Highly qualified staff

Maria Johnson

Managing Director/Owner/Licensee

Hi my name is Maria Johnson.  I spent my childhood growing up on a farm with my parents, two brothers and three sisters.

I moved to Wellington after training as a Primary School teacher at Hamilton Teachers College and completing my Bachelor of Education at Waikato University. B.Ed, Dip. Tching Primary. In 2006 I studied full time and gained my Early Childhood qualifications from the New Zealand College of Early Childhood Education.

I have four beautiful boys - Mathew, Joshua, Benjamin and Jacob (twins). I love being with my children and watching them grow and develop as individuals! Being a Mum is the greatest job in the world (even though sometimes it tests our patience).

I really enjoy spending time with family and friends, relaxing in my garden and being creative. When there is any spare time I also like to exercise.

I established Little School in 2002 and since then our organisation has grown to continually meet the demand of our families.

I am passionate and ambitious about young children discovering their abilities and providing them with the knowledge, skills and values to make them lifelong learners.  I continually aspire to be a leader in education and thoroughly enjoy this journey.  I am extremely fortunate to work alongside a brilliant team of dedicated teachers at Little School.  Together we aspire to be widely recognised leaders in preschool education.

I am on the Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal, and a member of the Life Education National Board. 


2012; Wellington Supreme Business Woman of the year, Wellington Best Small to Medium Business, Finalist EY Entrepreneur of the Year, Next Education Finalist.

2017; Finalist Wellington Business Gold Awards, Finalist New Zealand Women of Influence Awards.



Jane Jennings

Curriculum Co-ordinator

Hi, my name is Jane.  I began working as a teacher at Little School just after it first began in 2003.

I have a Diploma of Teaching in ECE and a Bachelor of Education which I completed at Dunedin College of Education and Otago University in the early 90's.

From mid 2004-2008 I took a break from Little School and Andrew and I had our two children Sarah and Harry - they are busy little people who bring lots of joy, love and laughter to our house.  Sarah attended Khandallah Little School and Harry went to Kelburn before transferring to Khandallah - so I have an interest and perspective in the schools as a parent and as an educator.

I returned to Little School in 2008 as a release teacher and in 2010 I became part of the Management Team and took on the role of teacher support and curriculum support.

In my spare time I enjoy running, walking, cooking, traveling and spending time with family and friends.

Emily O'Connor

Hi my name is Emily.
I am originally from Nelson where I grew up with my parents, two older brothers and a younger sister. 
I moved to Wellington in 2016 to study at Victoria University of Wellington, where I recently graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Accounting and Commercial Law. 
In my spare time I like to spend time with my friends and family. 

Anita van der Mespel

PA/Office Administrator
Hi, my name is Anita and I am from a small country town just north of Auckland. I grew up there, although my family and I lived in the UK for nearly 4 years when I was little. 
As someone who is passionate about travel, I spent nearly 7 years working as a Travel Consultant in Auckland and prior to that I have spent the rest of my career in the hospitality industry. I moved to Wellington with my partner in April 2021 and joined the Little School team. 
I love travelling and enjoy discovering new people, places and food. As a creative person I like to dabble in photography, sewing, knitting and cooking to name just a few things. In my spare time if I am not making something, I will be out exploring the local walking tracks with friends or tucked away with a good book. 


Churton Park Little School

Denise Lim

Churton Park Little School - Head Teacher
Hi, my name is Denise and I have been working at Little School since 2014. I graduated that year with a Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood Education) degree from Victoria University. I was born in Malaysia but have been in New Zealand for more than half of my life now!
I enjoy working with different ages of children and I am passionate about what I do. I feel that throughout my teaching years, the children have helped and continue to help me grow as a teacher which I truly appreciate. I also enjoy making meaningful relationships with parents as I feel that this is important to develop children’s growth. I am happy to have a centre where I am able speak in different languages such as English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Indonesian/Malay, and Sign Language. I am also currently learning Japanese and Korean.
In my spare time, I enjoy eating (especially desserts) and spending time with my husband, friends and my family. I also enjoy travelling overseas as it gives me the opportunity to learn about different cultures, and do some shopping and of course, eating!



