Our People

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Tiffany (Bing) Shi, Centre Manager

What inspired you to become an early childhood teacher?

I found my love for young children when I had my daughter. I felt a strong passion towards young children and wanted to do something that I loved, so I studied early childhood education in the hope of becoming the teacher that I aspired to be. Ten years later and I’m still just as passionate about equipping  tamariki with the learning experiences and skills to become confident, competent, and lifelong learners. I am also committed to empowering and supporting children and their families in the transition to school process.

What do you love most about what you do?

I love making a difference every day to the lives of our children and helping those in need. While my roles may have changed over my teaching career, my passion and love for providing excellence in quality teaching and practice has always remained constant. From being an early childhood teacher to a centre manager, they both are not merely a job to me, but also a passion and a responsibility!

What are three things that make your centre special?

*Our centre is a home away from home – we provide a welcoming and stimulating environment filled with warm and passionate teachers, and the air is filled with our community spirit – the sense of everybody being together and there for each other.

*We use a well-designed transition to school programme to prepare our children to be confident and competent life-long learners.

*Healthy and nutritious meals – we keep processed foods to a minimum, and use natural and open-ended resources that highly value environmental education for sustainability. We teach children to look after the environment around them from a young age by reusing tyres and other forms of plastic for the children to interact with, and using natural resources such as pinecones and wood branches to allow children to explore new textures.

What is your favourite time of the year at the centre, and why?

Personally, it is our Family Days. This is when all the families of our children come together as a community. It is a fantastic time to provide opportunities for the families to get to know each other, talking, spending time together, and becoming one big family.

What is your personal ECE philosophy?

I truly believe that we should create an environment where children feel safe and loved. They need to be respected and cared for with the same degree of respect that we would give to adults. Hence, I have a passion for the RIE, Reggio and Pikler philosophies and feel that providing quality care and nurture for young children is extremely important.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I love spending time with my family, doing yoga, and working out at the gym to keep myself fit and healthy in my body and mind.

New Zealand trained, certified and a fully registered teacher.

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Trudy Neels, Tui Room Teacher

Kia ora my name is Trudy, I enjoy working as part of a wonderful team at Lollipops Albany. I have my Bachelor’s in Teaching (Primary Education) but found a passion for working with children under 5. I love being in the Tui room, as I feel with my primary experience, I can help prepare our tamariki for their next step of going off to school. I enjoy working with the children and their families and helping the children in our care to become confident and capable learners.

Fully registered primary trained teacher

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Michelle Hobson, Tui Room Teacher

Hello, kia ora my name is Michelle. I have two children and one grandchild. I have been working in early childhood education for over 10 years, and mostly in home based education. I moved to working in an early learning centre when I completed my Bachelor of Teaching. I am passionate about child led learning and love exploring and having adventures. Aroha nui.

Provisionally registered teacher

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Dorothy Im, Tui Room Teacher

My name is Dorothy.  I studied a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the University of Auckland. After I graduated, I had an opportunity to teach young children in a kindergarten in Korea. After two years I moved back to New Zealand and studied my Graduate Diploma in Early Childhood Education. I have been working at Lollipops Albany since 2011 and have had two children since being here. Both my children attend Lollipops Albany with me. I believe all children are unique, my teaching philosophy is to provide many opportunities within a free play environment, so children can experience and experiment through their play. Whilst doing this they are building their own knowledge of their world, and learning what their strengths, interests and goals are.

Fully registered teacher

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Keni Qiu, Tui Room Teacher

Hi, my name is Keni. I moved to New Zealand over three years ago with my family. I have a son, who I have had the privilege of raising with my husband and everyday watching him grow has been magical. I love to work with children, and I love to learn alongside the tamariki in our centre. I believe when they see a teacher passionate about learning they too develop that passion and learn alongside you. I love being creative and coming up with creative ways for children to learn. I believe that children learn in many different ways, and we should adapt how we teach them to ensure we are engaging all tamariki.

Provisionally registered teacher

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Jessie Joo, Tui Room teacher

Annyong hase yo, hi, kia ora Lollipops Albany whanau and family. My name is Jessie. I studied my Bachelor of Early Childhood Education and am currently going through my registration. I was born in South Korea and came to New Zealand when I was 13 years old as an international student. I am so excited to be here, and I look for forward to getting to know both you and your child. It is going to be a time full of fun, learning and lots of adventures.

