Jenni Potter – Centre Director / Owner
Kia ora, I'm Jenni Potter the Curious Cubs Centre Owner and Director. We opened Curious Cubs Hillcrest in June 2013 and have enjoyed growing and developing an Early Childhood Centre that we are very proud of. I grew up in Hillcrest and qualified from the University of Waikato in 1993 with a Diploma of Teaching Early Childhood Care and Education. I have worked as a teacher and Centre Manager in several early childhood centres in New Zealand and Australia and recently worked as the Education Manager for a group of private Childcare Centres. In the last few years I have undertaken post graduate study and have gained a certificate in Educational Leadership and Management from Unitec in Auckland. I have also spent many years working and travelling the world on board luxury yachts and then worked as a crew and charter yacht agent. My husband Ian, our daughter Chloe and I live in the country near Hamilton and we enjoy relaxing and spending time at our lifestyle property.
Debbie Readhead – Centre Manager
Kia Ora, I’m Debbie, I graduated from WINTEC in 2008 with a Diploma of Early Childhood Education and then in 2012 I upgraded to the Bachelor of Early Childhood Teaching, also at WINTEC. My passion for working with young children began when I was at high school during work experience in a kindergarten. I then began working as a teacher’s assistant before undertaking my studies in 2004. While studying I was working with people who have disabilities; I enjoyed my time down that path but had to follow my passion into early childhood. I enjoy watching children develop their own theories about how the world works by allowing them the time and space to investigate through their play. I love the uniqueness each child brings with them to help build our community of learners and how much we as teachers can learn off the children. I have worked in a range of early childhood settings, from small community based centres to large corporate organisations, I was able to gain a lot of knowledge and experience over the past 12 years in these different settings. I thoroughly enjoyed my position at Curious Cubs Hillcrest as Centre Manager and i am looking forward to the new experiences and challenges here at Curious Cubs City. I have travelled overseas, as well as worked in the UK where I was working in a clothing store. My husband and I had an amazing experience overseas but were happy to return home to New Zealand. We have a daughter Kaia who attends Hillcrest Normal School and a son Mason, who attends Hillcrest Curious Cubs.
Melissa Carley – Team Leader Tigers, Toddlers
Kia Ora, my name is Melissa Carley and I am a qualified nanny and early childhood teacher. I completed my studies at WINTEC here in Hamilton in the year of 2012. My passion lies with the toddler age group where I have spent the majority of my time since training to be a teacher. I am a big believer of respectful practice and ensure that this is adhered to throughout each day. I am looking forward to working with families as partners in their child’s development and learning. Most importantly I am excited to be spending quality time with the children and gaining an understanding of their individual ways of communicating.
Kate Phillips – Team Leader Lions, Young Children’s room
Ki Ora, My name is Kate and I was born and raised in England. I have from a young age had a passion to work and learn alongside children. I have worked in all age groups and love the learning opportunities and wonder that come with each. I trained in the UK from an NVQ3 to a Foundation Degree in Early Childhood Education 0-8 years and with further study became even more passionate. In 2007, my now husband was moving back to New Zealand and I decided to join him. New Zealand became my home and I furthered my study and completed my Diploma in Early Childhood Education. In 2014 we welcomed our first daughter into the world and my love for teaching strengthened watching her milestones and interactions. I took my teaching down a different path of Home-base Educating so I could be with my baby but also provide other social interactions for her as well as keep my passion alive. As we grew we both went back to centre life. In 2016 we completed our family with another daughter, again I returned to home-base Educating. I am now ready to embark on this next stage of our educating journey together at Curious Cubs. When I am not working, I love spending time with my family and friends, getting out and about, being active and creating memories. As a teacher I am energetic, passionate, caring and love learning alongside others, following their individual interests, creating life-long learners who are confident and ready to take on the world around them. I look forward to getting to know you and your child/ren at Curious Cubs. Thanks Kate
Anthea Bennett – Early Childhood Teacher
Kia ora, my name is Anthea Bennett. After working for a number of years in the Banking industry I started my Early Childhood career 12 years ago working with Over Two's as I studied towards my diploma in ECE teaching at Wintec. After I completed my diploma I shifted to working with Under Two’s where I have worked ever since. I also completed my Bachelor in Early Childhood Education in 2009. I thoroughly enjoy this age supporting children as they master skills and gain confidence in their abilities. As a teacher it is my privilege to work with whānau using those relationships to provide opportunities for children to gain a curiosity for life and learning as they develop life-long skills and dispositions. I firmly believe that all children are unique and that we should build on their strengths and let them develop at their own pace. Ko te ahurei o te tamaiti arahia o tatou mahi - Let the uniqueness of the child guide our work.
