Meet our Staff

Sue Wilson

Manager of Henry Street
Diploma of Teaching (Early Childhood Education)

Sue Wilson

Hi my name is Sue Wilson and I have been the manager of Henry St Zigzagzoo since October 2015. I have been working and studying within the Early Childhood Education since 1989 and completed my Diploma of Early Childhood Education (0-6) in 1999. I have had many exciting opportunities within the Early Childhood industry and have been teaching, managing and setting up education centres for over 25 years.

Throughout my career I have seen many changes and improvements to the quality of care for all of our children with the teaching standards improving and becoming more professional. My personal philosophy is one of respect for our children, our families and our teachers and to ensure there is quality of care and education at all times. I have much knowledge and experience to support our educators to grow and become the best that they can be with the children experiencing all that we can share with them to learn a love of learning.

  

Steph Stelin

Team leader Fantail room

Steph Stelin

Kia Ora(Hello),

I'm Steph, or as the children call me, Stephie.

I am a fully qualified and registered early childhood teacher and started working in the Kindy Room here at Zig Zag Zoo Henry Street in March 2017 when I first moved to Queenstown. In July 2017 I moved to the infant/toddler room and became the team leader.  Previous to living here, I lived in Auckland and worked in Early Childhood Education for 4 years with a range of ages 0-5yrs since graduating from my degree in education back in 2012.

I moved to Queenstown for the hiking and run my own hiking group for fun! I am very much an outdoors person and I plan to be in Queenstown indefinitely as I really love it here!

Mā te wā (See you later)

 

Ruth Chapman-Olla

Fantail room
Studying Education Psychology

Ruth Chapman-OllaHi there, my name is Ruth,

I am originally from the UK and have been living in New Zealand for the past sixteen years. I moved to Queenstown seven years ago with my now husband. I have spent the last six years working in early childhood, four of those years have been spent working with Infant and toddlers. I began as a volunteer before gaining a job as a permanent reliever, this progressed to becoming an unqualified teacher in an Infant and toddler room.

I began working at Zigzagzoo Henry Street two years ago after having time off to have my little boy, during this time I began studying a BA in Education Psychology through Massey University. The experience of having my little boy reinforced my belief in the importance of respectful care for the children under two.

I love the relationships we create with children and families and feel strongly that we are here to create an environment with a strong sense of belonging and trust so parents and carers feel confident in leaving their amazing children in our care.

"Its not enough that babies receive good care the care must be excellent" Magda Gerber

 

Lovitha Karunakaran

Teacher Fantail room
Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning (Primary)
Post Graduate Diploma In Education (Early Years), NZ

Lovitha Karunakaran

My career in teaching begun after graduating from Canterbury University at the end of 2011 as a primary teacher. I did a bit of relieving at schools around Queenstown before beginning work in 2013 at ZigZagZoo Henry Street. I worked here for about 3 years before deciding to undertake a Post Graduate Diploma in Education through Massey University. Now that I have completed my study, I have returned to ZigZagZoo Henry Street to work with infant and toddlers.

I was born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I moved to Queenstown, New Zealand with my family in 2005 and it has been my home ever since. I love living in Queenstown and working in a small community. I enjoy working with young children and building a great foundation of learning with them. I want to provide children with challenges in a safe and caring environment where they are able to learn at their own pace. I love reading, dancing, singing, art and craft, going for nature walks, and spending time with my husband and some very close friends.

I very much believe in and strive to provide an environment inspired by the Reggio and RIE philosophies and I look forward to being a part of the children's individual and group learning journey's here are Zig Zag Zoo!

 

Amy Grieshaber

Fantail room & Kindergarten Room
Health and Social Care (BTEC) (UK)

Amy Grieshaber

Hello my name is Amy. I am from England and studied Health and Social Care at college. I got my first job at preschool after I had finished college and worked there for three years until I decided to move to New Zealand. My best friend lived in Queenstown so that’s where I decided to live. I have been living in Queenstown for one year and absolutely love it.

