Star Team

Click on a team member to find out more

MELISSA LAING | DIPTCH (ECE) | OWNER/MANAGER | FULL TIME

Hi, I’m Melissa Laing the owner and manager of Star Early Learning. I started Star in June 2010 because I wanted a place that advocates for children and gives them ample opportunities to explore and develop at their own pace.

I wanted to create a space that I would have wanted to play and explore in, similar to my own childhood, filled with many rich sensory experiences in the natural environment.

I believe that with the help of an amazing team, we succeeded in this and have created Star to be standout in its field. I am extremely proud to be a part of it.

I love working alongside my team, getting to know each of their passions and strengths, and utilizing these at the Centre. I love coming into work each day and couldn’t ask for a better job.

PURDIE CAMPBELL | BT (ECE) | HEAD EDUCARER | FULL TIME

Kia ora Whānau,

My name is Purdie Campbell, I have been working in early childhood education for the last 8 years.

I have recently gained the exciting new role as Head Teacher here at Star Early Learning and am so excited to be a part of this wonderful, passionate team.

I was attracted to Star Early Learning because of the respectful, peaceful philosophy that mirrors my own personal teaching values.
My passion for education in and around our nature suits the beautiful outdoor environment that is already established, I am looking forward to getting stuck into the garden and creating another learning space for the children.

EMMA QUINN | DIPTCH (ECE) | EDUCARER | PART TIME

Kia ora whānau

My name is Emma Quinn and I teach part time at Star Early Learning. I live in Enner Glynn with my husband Paul, two daughters Phoenix and Evie and our two cats.

I grew up in Marlborough and as a young child attended Play Centre with my Mum who is an ECE teacher. I then went on to Primary school at a cute little country school where my Dad was the school principal. I have very fond memories of these education experiences where I was immersed in nature, the arts, and lots of play based learning. I loved being surrounded by children of all ages and being part of a small friendly early childhood and school community. I believe these early experiences shaped me and led me toward my career in ECE. I feel very passionate about making sure every child and family has a positive education experience, where learning is rich with play, social learning, nature, and provides a true sense of belonging.

Some of my favorite activities at Star are messy play, music and movement. I also love our outdoor environment and our furry friend Eddie. I believe in supporting your child in their growing independence and social skills, offering them challenges and building on their current knowledge, interests and skills. I will carefully listen, observe and interact with your child and be responsive to their individual needs.

I love working at Star because the team and management are very passionate about their jobs and are very supportive each other. We provide a very current and high standard of quality care and see ourselves as life long learners. Best of all we like to have fun and welcome you into our whānau.

Let the magical learning journey at Star begin….

Casey Takao | BT (ECE) | Educarer | Full Time

Kia ora my name is Casey Takao and I am an educarer here at Star Early Learning. I have two children, Stella and Roman that are the absolute loves of my life. We try to go on many adventures together in our spare time and I simply adore my role as a mother.

I love my role at Star, which began in February 2013.  Shortly after starting I began my journey working towards a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education, in which I graduated in 2016.

My passion in life is for children and providing a safe, nurturing environment for them to learn and thrive. My goal is to create an environment where families feel comfortable that their most treasured possessions are being cared for by people they know and trust. I recognize this can be a hard time to think about early education for infants and toddlers but when you have a team so passionate about caring for your whānau hopefully this transition can be an easy one!

MICHELLE TUHAKARAINA | DIPTCH (ECE) | EDUCARER | Part Time

Kia ora, I’m Michelle Tuhakaraina. My teaching journey began in March 2009 when I began working for a community-based preschool and studying towards a Diploma of Teaching in Early Childhood Education. I graduated in July 2012 and shortly after took a year off to have my daughter Lexi; I began working part time at Star in February 2014.

I am passionate about working with infants, toddlers and their families. I love witnessing the developmental milestones children reach at this age and being there to respectfully work alongside them as they explore and gain understanding of the world around them. I am also passionate about te ao Māori and bringing this passion into the centre.

I live with my husband JT and daughters Lexi and Payton. In my spare time I enjoy spending quality time with family and friends. I am also enjoying renovating our family home and celebrating the progress.

I look forward to meeting you and your whānau and supporting your child through their learning journey at Star.

