Our People

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Kimberley Fryer, Centre Manager

What inspired you to become an early childhood teacher?
When my daughter was an infant, I saw what a difference it made to have an adult caring primarily for a child. We developed a close, trusting relationship and I became interested in ways that I could support her learning (at that stage it was her desire to get moving!). I began reading about infant brain development and was surprised to learn that how children develop in the first five years of life, affects their life-long outcomes. I knew that I wanted to be part of ensuring that those first five years creating positive life-long outcomes for children.

What do you love most about what you do?
I love mentoring and working with our teachers each day. I am proud to have the pleasure and privilege of leading our team, mentoring and guiding their teaching practice. I love the learning that happens for everyone when we share our ideas, and perspectives and then collaborate with each other to improve our teaching practices and the learning for children. It’s exciting to see their development and confidence grow, and the flow on effect of this for children and whanau.
I love working with whanau, learning about their needs and educating them about our unique centre philosophy. It’s special when families return to the centre again when their second or third child is born, and we’re able to pick up our relationship again. We have a great centre community here at Active Explorers Grenada where everyone helps everyone. It’s exciting to be part of that and to have the support of the community to shape our teaching practices.

 

What does your leadership look like?

I’m a collaborative and compassionate leader and I lead from alongside our team. I believe in providing an environment where teachers can try new approaches, ideas and strategies, and then we can evaluate these as a team. We have regular team meetings and informal team events which help to develop our positive team culture and continue our strong relationships with each other. I believe open communication and an environment where we acknowledge each other as learners is important. I enjoy mentoring teachers and celebrating with them as their teaching practices create positive experiences for our tamariki. I believe centre policies are our foundational platform so I always share the updated policies with the team and with parents (if appropriate) as they come to hand. I have a love of internal evaluation for improvement as I like to be able to see our developments and learning over time.

What are some of the things that make your centre special?
First and foremost, our dedicated teaching team, most of whom have worked at Active Explorers Grenada for 3+ years. It is special when whanau return to the centre with their second or third child and can pick up the relationship with the same teachers again. We have a strong mentoring programme for provisionally registered teachers that develops our provisionally registered teachers and also our emerging leaders within the centre.

Our philosophy is very special, as it is inspired by the principles of RIE and Pikler. Seeing these principles brought to life each day and the positive effect of this on the learning and development of children is a delight. We use the primary caregiving approach to ensure that every family has at least one special teacher in their child’s room who knows them and their child really well. I have a particular soft spot for our wee infants and love seeing how empowered they feel when we provide them with the time and space to explore their movements and abilities at their own pace.

We run enrichment programmes at our centre -Baby Yoga, Jingle Jam and Hey Dee Ho music which are a highlight each week for tamariki and kaiako.


We’re lucky to have four individual spaces that cater to each of the different age groups (Kakano, Koru, Rakau and Ngahere). Each space provides age-appropriate learning experiences and challenges. These environments are always being enhanced as teachers notice children’s interests and share ideas to bring these interests into the environment.

Our location is pretty spectacular too amongst the hills in Grenada Village. We even have pukeko visit our carpark sometimes! We are truly part of our community and work together with whanau to ensure that their aspirations for their child are met.

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Lynda Hopkin, Head Teacher

Kia Ora, My name is Lynda Hopkin.

I have been working in Early Childhood Education since 1996 and graduated with a Diploma of Teaching (ECE) in December 2006. While working as a head teacher I was awarded an ASG National Excellence in Teaching Award in 2014.
I have been working at Active Explorers Grenada as a head teacher since 2018, supporting all rooms of the centre.  Prior to this I worked at a community creche for 21 years and as a reliever at a kindergarten where I supported two children with additional learning needs.

What do you love most about what you do?

I have always had a yearning to work with children as a nurse. When I had my own children I worked at the local kindergarten, before taking on a role at a community creche.

Working with children is inspiring. I am a dedicated and loyal employee and build strong relationships with whanau. I love working with children and their whanau in a partnership to support each child’s learning and development as the responsive and reciprocal relationships empower children to be confident and competent learners. I believe children learn through play and collaboration with others and with the guidance of an adult who can inspire them to be curious about their world around them. Now that I have two grandchildren of my own, my work has become more important to me.

It is easy to be passionate about teaching when you are valued and respected for your time spent supporting the learning and development of yourself and you have the opportunity to develop yourself to be a better educator.

What are your hobbies and interests outside of teaching?
I love rugby (the All Blacks and Hurricanes), Softball, and hockey. My hobbies are related to supporting my family in their sport. Now that I have grandchildren, I spend time teaching them too.

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Mary Holmes, Head Teacher

Kia Ora, My name is Mary and I’ve been with Active Explorers since 2014. During this time, I’ve worked in our Rakau, Koru and Kakano rooms and also had my daughter, who attends our centre with me.

My degree is in photographic design. This is just so that I could hear my mother say “I told you so” when I started my Post-graduate degree in teaching (ECE). It was clear from an early age that I loved children and was meant to be a teacher.

What inspired you to become and Early Childhood Teacher?
I come from a big family and when I was 15, my first niece was born and towards the end of my studies, my nephew was born, followed 18 months later by another niece. I spent a lot of time looking after them and it renewed my interest in studying ECE.

What do you love most about what you do?

I love the relationships I build through my mahi. I have been privileged enough to look after 4 children from the same family which has been an amazing experience. I also get to build relationships with my fellow teachers and I love to share my love and knowledge of child development with them and with centre whanau. It’s exciting to see your colleagues learning and our centre practices growing. 

What are your hobbies and interests outside of teaching?

In my spare time I love to spend time with my daughter, sew and garden. I love animals so spend a lot of time at Wellington Zoo.

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