Learn to play, Play to learn


Mel Jeffcoat - Centre Manager

 I  live here in Maungatapu with My husband Nigel, we have 3 sons and one daughter, our boys are out working and at University and our daughter attends Maungatapu School.

 I began teaching in a small Centre in 1992 and have spent last 27 years in centres throughout the Waikato and Bay of Plenty as a Teacher, Team leader, Supervisor and Centre Manager. I have also spent 5 years in Homebased Education as a Senior Coordinator, travelling daily throughout the Western/Eastern Bop, Waikato and to the North Shore of Auckland. I have a Diploma in Early Childhood through Te Tari Puna Ora/ New Zealand Childcare Association (NZCA) and Full teacher’s registration.

I joined the team here at Korukidz as the Centre Manager in Nov 2017.  

I am passionate about providing children the best time of their lives whilst here with us. Child Protection and cultural awareness are also paramount to me.  

I work with an open door policy and welcome your visits anytime! Please never hesitate to see me at any time for anything.  I look forward to being part of your child’s journey and welcoming you all to our Korukidz Whanau.

Shelley -  Head Teacher

I am from Tauranga and I have two beautiful children aged 8 and 6, plus a very energetic 10 year old dog ! I am a qualified Teacher with a Bachelor of Teaching ECE.

My children are the ones who sparked my interest and love of children, making me realise my passion to be part of and aid in the lear ning & development of children. I enjoy extending children's strengths and interests in creative ways as well as giving them brand new experiences to broaden there imaginations.

I joined the amazing Korukidz team in September 2018 and have just completed my Bachelor of Teaching in August 2019. I look forward to getting to you know you and your children and will continue to upskill in any areas that I believe your child will benefit from. 


Sonny - Teacher

Hi, my name is Sonny, I am a qualified teacher with a bachelor of education (early childhood).

My husband Gary and I moved to Tauranga 4 years ago from Christchurch. We live in Pyes Pa with our two beautiful boys Jotam 10 and Naveer 3yrs. I have worked in many childcare centres around the North and South Island as both a permanent teacher and reliever. I have been working in childcare centres for more than 10 years even before doing my degree.

I have joined Korukidz in 2020 and I will be working part time where I job share with another amazing teacher at Korukidz.

I believe every child is unique and that children’s learning can be extended through positive play and by following children’s interests. Therefore, I love working with and alongside children as they learn and I learn from them. I believe kaiako and whanau should work together and develop a close relationship so we can all support tamariki in their learning journey in the same ways. I look forward to working in partnership with fellow kaiako and whanau to meet their aspirations for tamariki.

Aileen  Driver / Support Staff

Kia ora

My name is Aileen. I have joined Korukidz as a Van driver/Support staff in August 2020.

I am originally from Ireland but been living in beautiful New Zealand for the last 5 years. I am happily married to a kiwi man and have an adorable little stepson Oakley who is 3 years old.

My previous experience has been working in hospitality. I had been working as a manager of a Coffee Club for the last 5 years. I am up for a new challenge and adventure in life and I have always been a people person and have wanted to work with kids; to do a job that is meaningful and rewarding.

I look forward to being able to create a safe and comfortable space for the children on their way to Korukidz, hearing all their wonderful stories about how their day went on the way to dropping them back home again. 


Neena - Teacher

Hello my name is Neena; I am from Tauranga and have been here for 25 years now. I have three beautiful children, my older son who is 15years old, and my daughter who is 9 years old and finally last little cutie pie he is only 15 months.

I am from India but have been living in New Zealand for over 30 Years. I have a very loving husband and very blessed to have a family. In 2016 I completed a Certificate in Early childhood Level 5 and have worked in different centres as a reliever. I love to spend time with my family and going to the beach enjoying every moment as my children grow.

My philosophy of teaching children is enjoying having fun with their learning and extending their development to the next level which is very significant for their growing minds. Teaching children to having that respect for each other and learn about sharing. I believe that every child is very special; to make that child grow we need every support and extra learning to help that child grow. 

Greer - Staff Support

Hello, my name is Greer; I am originally from the UK and have been here in the beautiful New Zealand for 15 years. I have two children aged 17 and 12.

My career over the years has varied and includes nursing in many fields; in the UK I was a fully qualified teacher.

The majority of my career has been spent working with the vulnerable e.g., elderly, people with disabilities, pre-schoolers and those who are unwell.

I thrive working in a team; I love children and have a very good knowledge of the developmental process.

For me my time here at Korukidz is about spreading positivity, love and showing the little ones positive role modelling, sharing, and kindness all skills required as they journey on in life.

It is a privilege to work here as the children are amazing and wow me every day, working with such an awesome team, is inspiring! I learn something new everyday J

Ian - Van Driver

 Kia ora

 My name is Ian, I joined Korukidz as the van driver in May 2018.

I am married with far too many kids and grandkids.

I am one of the masses who migrated south from Auckland 3.5 years ago and am proud to now call Tauranga my home.

My employment background is in the Auto Repair Industry where I spent nearly 40 years. Looking for a change of lifestyle I first found employment here with YMCA helping with their OSCAR programme in after school care & holiday programmes.

Now working at Korukidz I seem very much to have found my niche in Early Childhood Education.

While I don’t have any qualifications in this field I believe life experience is one of the best qualifications anyone could have.

 Nothing pleases me more than to see the smiles on the faces of Tamariki when I drop them off home after their day at Korukidz. 


Gracie-Van Driver

I joined the Team at Korukidz as a van driver in January 2020, recently I have taken on a fulltime position as an unqualified teacher.

I moved from Australia to New Zealand in late 2019 with my partner and 2 children.

I have been working with children for over 7 years in the education system and thoroughly enjoying watching them grow and blossom into their own unique character.