SOPHIE MARSHALL | DIPTCH (ECE) | EDUCARER | Part Time

Hello my name is Sophie Marshall,

My teaching journey started in 2004 when I left sunny Nelson to begin my early childhood study in Christchurch. Since then I have had experience working in both a teacher and head teacher role in several different centres in Christchurch and Nelson.

I began teaching at Star Early Learning in August 2012 and soon discovered my passion for working with children aged under 2.

In 2015 I took some time off teaching as my husband Luke and I welcomed our beautiful wee daughter Mila into our family.

What I love most about Star is the respect based philosophy and natural environment. The incredible caring team of educarers make it such a fun place to work and play. I consider it a huge privilege to work alongside you and your child as they continue their learning journey with us.

GRACIE BAKER | STUDENT EDUCARER | PART TIME

Kia ora friends, my name is Gracie Baker. I recently began my teaching journey in August 2014 at Star. I am now in my final year of full time study through Te Rito Maioha New Zealand.

I have always been passionate about working with infants and young children and understanding more about how they learn, grow and explore the world around them.

I find myself to be a very fun and confident person. I am always up for a bit of messy play or running under the sprinklers in summer. Who ever said learning wasn’t fun…?

I believe I am a people person and enjoy the company of others. In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my husband Robbie, as well as friends and family. I enjoy creative activities including painting and re decorating our home. In summer I love spending time at the beach, swimming, and exploring the lovely outdoor environment Nelson has to offer.

I look forward to meeting you all and your whānau.

SOPH SHORT | STUDENT EDUCATOR | Part TIME

Kia Ora Whānau, my name is Sophie Short and I am a part time educarer as well as a student here at Star Early Learning. I live on the Port Hills with my partner Jonathan and our Cat Eddie. In my spare time I enjoy going on bush walks around our beautiful region, writing and playing music and reading.
I have worked with children since I was 18, starting out as a nanny for PORSE where my love of working with children grew. I started my journey towards becoming a qualified Early Childhood teacher in February 2016 as I am interested in child development and working alongside families.
A few of my favourite activities to do here at Star are the music and movement, reading stories, and getting out in our awesome outdoor environment. I believe in supporting your child in their journey to independence, social skills, and will offer them challenges to build on their current knowledge, skills and interests.
I love working at Star because the team are very passionate about their jobs and are very supportive of one another. Best of all we like to make learning fun and meaningful for all.
I look forward to meeting you and watching your child learn and grow.

JESS MAX | STUDENT EDUCATOR | Part TIME

ASHLEIGH WALBRAN | BSR, GRADDIPTCH (ECE) | EDUCARER | MATERNITY LEAVE

Hi I’m Ashleigh, I absolutely love being a part of the wonderful team at Star and spending time with all of the beautiful children here. If I was put on the earth to do one thing it was definitely to work alongside children!

I have been here since May 2011 and it just keeps on getting better. I left briefly in 2014 to have my own beautiful baby boy Carter, and together with my husband Aaron, he is the apple of our eye! We are a very active family and enjoy spending time in the outdoors, especially walking our dog Hunter.

I am very passionate about infants and toddlers and love getting the opportunity to watch them grow from infants into capable and confident young children. Sitting back and observing children as they discover or accomplish new things and celebrating their success with them really is the best feeling. Spending time with them brings something new and exciting everyday; it really is very rewarding.

JENNA SIGGLEKOW | DIPTCH (ECE) | EDUCARER | MATERNITY LEAVE

Hi, I’m Jenna and I am a part time educarer at Star Early Learning. My Journey at Star began when it first opened in 2010. Since then I have become a fully registered teacher, married a handsome man called Scott and had a child of my own, Archer, who loves to come to Star whenever he can. I enjoy being part of a team-based environment where the philosophy is all about respectful practice that allows the children to learn at their own pace.

Star, being a peaceful environment, allows me to embrace my passion in teaching which is encompassing the principles of respectful practice (RIE) in my interactions with the children. Star is an exciting environment to be in as an educarer, where not only do the children learn, but also I can be involved and learn alongside them too. It’s awesome to be able to watch the children grow into the individuals that they are and be part of their life experiences. I’m known to enjoy good conversations so please come and introduce yourself; I look forward to starting this journey with you and your family.

