Handpicked early childhood education experts
We are happy, warm, fun and passionate about child care and early childhood education.
We can't wait to welcome your child and find out what makes them special.
Founder & Managing Director
Tracey's enormous heart discerns the world through the needs of those around her, and her greatest joy is to help every beautiful person feel valued, cared for, and understood.
As a successful midwife of many years, she bonded with mums and babies and saw their struggles when it came time to look for childcare and go back to work. She is famous for saying "we are modern mums with stone age babies", and always wished there was a way to match the realities of working parents with a kinder and more nurturing solution.
She had visions of orchards and gardens, natural toys and furniture, good old-fashioned values, and home-grown, home-cooked meals.
She dreamed of teachers that were passionate learners, advocates for children, partners with parents, and brought their best selves to work every day.
She wanted city children to be able to run through grass and trees, fall in love with animals, and learn about the natural world around them.
Old MacDonald's is Tracey and husband Johnny's labour of love for all parents and children. She is celebrating our opening with extra-long bubble baths and lots of family snuggle time.
Staff and Education Manager
Our Hippie at heart, Karyn, thrives off our tamariki’s zest for life and sees immense importance in teaching peace among our young ones. Karyn has worked in childcare for 32 years, with a now 23-year-old Daughter, Hope, and her Mokopuna, Carter, who is an incredibly loved and energetic 2-year-old, currently in our Shoots classroom at Old MacDonald’s.
Karyn is exceptionally resourceful, often spending her days off rummaging through op-shops, finding creative value in all loose parts she may come across for the centre. A rich and luxurious autumn red is Karyn’s favourite colour, possibly originating from her days of bush walks as a child. Karyn, full of love and passion has to ability to settle the most anxious of minds, a sit down and a chat is what Karyn does best, the perfect qualities of a successful Staff and Education Manager.
Shelley is your eyes and ears on the ground when you are not around. She knows all, sees all, and takes care of all the ins-and-outs that help you out. Say hello and keep her on speed-dial—you'll be sorted before you can say "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious".
A super-doer and admin all-rounder, Shelley's also super-mum of Stella , Jake and Tamsyn , and super-wife to Joe. She grew up on a farm helping her Dad feed out, so is super-qualified to keep Old MacDonald's running ship-shape.
The things kids say bring a smile to her day, and she loves to watch them learn about real life through both fun and boundaries.
Caring, efficient and down-to-earth, Shelley's inner party-animal is King Julian from Madagascar. She loves to let loose with water sports, snowboarding, mountain biking, and fun in the sun with family and friends.
What's that scrumptious aroma? Just today's lunch, picked fresh from the garden and served up with a big warm smile! Alva is the fairy godmother behind our delicious, nutritious daily meals and the green thumb that tends our abundant vege patch. Her feel-good, upbeat flavour fuels the heart of our centre with wholesome, homegrown meals that give peace of mind to parents and encourage great eating habits for life.
Good humour and experimentation are her secret magic ingredients for getting good food down, and 16 years of homemaking and cooking for her own family of six has given her a wealth of experience to draw on.
Children love experimenting in the kitchen too, and Alva's little helpers often assist her with counting, colours, and kitchen safety.
Away from the kitchen Alva and husband Steven are kept extremely busy with children Harrison, Finn, Summer and Parker, with weekends spent touring the country's finest beaches to support Harrison's New Zealand Beach Volleyball team.
Seedling’s Room Coordinator
Lisa is a qualified Early Childcare teacher, in addition to having a Certificate in Nanny Education, and has worked in childcare for 9 ½ years. Lisa may have started her Old MacDonald’s journey in our Shoots room, but it didn’t take long for her to secure the Room Coordinator position in our Seedling’s class. The baby’s room received a gem when Lisa walked through their doors, as a teacher who sees immense importance in the nurturing and gentle interactions with our tamariki it was no surprise how quickly bonds developed. Not only does Lisa work with children, but also has 4 nieces/nephews under the age of four, who she completely adores. Lisa’s teaching style is all about kindness, kindness, kindness and is rewarded every day by the influence she has on these young lives, and the days she gets to spend with our beautiful tamariki.
Shoot’s Room Coordinator
Asha, an avid bush walker, has joined the Shoots team at Old MacDonalds. Her inviting, friendly nature and hands on approach to teaching is obvious when we see her singing and dancing with children in the play ground.
Asha believes the most important thing to teach children is empathy. Asha's experience stretches far and wide, having taught adults and children of all ages, cultures, in multiple languages.
She has taught in India and Oman. Asha is currently completing her Masters in Education. Asha continues to grow as a teacher on her own learning journey. Cows are her favorite animal because of the kindness you can see in their eyes and how they work tirelessly for others.
