Our People

Janine Baker, Centre Manager

What do you love most about what you do?

We make such a difference in ECE.  Social competency, empathy, self-regulation are so integral for life’s journey and it all starts in our early years.  Every day I marvel at the wonders of our children, witness their growth, emotionally, physically and creatively. 

Understanding another’s perspective, being generous with time, listening and creating a sense of belonging is all part of my day – what an amazing job I have!  I love nurturing our amazing team, as well as our babies and have a unique ability to look holistically at people and help them grow.  I am a mother, a matriarch who wants better for our children.  Life has been kind.

What inspired you to get into the early childhood sector?

I spent many years in hospitality, and owned Hammerheads restaurant for over 20 years.  After stepping out of hospitality I decided to work in the early childhood sector.  Knowing NZ has such a strong ECE curriculum, I felt this was where I belonged and could add value.  All the skills I have learnt throughout life, I use here every day, inspiring my team and our children.  It truly feels like all roads led here.

What are your three favourite things about Active Explorers Highbrook?

Wow ONLY three?!  I will try…

  • We are surrounded by an industrial hub.  That brings a beautiful diversity which I doubt our families will ever experience again.  I hope this stays with our children, learning from other cultures and understanding the world.
  • Step inside and you will feel the love instantly, it is tangible.  My team create this, you will know what I am talking about when you arrive.
  • Our eclectic, eccentric, gorgeous team bring a level of creativity that is limitless – resources that you will never find in a brochure, that are based on intentional learning through child led play.

What is your favourite time of the year at the centre?

Obviously we have fun the whole year round, we have a foyer which hosts our seasons with the most amazing displays.  However, my most favourite time is spring/summer.  Our children delight in waterplay – it’s magnificent to see the joy of an infant when they splash and spray.

What are some of the key ways Active Explorers Highbrook sets children up for the future?

At Highbrook, our intentional learning programmes are always evolving.  A play based development where our teams are dedicated to ‘transition’ –  a tool for change.  Our responsibility is to ensure our children maximise all opportunities and experiences at their own unique pace.  How they feel at each transition in their childhood is central in shaping their trajectory and wellbeing.  I know this is true, so our opportunity in a child’s journey is to thoughtfully move through change, feeling supported, safe and confident.  We must ensure our children leave Active Explorers feeling prepared, because when we feel prepared, we feel confident.  Their opportunities will be endless.

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Vanessa Rose, Centre Administrator

I studied early childhood straight after leaving high school and for several years worked in early childhood centres and nannied here and overseas.  An opportunity arose for me to join my father in a family business where I worked for several years in administration and sales.  After having my son, I realised I wanted to return to early childhood because it is a sector I am really passionate about.  My favourite thing about working as centre administrator is seeing all the beautiful smiles that come through our doors, and the wonderful greetings I receive from excited children.