EDDIE THE RABBIT

Full time Resident at Star

Melissa Laing | DipTch (ECE) | Owner/Manager | Full Time

Hi, I’m Melissa Laing the owner and manager of Star Early Learning. I started Star in June 2010 because I wanted a place that advocates for children and gives them ample opportunities to explore and develop at their own pace.

Read more...

I wanted to create a space that I would have wanted to play and explore in, similar to my own childhood, filled with many rich sensory experiences in the natural environment.

I believe that with the help of an amazing team, we succeeded in this and have created Star to be standout in its field. I am extremely proud to be a part of it.

I love working alongside my team, getting to know each of their passions and strengths, and utilizing these at the Centre. I love coming into work each day and couldn’t ask for a better job.

Purdie Campbell | BT (ECE) | Head Educarer | Full Time

Kia ora Whānau,
My name is Purdie Campbell, I have been working in early childhood education for the last 8 years. 

Read more...

I have recently gained the exciting new role as Head Teacher here at Star Early Learning and am so excited to be a part of this wonderful, passionate team. I was attracted to Star Early Learning because of the respectful, peaceful philosophy that mirrors my own personal teaching values.
My passion for education in and around our nature suits the beautiful outdoor environment that is already established, I am looking forward to getting stuck into the garden and creating another learning space for the children. 

Emma Quinn | DipTch (ECE) | Educarer | Part Time

Kia ora whānau, my name is Emma Quinn and I teach part time at Star Early Learning. I live in Enner Glynn with my husband Paul, two daughters Phoenix and Evie. 

Read more...

I grew up in Marlborough and as a young child attended Play Centre with my Mum who is an ECE teacher. I then went on to Primary school at a cute little country school where my Dad was the school principal. I have very fond memories of these education experiences where I was immersed in nature, the arts, and lots of play based learning. I loved being surrounded by children of all ages and being part of a small friendly early childhood and school community. I believe these early experiences shaped me and led me toward my career in ECE. I feel very passionate about making sure every child and family has a positive education experience, where learning is rich with play, social learning, nature, and provides a true sense of belonging.

Some of my favorite activities at Star are messy play, music and movement. I also love our outdoor environment and our furry friend Eddie. I believe in supporting your child in their growing independence and social skills, offering them challenges and building on their current knowledge, interests and skills. I will carefully listen, observe and interact with your child and be responsive to their individual needs.

I love working at Star because the team and management are very passionate about their jobs and are very supportive each other. We provide a very current and high standard of quality care and see ourselves as life long learners. Best of all we like to have fun and welcome you into our whānau.

Let the magical learning journey at Star begin….

CASEY TAKAO |BT (ECE) | Educarer | Full Time

Kia ora my name is Casey Takao and I am an educarer here at Star Early Learning. I have two children, Stella and Roman that are the absolute loves of my life. We try to go on many adventures together in our spare time and I simply adore my role as a mother.

Read more...

I love my role at Star, which began in February 2013.  Shortly after starting I began my journey working towards a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education, in which I will graduated in 2016. This is a busy time in my life but I love every second of it!

My passion in life is for children and providing a safe, nurturing environment for them to learn and thrive. My goal is to create an environment where families feel comfortable that their most treasured possessions are being cared for by people they know and trust. I recognise this can be a hard time to think about early education for infants and toddlers but when you have a team so passionate about caring for your whānau hopefully this transition can be an easy one!

MICHELLE TUHAKARAINA | DipTch (ECE) | Educarer | Part Time

Kia ora, I’m Michelle Tuhakaraina. My teaching journey began in March 2009 when I began working for a community-based preschool and studying towards a Diploma of Teaching in Early Childhood Education.  

Read more...

I graduated in July 2012 and shortly after took a year off to have my daughter Lexi; I began working part time at Star in February 2014.I am passionate about working with infants, toddlers and their families. I love witnessing the developmental milestones children reach at this age and being there to respectfully work alongside them as they explore and gain understanding of the world around them. I am also passionate about te ao Māori and bringing this passion into the centre.

I live with my husband JT and daughters Lexi and Payton. In my spare time I enjoy spending quality time with family and friends. I am also enjoying renovating our family home and celebrating the progress.

I look forward to meeting you and your whānau and supporting your child through their learning journey at Star.