Meg Gauntlett – Early Childhood Teacher
Kia ora, I’m Meg. I was born and raised in the mighty Waikato and competed a Bachelor of Social Sciences (majoring in Human Development) at the University of Waikato. I then went on to do a Graduate Diploma of Teaching (Early Childhood) through Waikato as well. My husband and I spent a couple of years down in Wellington before moving back up in 2016 to be closer to our families. I love being an early childhood teacher. I love contributing to create a safe emotional and physical environment to encourage the holistic development of confident, unique children. Outside of work, I love anything to do with the outdoors; hiking, beaches, swimming and sports. I also love learning about nutrition and the wellbeing of the body. I am looking forward to this new and exciting time - helping out with the opening of a new centre and meeting all the wonderful new families that will be joining us. Arohanui, Meg.
Laura Hobbs – Early Childhood Teacher
Kia ora I’m Laura, I feel so lucky to have been given to opportunity to work within the infant’s room here at Curious Cubs! I have only just recently finished my bachelor’s degree in teaching (early childhood education) in 2016 and I loved every moment of learning new knowledge so I can enhance and extend the learning and development of all the children I work with. When I’m not working I spend most of my time with my partner Daniel and my amazing family and extended family. For the past three years I have primarily worked with infants and toddlers which provoked my passion of working with this age group and to provide care that is respectful, consistent and authentic, to ensure every child feels safe and secure. My teaching is based around having trust in the child as they communicate through cues and signals what they may need or want. I believe it’s important to not rush their development but to enhance it as they move through many different stages, I like to allow the child to lead their own learning. I look forward to being a part of the Curious Cubs team and to get to know you and your child.
Dorothy Whitham – Early Childhood teacher
Kia ora, I'm Dorothy Whitham and I am very excited to be joining the Curious Cubs whanau! Years ago, I was an Au Pair in Ireland, this is where I found my passion for working with children. When I returned home, I enrolled at The University of Waikato to study and achieve a bachelor of teaching in Early Childhood. For the last 5 years I have worked and learnt alongside an amazing preschool team and I am now ready to share my knowledge with our Curious Cub Whanau! During those 5 years I gained incredible experience, working with others and helping to create an amazing environment, with many learning experiences for the tamariki. I thrive on planning and following through with new projects and learning opportunities for everyone involved. I am also mum to my fabulous 6 year old son, who is great fun and attends Hillcrest Normal Primary School. I look forward to teaching, learning and sharing new experiences with you all!
Anna Boston – Early Childhood Teacher
Hello my name is Anna. I am excited to be joining the toddler team at Curious Cubs. My passion for early childhood education began after observing my twins and youngest child build awesome relationships with teachers and tamariki and exceling in an early childhood centre. These experiences really inspired me to go and study and enter the early childhood sector, I graduated from Wintec with a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education in 2013. I believe parents are children’s first teachers and they set children up to succeed in life with their nurturing and love. ECE teachers help children prepare for life through providing stimulating environments and assisting problem solving skills in a kind and respectful manner. My personal interests include swimming, gardening and reading. I also like to provide messy play, water, art activities and music for children of all ages. I am a mother of five children, Mason and Adam who attend St John’s College, Zane, Chanel and Troy who attend St Columba’s school. As a family we enjoy watching comedy movies and having a great laugh. We also enjoy any activities outdoors (big rugby fans) and exploring our great country. I look forward to getting to know you all, being a great role model for your tamariki and building trusting relationships with families.
Ashleigh Thomas – Early Childhood teacher in training
Hello my name is Ashleigh. I am currently in my final year of studying towards the Bachelor of Teaching. I have been working in Early Childhood Education for the past two and a half years and have spent most of this time working with the under twos. Working with this age group has made me realise that I am very passionate about this age and enjoy supporting the children to reach their milestones. I strive to build strong, trusting relationships with each child and their whānau within my care. I love to create an environment where the children and their families feel a great sense of belonging and inclusiveness. I’m very nurturing towards the children and their well-being and love to encourage them to create, explore, trust and make sense of their world. In my spare time I love to spend this with family and friends exploring the outdoors and what nature has to offer. My partner and I also love to go camping up North and explore our beautiful country. I am very excited to be a teacher at Curious Cubs and embark on this wonderful new journey together.