Keri-ann Fauchelle

Churton Park Little School - Teacher
Hi, my name is Keri-ann Fauchelle.
I started working for Little School in April 2010, after I completed my BEd (Tch) ECE at Victoria University. Previously I worked as an after school teacher and a relief teacher.
Wellington is my home town and I love it here. Activities that I love to do are reading, singing and camping. I am a member of Newlands Baptist Church where I am part of the music group and often sing on a Sunday morning. My husbands name is Michael, and my son’s name is Lucien. We love going camping together and celebrating special occasions together. 

Shermain Cayaba

Churton Park Little School - Teacher

Hi, my name is Shermain Cayaba. I moved from the Philippines 4 years ago. I started as a reliever for after school care at Churton Park and became a contractor for more than 2 years.

During these years, it gave me the opportunity to get to know the children better and build a rapport with their parents.

I love cooking, reading and listening to music in my spare time.



Ellie Bloomfield

Churton Park Little School - Teacher
Hi, my name is Ellie B! I graduated back in 2016 completing my three year degree in Early Childhood Education. From this it affirmed to me that working with children is where I want to be and making a difference in their lives is something I would love to strive towards every day. 
I have a condition called achondroplasia which makes me a little person, dwarf. My height proves to be no barrier for me in life and working with children. An advantage of this when working with children is that I am at their level which seems to give them a sense of trust and friendship. Although they tend to stare at me at first and ask questions they quickly come to see me just like the other teachers, only shorter. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask me. 
I love working with the teachers and children at Churton Park Little School. It is great watching the children grow and explore and observe them step outside their comfort zone. I look forward to getting to know everyone! 

Aggie Li

Churton Park Little School - Teacher
Kia ora, my name is Aggie Li. I am originally from China and have been living in New Zealand for 17 years. I have two young children, Jason and Jacqueline.
I am a trained and fully registered ECE teacher, and I graduated with a Diploma of Teaching (Early Childhood Education) in 2010 from Victoria University of Wellington. I also completed a Postgraduate Diploma of Business and Administration (Management) at Massey University and a Bachelor degree of BCA at Victoria.
I started working in the ECE sector in 2010. I really enjoy teaching in early childhood centres and working with young children has always been my passion. I believe each child is different and he/she will become the brightest star in the sky. I started as a reliever at Churton Park Little School in June 2018 and became a permanent teacher in January 2019.  I am looking forward to building strong reciprocal and respectful relationships with the tamariki and whānau at Churton Park Little School and helping to bring out the best in your child's learning journey.
In my spare time, I enjoy doing exercise, running, cooking and travelling. I live in Johnsonville and often go to the community play groups with my children in this area.

Ying Zhao

Churton Park Little School - Teacher
Hi, my name is Ying Zhao
I’m originally from China. My husband came to New Zealand first to study at Victoria University of Wellington for his PhD degree in 1993. One year later my daughter and I arrived at Wellington to join my husband. We have lived in Wellington for nearly 25 years. Now we live in Churton Park.
From 1995 to 2001, I gained Dip. TESL, Dip. Teaching of both Primary School and Early Childhood at Victoria University of Wellington. Before I joined little School team, I worked at Queen Margaret College Preschool for 12 years. 
I am so happy to work at Churton Park Little School which is so close to my home. Working with young children is the most joyful time for my life.
I also have two granddaughters who visit me during the weekend. In my spare time I enjoy walking and reading the Bible.  

