Meet our teachers

We are a passionate and stable team of teachers, dedicated to knowing and nurturing each child, and providing emotional security for all our children.
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Heidi Greenwood

Principal

Moriah Kindergarten Principal Heidi Greenwood has led the kindergarten since 2002 and worked to develop a real sense of belonging – a place with a heart – at Moriah. She describes it as a family environment where everyone knows each other.

 

“I love seeing the children fully engage in our activities and I believe our successful outcomes are all due to our focus on emotional and social coaching. I love that as a team we are valued and respected for our individual strengths and interests.” 

 

Heidi was awarded a National Excellence in Teaching and Leadership Award for leadership in 2010. The award was recognition of her efforts to lead change at Moriah Kindergarten to create a sustainable, strong and special place with high standards and a caring community.

 

She holds a Bachelor of Education (Teaching) Early Childhood and is fully registered. Her passion for early childhood education was ignited while living on a Kibbutz in Israel for 10 years and working with children.

 

Heidi is Danish and married to a South African with their three children all born in Israel. “Having lived in various countries around the world I have a strong appreciation and respect for my own and other people’s culture and values.”

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Rochelle Kirby

Teacher

Rochelle started her working career in ballet and dance, including teaching it to children. She enjoyed being around young children so much that she did her Diploma of Early Childhood through Wellington College of Education and she is a fully registered teacher. She then worked at various Wellington Early Childhood Centres and spent a few years as Supervisor at Storyplace, the Early Childhood Experience at Te Papa Tongarewa - the Museum of New Zealand.

When she had her own two girls, she was lucky enough to stumble upon Moriah Kindergarten and recognised it as a place of quality childcare with lovely staff who valued family and had a real connection to a community. This appealed to Rochelle so both her own girls attended the Kindergarten and she became involved as an advisor, mentor and chairperson of the Parent Committee. Her own girls went off to Brooklyn Primary School and Rochelle followed them there for six years working as a Teacher Aide. In 2015 she returned to Moriah to work with the fabulous family here again.

 

Rochelle believes, "Children want to learn most when they become inspired by people and things that they love and that truly interest them. A Kindergarten should be a place where there are opportunities for children to have plenty of social experiences in an environment where they can be themselves and feel comfortable about taking another step."

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Sam Treister

Teacher

Providing exciting creative experiences for the children at Moriah Kindergarten is one of teacher Sam Treister’s many strengths. “ I like to tap into childrens’ imaginations, and draw out their ideas. I love using puppets  along with songs and rhymes; language exploration sets the scene for literacy skills  when the children leave for school”.

 

Sam has a Teaching Diploma from Wellington Teachers College, an English Literature Degree from Victoria University and is a registered primary teacher.

 

“I like creating new things from old and it’s fascinating to see what the children can create when given the opportunity and inspiration.”

After teaching new entrants and year 5/6 children at Remuera Primary School, she managed ‘Weird & Wonderful’, a hands-on discovery centre at Auckland Museum, for a number of years. There, she facilitated groups from early childhood up to tertiary level learning about natural history topics.

She returned to Wellington in 1997 and purchased the ‘Lily House’ a ceramic and gift store, before beginning her family. Sam and her husband now have three boys who have all attended Moriah Kindergarten.

While being a ‘stay-at-home mum’, Sam took on various part-time roles, before returning to relief teaching in primary schools and early childhood facilities around Wellington, including Moriah. Currently she also works part time with the elderly as a community worker.

“I love working with these two diverse age groups, both the old and the young give me such wonderful insights into their worlds, and sometimes the behaviours cross over!”

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Chandra Littlewood

Teacher

Chandra comes to us as a teacher after being part of the parent

committee for six years while her three boys were at Moriah. She believes Moriah is a very special place for children and their families and is excited to continue to be part of the Moriah family as part of the amazing teaching team.

 

A qualified Early Childhood teacher, Chandra also has a background in Environmental Education and Conservation.. After training as a Secondary School teacher she worked in Environmental Education for the Department of Conservation working with schools and community groups across Canterbury and Wellington.

