Our People

Fiona Smith, Centre Manager

What inspired you to become an early childhood teacher?

I spent some time volunteering at Playcentre when I finished school and I realised that I really enjoyed spending time with children, getting to know them and helping them to grow and develop, so I decided to study to become an early childhood teacher.

How long have you been working in this sector?

Twenty-plus years!

What do you love most about what you do?

Every day is different and as early childhood teachers, we are able to play and have fun every day with the children.

What are three things that make your centre special?

Our Christian philosophy, our large playground and lovely natural areas, and our family atmosphere.

What is your favourite time of the year at the centre?

I really enjoy summertime as we are able to be outside enjoying the sunshine and everyone seems so much happier when the sun is shining.

What is your personal ECE philosophy

I believe that children need time to discover, explore and grow. We can do this by being unhurried, respectful and loving to all children. I feel that my main aim as the centre manager is to acknowledge and support the teachers in their roles, so they are able to be peacefully engaged with the children.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I love the beach, trout fishing, gardening and spending time with friends and family.

Bachelor of Teaching – ECE

Gay Bollmann, Centre Cook

Hi, my name is Gay. At Little Lights I am the cook, the gardener, a reliever teacher, the health and safety officer and I also help to look after the animals. I’ve been here for 12 years! As the cook, I aim to provide our children with healthy home-cooked meals, based on the Heart Foundation guidelines. Lots of fruit and vegetables, and the carbohydrates, protein and healthy fat children need for energy.

I’m married with four children and seven grandchildren. My interests include walking in the bush or at the beach and taking photos of God’s creations - like sunsets, flowers, animals, waterfalls and the moon. I have attended Church for most of my life so base my morals on what we find in the Bible. I like to travel too, to see the different cultures and countries around the world.

I have joined up with ‘Break Free Expeditions’ a few times, to help needy people by helping to build their family a home. We take gifts to give out to the children/families or buy supplies from their local market which also helps their community. We are so blessed to be living in New Zealand so it’s great to be able to support others that are less fortunate than ourselves. These people go to extraordinary lengths just to survive and make a living for their families. We also get to see their culture and country.

Certificate in Early Childhood Education and Care, Certificate in Workplace First Aid, Certificate in Child Protection, Certificate in Food Safety