Meet the Team

MEET THE TEAM

Fran-MacNamara

Fran MacNamara

Operations Manager

NZ Fully Registered Early Childhood Teacher

I graduated from Dunedin Teachers College in the mid 70’s and began my teaching career in the Kindergarten service. In the early 90’s I opened my own Early Childhood Centre catering for children aged from birth to 6 years. I also owned two After School and School Holiday Care Centres. In 2000 I was lucky enough to participate in a study tour to Italy to experience the Reggio Emilia Centres and their programmes in action. This opportunity inspired me to incorporate this programme which builds upon the interests of children into the ZigZagZoo’s teaching philosophy. This has increased my belief in providing a child-centred programme based upon respect and empowerment. I was approached to open ZigZagZoo Henry Street at the beginning of 2011 and extremely enjoyed the challenge of establishing, licencing and then leading the teaching team. I moved from Henry Street to establish ZigZagZoo Copper Beech Ave in July 2013. I am very passionate about Early Childhood Education and believe in establishing awesome teaching teams, trusting relationships with all the families and advocating for the rights of every individual child. I love what I do and enjoy going to work every day!


 

Central Queenstown

Sinead

Sinead Harrington

Centre Manager

Kia ora, My name is Sinead the Centre Manager of Zig Zag Zoo Henry Street. I have been teaching in Early Childhood Centres in the Wakatipu district since 2009 and love seeing the faces who I have taught over the years out about in our community. As a Mum myself you will often see me out and about on the weekend at the pool, parks, or many of the other family friendly places. As a teacher I empower children to develop their independence, feel safe and secure in being who they are and develop the social skills and resiliency needed as they progress through life ready to embrace the adventure. I look forward to meeting you soon!

Mehek-M

Mehek Manwani

Student Teacher

Currently studying Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Early Childhood) through NZTC

Kia Ora! My name is Mehek and I am a kindy teacher at Zig Zag Zoo. I like working there due to its multicultural environment. I am currently pursuing a Graduate Diploma in Teaching. I have been working with children for the past two years. It has always been of great interest to me caring, loving and working with children. I consider myself as a hardworking and self-motivated individual. I identify myself as an empathetic and caring teacher who wants all children to be successful learners. My goal in life is to get qualified, get heaps of experience as an early childhood teacher and be in a position where I’m able to make real positive changes to children, parents and community. I feel that my passion to do this and love for children will enable me to achieve this goal.

Koshila

Koshila Eleng

Teacher Aide

Kia Ora I’m Koshila and I am originally from Malaysia, where I studied Postgraduate Diploma in Primary Teaching. I began my teaching career in the Malaysian Vernacular Primary Schools. In 2015, my husband and I moved to the most beautiful place on earth - New Zealand. I worked as a caregiver in a few childcares in Invercargill and also worked in After School Day Care. In 2018, we were blessed with a baby girl. We spend most of our time with our daughter and enjoy seeing her growing and learning new things every day. Being a mother gives me the opportunity to see a child from a mother’s perspective. I believe this helps me to understand each child’s uniqueness. My philosophy is based on the holistic approach of Te Whariki which recognise and supports the enhancement of each tamariki’s mana. I believe every tamariki are born with a special talent and this talent can be developed when they are given opportunity to explore new things. Currently, I am on the process of getting my NZ teacher’s registration.

Bec

Rebecca Robertson

Hi! My name is Bec. I am Holly’s mum, I am also a mum to 4 other children! As an owner of a yoga school, my passion is bringing together movement, music and nature. I love to share this with the children in an early childhood setting by using stories, rhymes and rhythm, they are always so engaged with these activities. It is a pleasure to see the joy that they get from developing their mind and body connecting in a fun way. I am also a lawyer and love to work with the children on developing confidence in expressing their thoughts, ideas and views using words. It is wonderful to watch the children learn to feel comfortable in sharing within a group setting. I am from Australia, but my family now lives in Queenstown. I love being outside as much as possible, so Queenstown really is the perfect home for us. Thank you for having me at Zig Zag Zoo. We have been coming to Zig Zag Zoo since Holly was a tiny baby - It feels like home to us!