"I love the honesty and enthusiasm children bring to the world. They live each day with such a fierce passion and it's a privilege to be part of their learning journey".

Chandra is very passionate about education for sustainability and she believes that children, parents, teachers and their communities all have an important part in this.

 

She is very excited to be leading the Enviroschools programme at Moriah as this supports tamariki to learn about their environment, explore and care for the natural world as well as empowering them to take action for their environment. 

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Madeline Harris

Teacher

Madeline spent most of her life growing up in a small knit community in rural New Zealand, as well as the same overseas in Brunei. Family and community therefore became core values engrained in her from a young age. With both her parents being teachers and valuing it as a passion that asks for nothing back, ECE became the obvious career path for her. She completed her studies at Victoria university, setting her on her future pathway with a Bachelor of Education (Teaching) Early Childhood.

During her studies Madeline was lucky enough to find herself on placement at Moriah Kindergarten and couldn’t help but fall in love with the centre. Walking into Moriah Kindergarten felt like walking into a safe haven, filled with incredible staff, and a welcoming community that valued and loved all children who entered. Once Madeline’s placement was over, she couldn’t let go of Moriah Kindergarten and spent her time relieving when she could whilst studying. When she completed her studies, she was overjoyed to accept a position at Moriah as a full time teacher.

Madeline strongly believes “all children bring with them unique theories and knowledge of the world around them and an ever-growing passion to learn more. Being surrounded by quality care and knowing that they always have a place at Moriah, will help the children to grow up as confident and competent learners, ready to explore.”

Rose Swindells

Teacher

Tēnā koutou e te whānau, he uri ahau ki Airani, Ingarangi hoki. 

I whānau mai ahau ki Kirikiriroa, engari i tipu ake ahau ki Te Matau a Maui.  Ko Bernadette rātou ko Josephine ko Teresa āku tamariki. Ko Rose Swindells taku ingoa.

Hi there Moriah whānau, my ancestors are from England and Ireland and I was born in Hamilton and bought up in Hawkes' Bay. My children are Bernadette, Josephine and Teresa (Tess). My name is Rose Swindells.

My children and I have been members of Houghton Valley Playcentre for 10 years - this is where I developed my real passion for early childhood and its wonderful to continue this at Moriah. During our time at Playcentre I was involved in our Huihuinga Reorua/Bilingual session - building on skills in Te Reo Māori that I have built since being a young person. Kei te ako tonu au, no reira, me korero tātou! I'm still learning - so please lets speak together!

As well as Playcentre my other paid work has families as the focus. For seven years I have been an antenatal educator for Birthwise - I still love seeing expectant parents turn into parents of newborns! I am a facilitator of Incredible Years Parenting Programme. This is a programme for parents with 3-8 year olds and centres around positive guidance and social and emotional coaching. I also work for Respect Ed Aotearoa teaching high schoolers about healthy relationships and consent.

Its truly an honour to work at Moriah and a wonder to see little 2 year olds "graduate" as confident, happy learners when they go to school. I am especially interested in ways we can support our tamariki to develop social and emotional competence - to notice how their feelings feel and then talk about them. A true skill for life!

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Anna Penny

Teacher

Anna grew up on the Kapiti Coast before moving to Wellington Central to study a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Education and Psychology, at Victoria University. Through her studies she developed a passion for inspiring and engaging young minds. After completing her studies, and spending 3 years within the health sector, Anna came across an opportunity to join the Moriah Whānau. Her Māori heritage and experience attending Enviroschools meant Moriah’s values and beliefs aligned perfectly with her own. 

 

Combining her psychology and education knowledge, Anna has taken a holistic approach to teaching, and upon joining the team at Moriah, has felt right at home in an environment/team that creates a safe and welcoming place for children to discover and grow in all aspects of life.

 

 

Anna strongly believes that all children are unique in the way that they learn, form friendships and perceive the world. She aims to nurture children to succeed in the way that is best suited to their individual strengths, cultures and interests, through creating a special bond with each child.