Asha's favorite children's story is “The Jungle Book” as she enjoys the main character’s sense of adventure, the love he feels towards his family, and how he stands up for his community. Asha can relate to the story because she likes to be an advocate for both children and teachers in the work place.
You know you are truly an "outside the box" thinker when you're not even aware there ever was a box, you are so busy seeing what could be! Lisa gives 100% energy and effort to every person, problem and new possibility in front of her.
She enthusiastically opens young minds to all the wonder and possibility of exploring themselves through her can-do attitude, humour and thoughtfulness, and delights as bonds form, confidence grows, and children and their families flourish through what they learn.
An artist at heart, the smell of fingerpaint still transports her to her own childhood, and along with her teaching qualifications, she has completed art and aesthetics training for under-threes.
"It takes a village to raise a child" and Lisa loves supporting families to grow their children into great people. Together with her sister Jemma, they have built their own "family village" to help raise children Stella , Dylan and Blake ...allowing Lisa and partner Juan a chance to sneak away for plenty of salsa-dancing dates!
Tori wanted to be a teacher from when she was a small child herself, and has a beautiful natural way with children that they warm to instantly.
With a teaching philosophy based in Reggio Emilia values, Tori gently encourages children to respect themselves and others for who they are as individuals, and to act with love and empathy as they learn and grow.
Tori is our settling superstar and baby-whisperer; children quickly find comfort in her quiet calmness and warm nurturing presence, but we think she must know a little magic as well.
Deciding that life was a bit too simple, Tori completed her ECE degree at the same time she welcomed twin boys, Luke and Thomas , to her family, while husband Mike and daughter Sarah held down the fort.
She loves all children's songs but her current favourite is "Jelly on a Plate"...ask her to wibble-wobble with you and sing it together!
♪ Some-where ov-er the rain-bow,
Lived a Wi-wi (Welsh Kiwi!).
Sing-ing a-long to the pi-a-no,
Old Mac-Don-ald's lull-a-bies. ♫
Musical and creative Victoria brings sunshine to small faces with her love of sharing, learning, and trying new things.
Victoria finds rich teachable moments wherever children lead her and is equally rewarded with their insightful, hilarious stories, firm friendships, and the magic sparkle in their eyes when they figure something out for the very first time.
Her interest in how little brains tick have led her to further study, including Brain Gym® educational kineseology, and PMP (Perceptual Motor Programme). She has also completed Level 2 Te Reo Maori.
A make-believe mastermind, Victoria still remembers all her own childhood games: horses and wolves, mummies and babies, inspectors, handstands and jelly wobbles!
She is married to Jason and mum to sweet Daisy (nearly one). Their family includes Trev the black lab and Puss Puss the three-legged cat.
Child-magnet Georgia encourages and engages little imaginations by day and always has a song up her sleeve to help settle at sleep time.
She grew up with her parent's singing 60's children's classic lullaby "Morningtown Ride" to her, and has carried on the tradition by singing the song daily to daughter Ivy . If Georgia is putting you to bed you'll also hear other great oldies-but-goodies like "Puff the Magic Dragon" and "Two Little Boys".
Being surrounded by smiles is the best part of Georgia's job, along with the honest, imaginative conversations she has with children. Re-experiencing the world for the first time every day never gets old!
Georgia likes to relax by taking long walks with Ivy, coffee dates with partner Jareth, and spending quality time with her family and friends.
A man of many talents, outdoors man and family man, Anton, is the perfect person for the job when it comes to anything environmental. Alongside his wife Marina, Anton cherishes his 4 children; Michelle, Elizabeth, James and George, which naturally means you can’t have a chat without a splurge of Anton’s outrageous wit and a Dad joke of two! As well as being a qualified Early Childhood Teacher, Anton has a Diploma in Orchard Management, which means many trips to the Orchard with groups of children to prune, plant and pick!
Anton’s appreciation for the environment has influenced many of our Old Mac’s children, teaching them how to love and care for the natural world around us. As well as caring for the environment, Anton enjoys teaching our tamariki about compassion and care for one another and admires the honestly and joy that comes from each of our children.
Ella brings a birthday party attitude to every day and helps us celebrate and appreciate people, moments and life...with a little help from her friends, finger-paint and glitter!
Children impact Ella as much as she impacts them, and working and playing alongside children brings surprise, laughter and reward to every single day. When her small charges go on to school she feels honoured and proud to have loved and supported them to reach their full potential in their youngest years.
At home, when Ella is not crafting up a storm or catching up with friends, she seeks any opportunity to let nature take her breath away with beautiful hikes and beaches. She also loves a weekend getaway to her hometown Taumaranui to spend quality time with her Mum, Dad, two sisters and dog Bella.