Hazel Hawkins – Early Childhood Teacher in Training
Kia ora, my name is Hazel Hawkins. I am very excited to be joining the Curious Cubs team. I am originally from England, however have been living in New Zealand for almost 6 years. I am a teacher in training and have completed 1 ½ years of my Bachelor of teaching. In England I have a level 3 Diploma in childcare and education and recently completed my level 3 in Porse home care education certificate here in New Zealand. I have had the great pleasure in working in early childhood settings for just over 14 years, predominantly working with toddlers. Throughout these years I have taken on roles such as teacher, room leader, au pair, Nanning and my newest venture of being a mum to my 7 month old little girl called Quinn. I pride myself on being professional, honest and caring. I continually work on building strong, open and positive relationships with everyone around me. My favourite part of teaching is watching the children grow and develop into their own little person. I look forward to getting to know each and everyone here in the Curious Cubs family and creating wonderful new journeys together.
Vickiee McGillan – Early Childhood Teacher in Training
Kia ora my name is Vickiee and I am currently in my 3rd year of study of Bachelor of Early Childhood Education. I have been a reliever for the last two years and have spent that time working with children from the age of 2 ½ to 5-year olds. I was born and raised in Hamilton and am a proud aunty of 7 nieces and 3 nephews and am the only girl of 5 children. In my spare time, I love to spend time with my amazing family and coach a young marching team. I am thrilled to have this opportunity to work alongside your tamariki to help them explore, grow and develop in their daily routine. I am very passionate about teaching and find children reaching their milestones very inspiring. I am very excited to be joining the team at Curious Cubs and look forward to meeting you all.
Shannon Finch – Early Childhood Teacher in Training
Kia ora, my name is Shannon. I love the outdoors, I enjoy kayaking, tramping, swimming, camping, mountain biking, rock climbing and adventure racing. I also play netball for the Frankton club and soccer for the Hamilton Wanderers. Last year I spent three months in Pennsylvania, United States working at a Summer camp with children. Those three months at Summer Camp are what made me decide to work with children. I joined the Curious Cubs team at the start of 2017 as a reliever and I am extremely excited to become a part of the preschool team permanently. I am going to be studying a bachelor of teaching (ECE) starting in February 2018. I thrive watching children develop new skills and try new things in different areas of their physical and mental wellbeing. I can't wait to see what my time here at Curious Cubs has to offer.
Hello, my name is Linda and I am so privileged to be working with such lovely staff, families/whanau at Curious Cubs. My background is mostly in Healthcare working with the elderly, people with disabilities, working alongside children with Autism, Asperger's syndrome, Global Developmental Delay and Epilepsy. I have also been a Nanny in New Zealand and overseas. I have 5 grown up Sons and 4 gorgeous Grandchildren. My family and I have lived in quite a few countries including Australia, Saudi Arabia, Inner Mongolia, and India and have had fantastic experiences in each country. I like rugby, swimming, paddle boarding, kayaking and doing a load of family activities. I have a very nurturing disposition and I am thrilled to be working alongside your children and watching them grow into their own little person. To help them explore, develop, create, investigate and understand new things daily. I am a very approachable person who will help you, listen to you or just have a chat to you. I look forward to meeting with you all and having loads of fun.
Nikki Bush – Administrator
Kia Ora. I’m Nikki, I was born in the UK and raised by two wonderful parents. I moved to New Zealand in 2000 with my kiwi husband Russell and our 3 wonderful children, who have all grown up now. Russell and I became grandparents for the first time to a gorgeous baby boy this year, which is such a tremendous feeling. In my spare time I enjoy gardening and spending time with my family. I became a New Zealand citizen last year, which I am proud to call myself a kiwi. I was a stay at home mum until our youngest child started school. I went back to work in 2005 where I worked at a well known supermarket chain in the office dealing with accounts, cash handling and other office duties. I left in 2012 to work as an administrator in an early learning childhood centre, it was then I realised this was the best job for me! I love greeting the children and their families each morning and personally getting to know them all. In 2017 I am delighted to have joined Curious Cubs, where I am looking forward to developing a great relationship with all our whanau through good communication.
Schirlei De Andrade – Centre Chef
Kia Ora, My name is Schirlei, I'm very excited to be part of the Curious Cubs team. I recently moved from Auckland with my partner, to stay close to my stepson, I have worked as a chef for the last 10 years in New Zealand, 5 years of that working with kids, helping them to grow healthy...eating healthy. I'm graduated as a Teacher (Portuguese grammar) and I have a diploma of Nutrition and Cooking. I look forward to preparing delicious and nutritious meals for your tamariki.