About

Founder

Kelli Booth

Founder & Owner
Educational Social Worker Min Ed, Dip Visual Arts, Dip TV & Film

Riverhead Montessori was established by Kelli Booth out of a desire to make a positive difference to our children in their important developmental years from age 1-6.

As an Educational Social Worker with the Ministry of Education for emotionally dysfunctional children, Kelli saw tangibly how the opportunities we expose our children to during their formative years impacts greatly on who they become as adults. As a mother of three children (Bailey, Tom and Lexie) Kelli felt there was clearly a better way to educate our young and dreamed of creating an environment that is loving, all-encompassing and enriching.

She has gathered around her a team of wonderful Montessori educators who have the same passion and commitment to making a positive difference to children in their preschool years. Kelli’s background in broadcast and print media has led to a truly creative centre full of exciting tools and opportunities for nurturing, educating and playing.

Her aim to ensure every child leaves Riverhead Montessori well prepared for life with a set of skills that allows them to succeed at whatever they choose has now been realised thousands of times over and continues to fill her with joy and a genuine love for what she does.

“By teaching children to think outside the box, our children may just save our world, or equally as important grow up to be the best fathers and mothers, mentors & leaders. In my mind, ours is the most important work.”

‘Love for the child’ is at the core of Riverhead Montessori’s vision and mission.  To read them along with our philosophy please click here.

Our team

Lisa Davison

Lisa Davison

Centre Supervisor
NNEB UK, Diploma of Teaching ECE NZ, Montessori Cert in Language, Practical Life, Sensorial + Maths, Registered Teacher

I am a qualified and registered Early Childhood Educator with over 20 years’ experience caring for and teaching children. I have worked in many other early childhood settings giving me a well rounded understanding of many aspects of Early Childhood Education. Having managed a Montessori for 9 years at the start of my ECE career I am thrilled to be at Riverhead Montessori and to be able to follow my passion for the Montessori Approach. I believe in inspiring children to be confident and capable learners.

Jennifer Day

Jennifer Day

Teacher Whare Keas
Bachelor of Education, AMI Montessori Diploma, Registered Teacher

Hi there, my name is Jen. I was born and raised in Nelson before I moved to Dunedin to study 0-6 Early Childhood and Primary Education. From there I moved to Wellington where I taught for 6+ years in Montessori 3-6 while studying towards my AMI diploma from Hangzhou, China. I love to travel and explore different cultures. I feel travel keeps us learning and appreciating what we have and how similar we all are with the same human tendencies and needs. I enjoy running, nutrition, cooking and spending time with friends and family.

Harold Duimstra

Harold Duimstra

Teacher Whare Keas
Outdoor Educator, Montessori Conferences, Montessori Outdoor Programme

I have been working here at Riverhead Montessori since 2012, helping out with the outdoor curriculum and general maintenance around the school. Over this time I have enjoyed getting to know the children and seeing them develop skills and confidence, in particular I love seeing how the young children who start in Tui’s – a little unsure of themselves – graduate to Keas and grow to become leaders in their own right,
Through developing an understanding of the Montessori philosophy I have been able to begin to recognise the true potential that each child has and develop my own skills in assisting them in their individual development. This led to a natural progression of knowledge, mentoring and professional development which has allowed me to move into an educator role. I am excited to continue to be responsible for the outdoor curriculum and take on the important practical life and art areas.

AJ Philip

AJ Philip

Teacher Whare Keas
Bachelor of Education, Diploma of Education, Registered Teacher, NAMC Montessori Qual

Hi my name is AJ and I am a qualified and registered teacher who has been working with children since I was 17 years old. I have two children of my own – Tyler who is 10 years and Keira who is 7 years old and Aria 5 months. I am looking forward to working in collaboration with you and your children to teach them the skills they need to succeed in life. I am also excited to be able to develop and strengthen my knowledge and understanding of the Montessori Approach.

Martin Bush

Martin Bush

Teacher Whare Keas
Bachelor of Education (Primary & ECE), Montessori Major, Registered Teacher

Kia Ora, my name is Martin, originally from the North of England I came to Auckland for a gap year around 10 years ago and never looked back! I started working with special needs children as a teacher aid at 16 years old and have worked in education since. During studying for a degree in primary education one of my student colleagues asked if I could cover for a day in her ECE centre, this one day gave me the passion to become a preschool teacher. I was introduced to the Montessori philosophy at AUT and became fascinated in this radically different approach to education, it just made so much sense. I feel privileged to be working with the highly skilled team here at Riverhead and look forward to making many happy memories.

Karen Benjamin

Karen Benjamin

Teacher Tui’s Nest
ESW MOE, 0-3 AMI Assistants Course

Hi there, my name is Karen and I have been working in Education since the beginning of 2013, starting off as an Education Support Worker for the Ministry of Education working at a variety of centres. I was very excited to be offered a role at Riverhead Montessori and look forward to getting to know both you and your children. I am Mum of 7 year old Sophie and enjoy spending time with friends and family, going for walks, running and reading in my spare time.

Rachel Campbell

Rachel Campbell

Teacher Tui’s Nest
Level 5 ECE Certificate, Montessori Experience 2 years

Hi I’m Rachel; I am 24 years old and have recently moved back to New Zealand after living in the UK for 4 years. I have always had a passion for working with children and have experience working in a variety of child-care based roles including after school care, working in a play centre, nannying and most recently working in a Montessori Preschool School in the UK for two years. I am looking forward to meeting you all and becoming part of the Riverhead Montessori team.

Aithne Potts

Aithne Potts

Hi. My name is Aithne Potts. Born in Oxford, England, I grew up in the south of Ireland. I discovered Montessori education at high school and trained with the London Montessori Centre to teach 3-6 year olds. I set up a preschool in my village before moving to New Zealand where I have taught for 30 years. I have been inspired and mentored by many wonderful Montessorians including Binda Goldsborough, who trained under Maria Montessori, and teachers at some wonderful Montessori preschools. Three years ago, I was privileged to be part of the MANZ “Montessori Journey to Excellence” (MJ2Ex) pilot project.

Lesa Lee Van Bott

Lesa Lee Van Bott

Administration and Accounts Manager