Provisionally registered teacher

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Shanshan Zhong, Head Teacher - Pukeko Room

Kia ora/ni hao! My name is Shanshan Zhong. I come from China and have lived in New Zealand since I was 15 years old. After graduating from high school in New Zealand, I decided to study early childhood and become a teacher. I have worked with various age groups of children for over 10 years.  I also have a five year old son who always ensures my life is full of fun and many surprises.  I value each child’s individuality as every child is unique with different interests, backgrounds and developmental stages. I also believe that quality education and care is achieved through the development of strong partnerships between home and centre.

Fully registered teacher

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Emma Humphries, Pukeko Room Teacher

Hi, I’m Emma. I studied at the Aston Warner Nanny Academy in 2018 and graduated with my Level 5 Diploma in Early Childhood Education. I am looking at continuing my studies and getting my Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood. I am passionate about children’s learning, and I believe that every child has a voice that should be heard. They are all able to make decisions for themselves and plan for their learning, with teachers like me to scaffold and guide them to reach their targets.

Diploma in Early Childhood Education

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Maryam Bahrami, Pukeko Room Teacher

My name is Maryam and I am from Iran. I’ve been in New Zealand for over 10 years, and live with my lovely daughter who is in primary school and my amazing husband. I graduated with my Diploma in Early Childhood Education in 2018. One thing I’ve learnt about being a mum is the importance of communication skills, as well as patience, understanding  their needs, and even just being with them in the moment and enjoying life as much as they do. Everything is so exciting and new to them and it is a great way to see the world.

I am passionate, caring, patient, loving, understanding, open minded and cooperative.I am honoured to work at Lollipops Albany as a new teacher, where I have the privilege of getting to know the children and their parents and family.

Diploma in Early Childhood Education

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Hayley Love, Pukeko Room Teacher

Hi, I’m Hayley, I am new to early childhood education. While I was at high school, I did some Gateway experiences at early learning centres and that’s where my passion for early childhood started. I am passionate about seeing children learn and grow into their own people. I feel honoured being one of the teachers that gets to help them make sense of the world as they develop. I look forward to starting my Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood Education).

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Chanel Morse–Iles, Assistant Manager/Team Leader Chicks Room

Kia Ora my name is Chanel, I am the Team Leader in the Chicks Room and the Assistant Manager for Lollipops Albany.

My passion for children and their learning began when my niece and nephew were born. I studied education majoring in early childhood and have been in the industry for over six years. I strive to create a warm welcoming environment with natural resources. The children are at the heart of what I do every day, they bring as much joy to my life as I hopefully bring to theirs.

Fully registered teacher

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Sarana Nasantogtokh, Kiwi Room Teacher

Kia Ora my name is Sarana, I came from Mongolia and have been living in New Zealand for over 11 years. I have been working at Lollipops Albany for over four years. I strive to create an environment where children feel happy and safe around me as well as in their learning environment. My favourite part of being a teacher is being able to set up activities which will encourage the tamariki to reach their goals and develop their skills.

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Joyce Meldrum, Chicks Room Teacher

Hi, my name is Joyce. I moved from Scotland to New Zealand with my two children in 1986. I love the New Zealand culture, country and casual lifestyle. I thoroughly enjoyed being given the opportunity to raise my children in New Zealand, and now I get to enjoy my grandchildren as well. My greatest passion in life is my family and getting to spend as much time as I possibly can with them. I have worked at Lollipops Albany for more than six years and enjoy the love, fun and adventures we provide the tamariki in our care as they go along their learning journey. We have a great team environment, and we all have the best interests of our tamariki at the heart of everything that we do.

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Jin Kim, Chicks Room Teacher

Hi, my name is Jin. I am originally from Korea. I have over three years’ experience of being a teacher but over five years’ experience of being a mum. I got into early childhood education because of my son. I love my job and helping the tamariki in my care make sense of this amazing world.

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Sophie (Jong Youn) Lee, Centre Cook
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Carolyn Wilson, Centre Administrator