Meet the Teachers

I am Val, married to “Norm, the Builder”, and we have an adult daughter. I am a registered early childhood teacher with 50 years’ experience in education, from early childhood, primary to senior secondary school English. Born in South Africa, I spent six years in the UK then returned to South Africa, leaving in my twenties. I consider that I am privileged to be living in New Zealand.

I believe that respect, kindness and maintaining a warm but professional manner are key, together with a sense of humour and a delight in watching children acquire maturity and confidence when in a loving and exciting environment.

To relax, I read, walk, cook or sing (in the local Holy Trinity Gospel Group).

Hello and welcome. My name is Dani and I am the head teacher here at Small is Beautiful. I hold a Bachelor of Education specialising in early childhood teaching with full registration.

I started my journey at Small is Beautiful in 2014 where I completed a four-week placement. It was from this experience that I was offered a full time position in 2016.

My love for children and teaching started from a young age – watching my grandmother and mother teach special-needs children helped me realise this is what I want to do in life. In 2013 I set off on my dream and studied for three years.

My vision as a teacher is about ensuring all children and their whanau have a sense of belonging when walking into our Centre. We ensure we create a community environment which supports each child and their individual needs. I focus on regular communication with parents which allows them to be a part of their child’s learning, allowing for their child’s needs to be meet and goals to be made.

I believe all children learn in different ways, whether it is outside in the playground, inside at a table, individually or in a group setting. Here at Small is Beautiful we meet those needs and provide each children with the best chance in preparing them for school and life.

Tēnā koutou katoa,

My name is Jordana and I am a qualified, provisionally registered teacher here at Small is Beautiful. I began my career as a nanny, two years after leaving school. From there I loved the idea of working within a centre environment and while studying for my Bachelor of Education (ECE) in 2002 until 2004, I worked part time here at SIB. I have worked in centres with both the under twos and over twos and love watching the children grow and develop at their own pace.

I feel so fortunate to have been given the opportunity to come back to here after having my three children. I love the buzz and excitement of working with little ones. They deserve our utmost respect, a homely environment, like Small is Beautiful, and our aroha. Your children are precious, we treat them as we would our own.  

I love crafts, gardening, up-cycling furniture, reading, walking and quality family time. The simple things in life.

It is such a pleasure to return to Small is Beautiful after all these years. The quality of care that Val puts into her centre is phenomenal. I’m so excited to get to know your tamariki and your whānau while we embark on this journey through SIB together. Thank you for letting me be a part of your child’s early years.


Tēnā koutou katoa,

My name is Sarah and I am pleased to be back at Small is Beautiful as a permanent teacher. I grew up on the North Shore but actually started school on the beautiful pacific island of Niue where I lived for two years while my father was a teacher there.

I became a fully qualified Early Childhood teacher in 1996 after attending the Auckland College of Education and Auckland University. I taught at a Kindergarten in Waiuku before heading to London where I ended up living and teaching for 8 years. Soon after my return home I became the full-time teacher at Small is Beautiful and stayed for nearly two years until my first child was born.

I live in Hillcrest with my husband Andrew, and our two children. When my children were little we were part of our local Playcentre and regular La Leche League members.

Last year I completed the Teaching Council’s Teacher Education Refresh programme. As part of my learning journey I learned basic te reo Māori and am committed to helping te reo survive and thrive. I believe that providing a safe, calm and unhurried environment allows us to have rich, extended interactions and can also ensure tamariki have a chance to practise learning new skills, regulate their emotions and develop social confidence. Building strong, genuine relationships with whānau is important as they know their tamariki best. I am passionate about the environment and conservation. I love taking part in tree-planting days around Tamaki Makaurau and am involved in local bush restoration.

“He aroha whakatō, he aroha puta mai”

If kindness is sown, then kindness you shall receive.


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