Fulfilling her childhood ambition, Nikki has stepped into her Old MacDonald’s relief teaching role flawlessly. Nikki has been on the childcare scene for the past 18 months and absolutely loves it! Being able to make a difference in the lives of our tamariki is what Nikki appreciates most about working in the Early Childhood occupation. Nikki has been described as a nurturer, listener and kind spirit; daily attributes she brings into the classroom and just a few aspects that make her a great influence for our tamariki at Old MacDonalds.
Nikki is a true lover of learning, whether it is completing her Early Childhood Bachelors degree, Diploma in Te Reo, Scottish dancing or weaving on her weekends! Nikki sees learning as a lifelong opportunity and is passionate about encouraging our tamariki to love learning too!
Ann’s been a reliever at Old MacDonald’s for 2 years now, but don’t think she’s a fresh face to the teaching community… Ann trained as a primary school teacher but took a different path when becoming a Mum, becoming president of both her children’s play centre and the Waikato play centre association.
Ann’s a lover of many things, including the colour purple as it’s reminds her of violets, and the time her and her great grandmother would spend in the garden together.
“You have such a wonderful way with children, it oozes from your heart”, is a beautiful and accurate comment that has stayed with Ann throughout her teaching career. Ann gets down to the children’s level and understands the importance of even the smallest of ‘wow’ moments that I child may feel. Ann thrives off watching our tamariki take learning into their own hands. The joy on our tamariki’s faces as they play, experiment and succeed is the greatest reward in Ann’s eyes!
Kore rawa e rawaka te reo kotahi.
One language is never enough!
Melisa speaks Chinese, Indonesian, Te Reo Maori, and English...all the better to understand, care for and respect different children, families and cultures!
After moving to New Zealand from Indonesia Melisa discovered a passion for Te Reo while studying her teaching degree, and took night classes to learn more. She finds it very similar to Indonesian, and a great way to connect with and appreciate NewZealander's.
Winning the hearts of new children and families with her friendly, gentle manner is Melisa's specialty, and she puts a lot of effort and thought into building the positive circle of trust that will untap and nurture a child's interests and strengths.
Melisa is a single mother of three, Keykey , Bebe and Sasa . They are joined by cat Chippie and are looking for a puppy to complete their family.
The many emotions of girly-but-not-too-girly purple
Rachelle’s sunny personality is a reflection of her love for the beach and all things summer.
Rachelle is a real Mother Hen at Old MacDonald’s, full of infinite amounts of love for both tamariki and staff. Rachelle has over 9 years, varied experience in education. Rachelle is amazed by a child’s thirst for knowledge, inquisitiveness and creativity. Rachelle enjoys being a part of everyday magical experiences and of course the cuddles! Rachelle takes a calm and patient approach to teaching, by teaching alongside the child and allowing them to lead the play / lesson. Rachelle is great at making connections, relationships and communicating. She is always hungry for a challenge so introduce yourself and get to know our lovely Shoot’s teacher that is Rachelle!
Teacher in Training
Shoots teacher, Grace, believes that laughter is the best medicine. Grace greets everyone openly, with her humour as a natural comforter when greeting parents and children at the start of each day. Grace’s playful and approachable personality means that creating bonds with her tamariki is second nature. Coming from an agricultural background, Grace recalls her childhood being full of farm adventures; camping in the back paddock, toasting marshmallows, hunting and swimming in the stream.
Grace’s teaching style of nurturing and child-lead play allows children to discover at their own pace, with the odd push from Grace to step out of their comfort zones. Grace appreciates having the opportunity to adventure and discover alongside our tamariki, watching them grow as individuals in a safe and trusting environment.
Teacher In Training
Erin's ethos is in harmony with that of Old MacDonalds. Erin finds joy in extending a child’s own ideas and supporting free play. Don’t let the words unqualified teacher fool you, Erin has done play centre courses and is a fully qualified nanny with 8 years experience caring f or children. Erin is currently in her first year studying Early Childhood Education.
Crisp autumn days where the sky is a brilliant blue are Erin’s favourite. Erin also loves Elephants because they are a family orientated animal and are very clever. As a child Erin aspired to care for elephants. Erin grew up in the city but is a farm girl at heart. As a youngster she would spend weekends and school holidays on her God Parent’s farm. Now Erin is back from the big O.E in London. She still enjoys helping out on the farm and spending time with her family whenever she can.
Teacher in Training
Our Kierley, full of passion and love , has been working with our Old MacDonald’s Whānau since February 2018. Fiancé to Isaiah and stepmother to 5 year old Noah, Kierley and her Whānau are looking forward to greeting their new addition in February 2019!
Kierley is nearing the end of her first year studying a Bachelor in Early Childhood Education, as well as her level 2 certificate in Te Ara Reo Māori. Kierley is a real lover of the beautiful Te Reo Māori, often incorporating words into her tamariki’s everyday learning! Kierley sees great importance in encouraging tamariki to realise their full potential, as well as supporting them in building a strong foundation for later learning. Kierley is rewarded everyday at Old MacDonalds, by being a part of our tamariki’s lives and having the opportunity to help them grow to their full potential.