I started working at Zigzagzoo as soon as I arrived and feel that I have learnt so much and gained knowledge from our teachers and especially the children. I am very lucky to work in both rooms which I love and gives me the opportunity to continue to learn about the children’s development and how they learn.

I feel very privileged to have met some amazing teachers, children and families whilst being with Zigzagzoo and enjoy each and every day that I am here.

 

Alana Smith

Kindergarten Team Leader and Educational Leader
Bachelor of Education (ECE)

Alana SmithKia Ora, Ko Alana toku ingoa, Ko Ngati Porou toku iwi, Ko Queenstown toku kainga.

I am the Team Leader in the Kindergarten room and have enjoyed working at Zigzag Zoo over a year. I have had over 10years experience teaching children in primary, intermediate and early childhood education within New Zealand, and more recently in Seoul, South Korea. I completed my Bachelor of Education Teaching (Early Childhood Education) degree while working & studying full time in Auckland. After 7 years of working in the same early childhood centre in Auckland I was offered a position teaching 6 and 7 year old children in Seoul, South Korea.

While initially studying in the primary school sector I gained valuable experience in planning & assessment of children aged 5 to 12 years of age, covering all areas of the learning and teaching curriculum within the New Zealand curriculum framework. Relief teaching in an early childhood centre soon led to managing an after school programme and eventually securing a permanent teaching position in a Reggio Emilia inspired centre in Auckland. This is where my passion for teaching children in the early years was realised. The Kindergarten room is where I enjoyed teaching for 7 years prior to moving overseas and ultimately moving to Queenstown. I have gained invaluable practical experience during my teaching career so far, in a variety of schools & centres, within diverse socio-economic areas & with a multitude of different nationalities.

My teaching philosophy is continually evolving as I believe we are all life-long learners. My teaching practice is influenced by the Reggio Emilia approach, viewing each child as beautifully unique individuals, who are competent, confident and infinitely capable, creative and intelligent beings. I believe our job as teachers is a reciprocal exchange of teaching and learning, we are here to support children and challenge their thinking so they learn and grow to their highest potential.

 

Laura Rosser

Kindergarten Room
BA Honours in Early Childhood Education (UK)

Laura RosserHi there, I’m Laura Rosser and I was born in Wales, UK.

My love of teaching began when I finished collage and worked at a day nursery in Wales, during my time here I enrolled on a childcare, learning and development course.

I then went on to study a BA in Early Childhood at Trinity Wales Saint David University and continued my journey in two separate primary schools. I gained a vast amount of experience that ignited another passion of mine, which is the outdoors. Here I had the opportunity to work alongside children in a forest school environment. I truly believe the outdoors nurtures the holistic development of a child and increases their love and respect for nature.

My philosophy has developed over the years, I view children as capable and confident individuals. I believe that it is not our job to ‘teach’ but to learn alongside children as ‘partners in learning’. Not to lead the way, but to provide a rich environment that supports endless learning.

I am extremely grateful to have the opportunity to learn alongside the children at Zig Zag Zoo, to share their wonders of the world and to ignite their passion for learning!

 

Donna MacRae

Kindergarten room
B.A   Education & Social Services

Donna MacRae

My name is Donna MacRae and I am a Early Years Teacher from Scotland

I have over ten years of experience in working with children aged 0-17 in a variety of settings in the U.K, Australia and New Zealand. I worked at Zigzagzoo Remarkables Park in 2014.

I was delighted to return to New Zealand in 2016 where I have been working in the Kindy room here at Zigzagzoo, Henry Street.

I have always had a passion for working with children and young people and believe that a positive early years experience is essential in a child being able to reach their full potential. Children should feel safe, secure and loved in order to flourish and become effective learners.  I am inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach to learning and feel that giving children freedom of choice is a positive and respectful approach to teaching which enables them to learn through their play.