St Heliers Little School

Mubaraka Kabir

St Heliers Little School - Teacher
Kia ora and Hello, 
I am Mubaraka Begum, (but children call me Mubakiya, Miss Baraka, Mumbaraka, Mbaraka etc. They get it right eventually).
I’ve been a part of the Little School whānau for a while now and I'm enjoying every moment with lots of opportunities to further my knowledge and practice as a Kaiako. I originally come from Sri Lanka. I lived with my dad and sister in Hamilton for over three years, where I studied a  Bachelor of Teaching in Early Childhood Education (ECE) at Wintec and graduated in March 2019. 
It is my passion and my philosophy to be a professional and respectful teacher. I love research in ECE and enjoy learning new things.
When I interact with children, I make use of my quiet and playful nature to understand them where my height works in my favour to catch their attention. I value any language a child may bring with him or her and cherish the smile and the bond formed through a simple communication using the child’s native language - that is priceless!
I also enjoy gardening, writing, cooking, and reading or sleeping-in when I have some free time. 
I look forward to getting to know the children, their family and whānau at St Heliers Little School. 


Rosalind (Roz) Fox

St Heliers Little School - Teacher

Hello and Kia ora everyone,

My name is Rosalind Fox or Roz as I am known by. I live in the suburb of Howick with my husband Dean and my son Harrison, Jake our beloved border collie and Pearl our very affectionate black cat.

My interests include spending time with family and friends, bush walks, going to the beach, jet skiing, travel, going to the movies, reading and good food and coffee!

I qualified with a Bachelor’s of Education in 2015 (specialising in Early Childhood). My interest developed in Early Childhood Education from my early years of nannying overseas and then later having my son. With a very strong interest in a child’s first few years of development I felt the next step was to then study and put my practice into theory.

I have now had the pleasure of working at St Heliers Little School for a few years as a permanent reliever, getting to know all of our lovely families. I now look forward to watching the development and growth of our current and new additions to Little School.

Ngā mihi


Nethmi Bangamaarachchige

St Heliers Little School - Teacher
Ayubowan, Kia Ora!
My name is Nethmi and I come from a small island in the Indian ocean- Sri Lanka. This is where I was born and brought up. After living for nineteen years in my motherland, I decided to move to New Zealand in 2015 and I first landed in Auckland. My passion for children and my interest to further study child psychology led me to choose an Early Childhood teaching career. I completed my degree from Whitireia Polytechnic (Auckland campus) and worked at Khandallah Nursery School before moving to Auckland with my husband and starting at St Heliers Little School.
I come from a family of four with my mum, dad, sister and myself. My sister lives in Auckland and she’s a mother to an adorable son, Abhiru. I love spending time with my nephew and I find every possible reason to visit him. I use my leisure time to read books, watch movies and spend time with my loved ones. 
I strongly believe that we as kaiako in the learning setting have a vital role in fostering intellectual and social development of children during their formative years. This learning journey of children wouldn’t be completed without the contribution of parents- our partnership with you as parents is important for the tamariki’s holistic development.  

Kelburn Little School

Aude Luciathe

Kelburn Little School - Teacher
My name is Aude and this is my first position as an Early Childhood teacher; I graduated in 2020 from Victoria University, Wellington. 
I was born in France and I have lived in New Zealand since 2008. Prior to this, I worked for Alliance Française Wellington for 11 years, as a French teacher to children and adults and a programme coordinator.
I have a daughter called Millie, that I raised to be bilingual. I am passionate about learning and teaching languages (I can also speak German at an intermediate level), and thanks to my bilingual and bicultural background, I understand the importance of learning languages from a young age. I intend to support the children to gain a better understanding of their own language and cultural background, as well as promoting cultural diversity within the school.
In my spare time, I love spending time with my family, playing sports, reading and playing music.

Dominique Whisker

Kelburn Little School - Teacher

Hi, my name is Dominique. I am a resident of Wellington City and call this place home. I grew up here and spent my childhood on the Kāpiti Coast.

After graduating with a Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood Education) in 2014, I worked in a community crèche with children aged 1-5. There, I was fortunate to witness the positive efforts on learning of respectful and nurturing relationships between children and their teachers. In 2017 and 2018, I worked in a multicultural preschool where I gained valuable experience in collaborating with parents to foster children’s ongoing development. I also learnt the responsibilities of stepping up as a leader to help support my colleagues in a more meaningful way.