Georgia is in training to be the coolest, most enthusiastic teacher around and we are thrilled that she is doing it with us. Children love her bubbly, encouraging personality and instantly recognise that she is just like them—a big kid!
One of her best childhood memories was going to see Hi 5 and dancing along with them. 1 2 3 4, HI 5! If you see her give her a big high-five...or if you really like her, a high-ten!
Using fun and games to teach children about respect and independence as they learn, Georgia brings out the joy in every situation and loves seeing little children surprise themselves by the big things they can do.
She lives at home with her parents and two younger sisters and spends her time playing hockey and music, and being a care-bear to friends and family.
Lia’s stepped into the Old MacDonald’s Sapling’s Whānau seamlessly. Lia is a real family girl, taking pride in each of her family members, as well as the values she grew up with, with a special place in her heart for Te Ao Māori.
If Lia’s not holding yoga sessions or running alongside our tamariki in the front paddock, she’s filling the classroom with laughter and joy. Lia lives each day to the fullest, like the time she kayaked beside a pod of Orcas in the Raglan harbour, or as a six year old abseiling off the Bridal Veil Falls! Lia loves the way children see the world and feels that she learns just as much from them as they do from her. Lia loves the many wanderings of children, all the ‘why’ questions, the honesty, curiosity and the privilege of being a part of a child’s first few years of life! Lia is a deep thinker, incredibly in touch with her own emotions, and is always available for our tamariki to snuggle under her wing.
Teacher in Training
Animated and engaging, Rachel infuses each moment with extra magic, meaning and discovery to make childhood memories that really count.
Whether she is c r e e p i n g and BELLOWING! Through storytelling or creating unique learning experiences to expand and explore little minds, hearts and bodies, Rachel always shares, encourages and supports individuality and self-expression.
Rachel delights in the insight and hilarity of having daily access to the secret lives of children. Through entering this hidden world, she is able to recognise and help provide the personal skill set each child needs to thrive as they grow into active members of society.
Having worked with children for over 10 years, including as a nanny and childcare coordinator, Rachel has no intention of ever leaving the secret world of children and will become a registered ECE teacher in 2018.
At home, she makes meaningful memories every day with husband Mark and daughter Milla, who says her magical Mum is "a star"!
Ella grew up on a dairy farm, climbing trees and roaming the paddocks with her sisters. As the youngest of three, Ella was over the moon with the birth of her nephew, who is currently in the Shoots room here at Old MacDonalds.
Ella likes how carefree, innocent and adventurous children are, and is continually amazed by the individuality of each child and the knowledge that our tamariki have so young! Ella is trained as a swim teacher and is really looking forward to the new opportunity and challenges that being a swim teacher is going to bring. Ella’s favourite children’s book is “A Proper Little Lady” as she feels she resonates with the main characters adventurous side and admires her individuality as a young girl, as well as rocking the same wild ginger hair Ella had at that age!
Riding Instructor/ Reliever
They say you should never work with children and animals...Andie says they are missing out!
Confidence, a sense of achievement, and making friends with a pony are just some of the benefits children get from learning to ride. Andie has a gift for calming "nervous nellies" and empowers young riders with skills through games, gentle encouragement, and lots of familiar repetition.
She bought her first pony with her first pay cheque as a 17-year-old city kid who travelled to the countryside twice each day to ride and care for him. Since then she has been devoted to horses and sharing her passion with others, spending the last 20 years teaching kids to ride.
Andie makes every experience as enjoyable and safe as possible (and our ponies are lovely natured and close to the ground), but sometimes falls do happen in riding; the ability to "get back on the horse" helps to teach courage and resilience both in riding and life.
Andie is married to Ben and they live with daughters Devin and Starsha , son Teo , two dogs and a cat. Kash, Bruce, Fifty50 and Spring are the beloved equine family members, and weekends are often spent competing in one day events and show-jumping.
Noeline makes friends like it is her job—and it is. She knows everybody and wants to get to know anybody she doesn't know. Children and adults alike are powerless to resist her sparkling energy, curiosity and positivity!
Children respond to Noeline's humour, care and compassion as she uses practical, tactile creativity to draw out their interests and abilities. Reading, literacy, free play and music are all favourite tools to make learning an engaging and memorable experience.
She is always ready to pick up her guitar for a good old sing-along! As a much-loved ESOL (English as a Second Language) teacher, Noeline is a literacy advocate and devotes much of her time and energy to helping people in the community communicate better.
Noeline is married to Michael and together they have six children and Noeline has an 18 month old step-grandson, who she spoils nearly as much as the true baby of the family, beautiful border collie, Floss!
Red for vibrance.
Purple is a special reminder of my son, and our shared favourite colour.