Te Wana - The Shoots

Age 2-3.5


what our PHILOSOPHY looks like in practice:

 In the Shoots room we follow ritual over routine, where the rhythms of the day are guided by the relationships between whaanau and kaiako with tamariki at the heart of all that we do.

Through primary care relationships our kaiako and tamariki walk side by side on this part of their journey of empowerment. Pennie Brownlee speaks of the way toddlers are becoming more aware of their sense of self and all that comes with it.

Learning to harness their own personal power will take time, coming to stand with elegance as they continue to guide their learning and take their place as champion of their own story. To support the progression from the movement brain that rules infancy to the emotional brain our kaiako support the development of emotional intelligence and people literacy.

This capable and competent view of our tamariki is the basis of our free play environment, where exploration and creativity are nurtured and encouraged. Opening the pathways to literacy, numeracy and more through play we support our tamariki to explore their passions and interests.

Children are biologically wired to be in a loving relationship. They are encoded for care through a loving responsive adult who is ‘ intune ‘ with their needs
— Kimberly Crisp




Inquisitive Erin is a reflective and proactive part of our Te Wana team. Erin prides herself in being passionate about changing the future of education and leading by example.

Erin upholds our philosophy to the highest standard and uses her wisdom and her mana to ensure that the children are receiving quality care. Her strong set of values, passion and the fire inside her belly for education shows us that she is going to go far in her career.

Erin believes in actually listening to children and empowering them to make their own decisions about their interests and their day to day activities. Her commitment to being a life long learner is so profound.


Shoots kaiako, 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.



Ella grew up on a dairy farm, climbing trees and roaming the paddocks with her sisters. As the youngest of three, Ella is lucky enough to have both of her nephews attend Old Macs as well!
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 working in the shoots room as a kaiako with Grace, Lisa and Erin! 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!



Lisa is a dedicated, passionate advocate for children and strong relationships. She believes in working wholehearted partnership with parents, ensuring the transition into care is seamless.

The shoots 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.