In joining the team at Kelburn Little School, I hope to continue adding to my skill base as I put into practice all I have learnt and expand my knowledge of relevant and ever-changing teaching strategies and philosophies. I look forward to the years ahead and all the learning to come. 

Khandallah Little School

Camilla Furtado

Khandallah Little School - Head Teacher
Kia Ora Whānau,
My name is Camilla Furtado. I am originally from India. I first began working as a teacher in 2015. I spend three years teaching as a primary teacher in India. Then moved to New Zealand in 2018.  I completed my Post Graduate and Graduate Diploma in Early childhood.  I have been working as an Early childhood teacher since the time I have arrived in New Zealand. 
As a Kaiako, I believe that every child is unique, therefore looking into the child's developing interest and providing the child with more learning opportunities in regards to their developing interest will help the child become a confident and competent learner. 
I love spending time with children. In my spare time, I enjoy cooking, dancing, exercising and going on exciting adventures.
I am looking forward to taking on this new role of Head Teacher at Khandallah Little School and cannot wait to get to know the whānau and work in collaboration and partnership with them to fulfil their aspiration in regards to their Tamariki.

Vicki Price

Khandallah Little School - Teacher
Kia Ora whānau,
My name is Vicki Price I am originally from Hawkes Bay where I grew up with my Mum, Dad, and older brother Ben. I am now living in Grenada Village with my partner Dave and my step daughter Ellie. 
I have always had a passion for teaching young children. I love to help tamariki learn, grow and become confident capable learners. I believe building strong relationships with the child’s family is of high importance. I can’t wait to meet you all.
In my spare time I love spending time with my family, reading a good book, shopping, listening to music and exercising.

Sophie Westenra

Khandallah Little School - After School Club Support Person
Kia ora e hoa mā 
Ko Sophie toku ingoa. I am originally from Marlborough, where I grew up on a farm with my family. After school, I spent a GAP year in England volunteering at a respite centre for adults with disabilities. Following that I came to Wellington to study at Victoria University of Wellington. I have just finished my undergraduate degrees and am looking at starting my teaching post-grad qualification next year. 
I absolutely love spending time with kids, helping them learn, and learning from them. 
In my spare time, I enjoy reading, cooking, baking, exercising and volunteering. Most of it though, I spend with my family and friends. 
I am excited to get to know you and your whānau.  

Wee Ai Teh

Khandallah Little School 2 - Teacher
Kia Ora! My name is Wee Ai and I am from Malaysia.
I completed my Master of Teaching and Learning at the University of Otago in 2020. I also
have a Bachelor in Psychology, minoring in education. Prior to graduating, I have had the
privilege to work closely with learners with autism in an inclusive school.
I have always enjoyed learning and working with children. “Teachers have three
loves: love of learning, love of learners, and the love of bringing the first two loves together.” As
a teacher, I am committed to expanding my teaching knowledge so that I could provide my
learners a safe and challenging learning environment.
During my free time, I enjoy drawing and hiking. It is my pleasure to be part of the Little School
team. I look forward to working closely with the teachers and whānau at the Little School.

Aleisha Charles

Khandallah Little School 2 - Teacher
My name is Aleisha.
I am your new provisionally qualified teacher in the preschool room. I have just come from working in a lovely centre in Melling. Before this I spent the two years working in a Reggio inspired centre. My teaching philosophy is based around lots of nature-based sensory play, messy play, music, dance, movement, physical play and safe challenges.  
I moved from Nelson in 2020 (where I completed my studies to be a qualified early childhood teacher). I have also lived in Wellington before for six years.
In my spare time, you will find me in the great outdoors either hiking, paddleboarding or snowboarding or taking photos for my photography business! 
As your child’s new teacher, I am really looking forward to getting to know your child's interests, dispositions and personality.
Nga mihi Aleisha