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.”
I was born and raised in the UK, immigrating to New Zealand in 2005. I gained a Bachelor of Health Science in Psychology and Health Promotion and went on to work with neglected children living in care. I furthered my training with a Graduate Diploma in Primary Teaching and worked as a new entrant/Year 1 teacher at a school in Titirangi. I have since settled in Riverhead with my husband Andy and two boys, Thomas 3 yrs and Benjamin 1 yr.
My interest in the Montessori way began when teaching. Children start school with a vast array of capabilities and I found that those children who had been exposed to Montessori, had a greater sense of self and were better equipped with skills and confidence when embarking on the next step of their learning journey.
I am passionate about child development and firmly believe that every child has the right to a high-quality education in a safe, loving, supportive, accepting and positive environment where diversity is valued.
In my spare time, I love cooking, running with our two dogs, Rocky and Storm, going on beach adventures and catching up with family and friends.
Teacher Whare Keas
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.
Teacher Whare Keas
Hi I’m Steph, I am a fully qualified and registered teacher. I grew up in South Africa, Namibia and England, but have found my heart here in New Zealand. I have two children, Emma (5) and Luke (2) and have been so fortunate to be able to be at home with them up until this point.
I discovered the magic of Montessori while studying my Bachelor of Education, and completed a diploma of Montessori 3-6 years while finishing my degree. Children’s voices so often aren’t heard in our society – what I love about Montessori is that it gives children a way to make their voices heard by fostering independence and teaching adults to learn through observing their children.
I love music, and my hobbies include playing the saxophone and singing in a choir, and I love languages, speaking smatterings of French and Mandarin. I look forward to getting to know all the children at Riverhead Montessori, as well as their parents and families.
Teacher Tui's Nest
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.
Teacher Tui's Nest
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.
Teacher Whare Keas
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