 

Remarkables Park

INFANT ROOM

Harpreet-Kaur-Ahluwalia

Harpreet Kaur Ahluwalia

Infant Room Team Leader

Bachelors of Education (Primary), India; Graduate Diploma in Early Childhood Education, New Zealand

Kia ora! My name is Harpreet Ahluwalia and I am a fully qualified and registered teacher. Originally, I am from India and I have been living in New Zealand for over 10 years now. I feel privileged to call Queenstown home and could not imagine living anywhere else more beautiful. My passion for working with infants and toddlers began when I first started working with this age group in Auckland in 2010. My image of children and notions of what quality childcare looks like forever changed and thus began another journey fueled by a desire to know about the works of Magda Gerber and Dr. Emmi Pikler. I completed the Graduate Diploma in Early Childhood in 2011 and have worked with infants and toddlers since then. I am passionate about working with infants and providing an environment in which they can grow and thrive in their own individual time and space. My personal philosophy is one steeped in respect for all that we do for our children and their families. Children are capable of so much more than what we expect of them, therefore respecting them and their ability to do these things in their own time is a core part of my philosophy. I also believe that the environment (the third teacher) plays a huge part in our children’s learning and development, so I strive to create an atmosphere that is inviting, calming, engaging, full of sensory, rich and natural resources, which our children can explore freely. I started working at ZigZagZoo Early Learning Centre in March 2018 and was very grateful to attend the RIE® Foundations: Theory and Observation in February 2019. As the team leader of the Infant room, I am privileged to be able to advocate for our youngest tamariki. Through respectful practices and building relationships with both tamariki and their whānau, my team and I strive to create an environment where infant and toddlers can be active participants in their care and learning and where our aim is to raise capable, confident and authentic children.

Camila

Camila

TEACHER

Kia Ora!

 My name is Camila and I’m from Argentina. I have lived in Queenstown since October 2019 and I’m very grateful to live in a beautiful and natural environment with a welcoming community spirit.

 I have a part degree in Bachelor of Educational Psychology. I also have experience in working with children with several disabilities. As I grew up surrounded by nephews and cousins, I developed a passion for teaching and working with children from an early age.

I am happiest when working with children in supporting them on their own learning path, providing a safe and reliable place for them to play and encouraging them to feel confident.

Georgia

Georgia

teacher

Kia Ora, my name is Georgia and I’m from Nelson, New Zealand. I have worked as an ECE teacher and nanny both here and various locations around the world for the past 11 years. During this time, I have also earned a Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood) and continued to further my studies by attending professional development courses. I am a passionate ECE Teacher, I can’t wait to get to know you and your family whilst supporting your child on their learning journey. As a keen traveller, I have lived in the United Kingdom, France and Abu Dhabi. I love adventure and I can’t wait to make the most of what Queenstown has to offer. 

KINDY ROOM

Debra

Debra

team leader - kindergarten room

Kia Ora, My name is Debra and I am the team leader in the kindergarten room. Working together with my wonderful team we focus on getting tamariki and whānau ready to embark on their next big adventure at primary school. I am a qualified primary teacher from Scotland and have a master’s degree in primary education and an undergraduate degree with honours in psychology. I worked in an autism friendly school with a language and communication unit and a nurture room. My speciality was reintegrating children with attachment disorder or additional special needs into mainstream education.

I am passionate about the nurturing approach and play based learning and am motived and dedicated to helping children become resilient, happy and confident learners and pride myself in creating a safe, inviting and engaging environment to learn in. Prior to working at Zig Zag Zoo I worked at the Academy within Kip Mcgrath to introduce Lego Therapy and programs for children finding it tricky to learn in mainstream education.

Consuelo

Consuelo

TEACHER

Kia ora, my name is Consuelo and I'm from Chile! I came to New Zealand back in December 2014. My idea was to stay only a year, but fate had a different plan for me, so I decided to stay. In May 2015 I moved to Queenstown. I always wanted to be a teacher. My older sister is a teacher too and I always wanted to follow that path. That’s why when I graduated high school I studied teaching in college – specializing in Asperger Syndrome and Autism. After I graduated college, I worked in an international preschool. There I had the privilege of working with families from all different backgrounds, a privilege I also have working at Zig Zag Zoo.

