’ve been a team leader of the nursery for about two years now.
What I love the most about our centre is the people. We have a team of wonderful, caring and dedicated teachers. I feel really supported - both in my professional endeavours and in my family/work balance. We are one big family - teachers, children and the parents.
The programmes that we offer are a real point of difference. There is always something happening for children of all ages, from baking, yoga, and kapa haka, to mindfulness sessions and local excursions.
Sweety Jane Monteiro, Nursery Teacher
Hello, I’m Sweety Jane and I’ve been teaching in the nursery for about eight months now. I migrated from India and am extremely happy to be working in the friendly atmosphere here at Active Explorers Central City.
The primary care giving practices in the nursery help children to build reciprocal relationships with others and makes them feel a sense of belonging. This lays the foundation for them to make sense of the world around them.
Having a multicultural teaching team, whanau and tamariki makes the centre environment rich and helps us share the uniqueness of different cultures. For me it is a learning experience as a bilingual teacher. Additionally, it helps us better understand the perspective of each child and their whanau. I love working at this centre because it gives me these different perspectives and helps me grow as a teacher.
Joanna Moore, Teacher
Kia Ora! My name is Joanna and I have been working as a qualified ECE teacher for 15 years. My journey at Active Explorers Central City began in April 2019 and I have enjoyed every minute of it! The educators, whanau and children have welcomed me openly and I’m excited about working in an active, positive and fun learning environment.
As an educator, I flourish when there is clear communication between educators and whanau, working together to achieve the best learning outcomes for our tamariki ma! Additionally, I enjoy playing an active role in learning environments which are welcoming, challenging, creative and nurturing. This is exactly what I have experienced within our centre.
I look forward to developing reciprocal positive relationships with all children, whanau and educators, and creating a second home for all those who attend Active Explorers Central City.