Our People

Rachael Hart
Centre Manager

Centre Manager Rachael Hart began working in early childhood education in 1992, moving into a management role in 2000. As an experienced and passionate early childhood teacher, Rachael strives to ensure that care and education for the children of Lollipops Petone is a fun and memorable experience. With an appreciation for diverse cultures, values, perspectives and ideas, Rachael believes it’s important to build strong relationships between the centre and the community, families and whanau and to acknowledge and support their aspirations. Rachael holds a Bachelor of Education (Teaching) ECE from Victoria University, a Diploma of Teaching ECE and full teacher registration. As Centre Director, she enjoys bringing out the personal strengths within each staff member and is passionate about extending their skills. When she’s not working, Rachael loves to spend time with her son Felix. She and her family enjoy making the most of the great New Zealand outdoors including exploring the beach, local river and parks. 

“Working with and alongside children and their families is my passion. I love creating a fun and secure environment that promotes exploration and play and encouraging children to be inquisitive, independent learners who are confident to contribute and engage.”

Lauren Shugg
Team Leader

Lauren begun working in early childhood education in 2003 and completed her Diploma of Teaching (ECE) in 2006.  Lauren holds full teacher registration.  Lauren joined Lollipops Petone in September 2013 and with her strength and passion for mentoring and leading teams Lauren moved into leadership. 

Lauren lives in Lower Hutt with her husband and Samoyed dog. Family and friends are important and in her spare time she enjoys movies, shopping and renovating their house.    

“I love working with children of all ages and experiencing the fun and challenge each day brings however my real passion and expertise lies with infant care and education.  I have targeted my knowledge and teaching practice to ensure respectful practice and positive outcomes for children and get inspiration from RIE Pickler and Reggio philosophy”

Emilee Dalton
Team Leader

Emilee found her passion in working with children in the early childhood sector when she left school. Emilee holds a Bachelor of Education (Teaching) ECE, a Diploma of Teaching ECE and full teacher registration. As an experienced early childhood teacher with an interest in leading teams, Emilee joined Lollipops Educare Petone in January 2015. 

Emilee lives in Lower Hutt with her partner and young son Jack.  She enjoys DIY around their home and spending time outdoors at local parks and the Hutt River with their dog.  Emilee has an interest in travel, especially within Aotearoa and enjoys spending time at the mountains in winter. 

“I have been fortunate to be able to work with children of all ages and this has built on my knowledge and teaching philosophy.  Working alongside families and whanau to build on positive outcomes for children is my passion and with my interest in leadership and mentoring I feel inspired as a Team Leader.”

Samantha Ives
Team Leader

Samantha begun working in early childhood education in 2008 and never looked back.  Graduating from Victoria University in 2011 and holding a Bachelor of Education (Teaching) ECE and full teacher registration, Samantha has worked with children all ages under five years and joined Lollipops Educare in June 2015.

Samantha lives in Maungaraki Lower Hutt with her husband and young daughter Harper.  Being a home owner there is plenty to do around the house which is also home to their two dogs and cat.  Sam loves adventure and there is always a place to be out having fun with family and friends.  As a keen netballer Samantha’s leadership skills are extended in her work with her team. 

“My passion lies with working with all young children, I love watching them grow, learn, explore and discover the world around them.”

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