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 7 and 5, plus a very energetic 9 year old dog !

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 learning & 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.


Anna Teacher

Qualified Teacher

I live in The Lakes with my husband and two children, and enjoy the outdoor lifestyle that living in the Bay of Plenty provides.  As a family we love to visit local parks, beaches and waterfalls and spend as much time outdoors together as possible.

 After having my children I felt drawn to teaching, which is a big change from my career in the shipping industry where I worked as a Customs Broker for over 10 years.  Being involved in children's early learning experiences is something that I feel privileged to be a part of.

I believe that children thrive in an environment where they feel safe and valued. 

Jalyn Teacher

Kia ora, I’m Jalyn.

I am from Maketu Bay of Plenty.

 I have been a part of the amazing team here at Korukidz since March 2019 and aim to offer a creative, fun learning environment to inspire exploration and play for the children here.

I continue to love helping grow and nurture the kids every day and look forward to watching your child flourish and will help develop your child’s skills in every area. 


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 am happy to be joining the Korukidz team as a van driver.

I moved from Australia to New Zealand in the last year with my partner and 2 kids.

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