Sophie Marshall | DipTch (ECE) | Educator | Part Time

Hello my name is Sophie Marshall,

My teaching journey started in 2004 when I left sunny Nelson to begin my early childhood study in Christchurch. Since then I have had experience working in both a teacher and head teacher role in several different centres in Christchurch and Nelson.

Read more...

I began teaching at Star Early Learning in August 2012 and soon discovered my passion for working with children aged under 2.

In 2015 I took some time off teaching as my husband Luke and I welcomed our beautiful wee daughter Mila into our family.

What I love most about Star is the respect based philosophy and natural environment. The incredible caring team of educarers make it such a fun place to work and play. I consider it a huge privilege to work alongside you and your child as they continue their learning journey with us.

Gracie Baker | Student Educarer | Part Time

Kia ora friends, my name is Gracie Baker. I recently began my teaching journey in August 2014 at Star. I am now in my final year of full time study through Te Rito Maioha New Zealand.

I have always been passionate about working with infants and young children and understanding more about how they learn, grow and explore the world around them.

Read more...

I find myself to be a very fun and confident person. I am always up for a bit of messy play or running under the sprinklers in summer. Who ever said learning wasn’t fun…?

I believe I am a people person and enjoy the company of others. In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my husband Robbie, as well as friends and family. I enjoy creative activities including painting and re decorating our home. In summer I love spending time at the beach, swimming, and exploring the lovely outdoor environment Nelson has to offer.

I look forward to meeting you all and your whānau.

Soph Short | Student Educarer | Part Time

Kia Ora Whānau, my name is Sophie Short and I am a part time educarer as well as a student here at Star Early Learning. I live on the Port Hills with my partner Jonathan and our Cat Eddie. In my spare time I enjoy going on bush walks around our beautiful region, writing and playing music and reading. 

Read more...

I have worked with children since I was 18, starting out as a nanny for PORSE where my love of working with children grew. I started my journey towards becoming a qualified Early Childhood teacher in February 2016 as I am interested in child development and working alongside families.
A few of my favourite activities to do here at Star are the music and movement, reading stories, and getting out in our awesome outdoor environment. I believe in supporting your child in their journey to independence, social skills, and will offer them challenges to build on their current knowledge, skills and interests.
I love working at Star because the team are very passionate about their jobs and are very supportive of one another. Best of all we like to make learning fun and meaningful for all.
I look forward to meeting you and watching your child learn and grow. 

Jess Max | Student Educarer | Part Time

Ashleigh Walbran | BSR, GradDipTch (ECE) | Educarer | Maternity Leave

Hi I’m Ashleigh, I absolutely love being a part of the wonderful team at Star and spending time with all of the beautiful children here. If I was put on the earth to do one thing it was definitely to work alongside children!  

Read more...

I have been here since May 2011 and it just keeps on getting better. I left briefly in 2014 to have my own beautiful baby boy Carter, and together with my husband Aaron, he is the apple of our eye! We are a very active family and enjoy spending time in the outdoors, especially walking our dog Hunter.I am very passionate about infants and toddlers and love getting the opportunity to watch them grow from infants into capable and confident young children. Sitting back and observing children as they discover or accomplish new things and celebrating their success with them really is the best feeling. Spending time with them brings something new and exciting everyday; it really is very rewarding.

JENNA SIGGLEKOW | DipTch (ECE) | Educarer | Maternity Leave

Hi, I’m Jenna and I am a part time educarer at Star Early Learning. My Journey at Star began when it first opened in 2010. Since then I have become a fully registered teacher, married a handsome man called Scott and had a child of my own, Archer, who loves to come to Star whenever he can. I enjoy being part of a team-based environment where the philosophy is all about respectful practice that allows the children to learn at their own pace.

Read more...

Star, being a peaceful environment, allows me to embrace my passion in teaching which is encompassing the principles of respectful practice (RIE) in my interactions with the children. Star is an exciting environment to be in as an educarer, where not only do the children learn, but also I can be involved and learn alongside them too. It’s awesome to be able to watch the children grow into the individuals that they are and be part of their life experiences. I’m known to enjoy good conversations so please come and introduce yourself; I look forward to starting this journey with you and your family.

Eddie the Rabbit

Full time Resident at Star

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