My philosophy is that in life we are constantly learning. Therefore, I am grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given in life, which have made me grow as a teacher, but also as a human being. I’m very happy to be part of this team and I hope to be a very positive contribution to every whanau.

Seema

Seema

Teacher

Kia Ora! My name is Seema and I am a provisional registered teacher. I am from originally from India and have been living in New Zealand for four years. I studied Bachelor of Education in India and started my teaching career from Sacred Heart Convent School where I taught kindergarten children for two years. In year 2017, I moved to one of the most beautiful places on earth – New Zealand! I studied GD in Mentoring and Professional leadership course and TER Course.

I am very impressed with the principles of Te Whāriki, which empowers children to learn and grow by providing a rich and respectful environment that enables them to grow their capabilities across all dimensions. Working with children provides me with the opportunity to develop a new purpose each day and to develop children into confident, self-sufficient learners.

Simone

Simone

Teacher

Originally from Namibia, I am an ex-home-schooling mum to four fabulous children. I completed my studies in Early Years Education whilst working in a Kindergarten and supervising an Out-of-School and holiday club in the UK. After arriving in NZ in 2008, I completed my degree, specialising in Primary Teaching through the University of Auckland.

I love discovering the wonders of our world alongside my little friends and find that roles are often reversed as I learn new things through their unbiased exploration of concepts and situations. I spend my free time longboarding, writing poetry and enjoying all manner of creative pursuits – many of which I can share with the cherished children I am privileged to spend time with at Zig Zag Zoo.

TODDLER'S ROOM

Anna-Nel

Anna Nel

Kindy Room

Degree in Early Childhood Development, South Africa

Kia Ora! My name is Anna and I’m from South Africa. I’ve been working in ECE in New Zealand for three years. I earned my degree in Early Childhood Development from the University of South Africa with a specialisation in the Foundation Phase (Early primary years). I am passionate about the holistic approach of Te Whariki, having a child-led programme and recognising and supporting the enhancement of each tamariki’s mana. I am a teacher in the Kindergarten Room and enjoy the process of supporting and observing tamariki prepare and grow as they prepare for their big, primary school adventure. I look forward to meeting you! Nga mihi nui

Haylee

Haylee

Teacher

Kia Ora, my name is Haylee and you will find me in the Toddler’s room. I am currently working towards my Diploma in Business Management and Marketing, which I do through Otago Polytechnic as a distance student. I enjoy building relationships with tamariki and their whanau and supporting them during their time here at Zig Zag Zoo. I am passionate, enthusiastic and so happy we have such a positive teaching team. Outside of the centre, my hobbies include bush walks, snowboarding and cooking. I look forward to expanding my knowledge within the ECE sector and having lots of fun along the way!

Steffi

Steffi

Teacher

Hi, I’m Steffi, I am a qualified Nutrition and Health Coach, from Queenstown. I have been working at Zig Zag Zoo as part of the Toddler teaching team for over 2 years now. I am passionate about early learning and encouraging confidence, resilience and wellbeing in our tamariki. In my spare time, I have an interest in psychology - particularly the impact early childhood has on the brain. I’m very grateful to be a part of such an important stage of life and find so much joy in working with children.

Teresa

Teresa

Teacher

I started out teaching in 1996 and worked through until 2008. During this period, I worked with 2-5 year olds. In 2008 I took up a position at Annabel’s Educare in Arlington, Rangiora. I started off in the preschool and was then asked to move through to the nursery. This was my first experience in a nursery and I absolutely loved it. I have learnt so much in the time I have been there. I am originally from Glenorchy and have now moved back to Queenstown full time to be closer to family. In my spare time I love to sew, make crafts of different kinds, exercise and spend time with my family. I am really looking forward to this next stage in my teaching career here at Zig Zag Zoo.

ADMIN STAFF

Tamara Middleton

Tamara Middleton

admin staff

My name is Tamara, I work in the office but also around the centre where needed. My background is in Hospitality. Working now at ZigZagZoo is a big but lovely change. I am originally from England but have lived in Queenstown for the past 7 years with my husband and daughter. We fell in love with the wonderful scenery and kindness of the people here. I have always loved being around children and look forward to new adventures here at the Zoo and watching the children grow and learn.