Meet our Teachers

We have a fantastic team on board – read below to find out more about them.

Fi Charman Rotorua Kindy Teacher

Fi Charman

Head Teacher & Centre Manager

Fi has a background in specialist teaching and has an extensive list of skills including, nature learning, excursions, Te Reo and Tikanga Maori, Health and safety, carpentry, gardening, and music.

Nga mihi Pathways whānau,

I’m Fi (short for Fiona) and I’m an experienced head teacher. Being a kindergarten teacher is the most rewarding career, every day has some new interesting facet… or surprise! And I take the responsibility of caring for these precious personalities very seriously.

I have a background in science and fell into education after I home-schooled two of my children many years ago.

I come from a huge family of Irish ancestry and grew up on an organic dairy farm on the Rangitaiki plains.

Roger and I were overwhelmed with how friendly everyone was when we moved to Rotorua.

I’m a sailor in my soul but I’m really enjoying the mountain biking trails here too.

Carina Naude Rotorua Kindy Teacher

Carina Naude

Teacher – Fulltime

Kia Ora,

I come from a child and family therapy background. I practiced as a trauma therapist for 10 years before making a move to ECE, a decision I have never regretted. With both a Masters Degree in Teaching and a Masters degree in Play Therapy, I feel very fortunate as it grants me extensive knowledge about child development and the importance of this for children’s learning within a play based environment. I have extensive experience in building strong and effective relationships with whānau and believe in the child as a whole, involving whānau in the assessment and learning process to ensure the best outcomes for our tamariki.

My teaching philosophy is based around play. My belief is that ultimately, children learn through play and without this, learning would not be possible. I believe my role is as a facilitator of children’s learning and thus put a lot of value on my role as a teacher – but believe that only the child can determine where they are at, and what must happen next. Thus, I value my ability to recognise children’s verbal and non-verbal cues about what they find interesting and what they want to learn from that.

Furthermore, I place high value in guiding children in their social and emotional development. During my recent studies, I completed a research project that looked at how children can support each other’s social and emotional self-regulation within their sociodramatic play. This was a huge success and was published in the Early Education Journal in 2018. This project added so much to my own practice and created an awareness for me about the abilities of children in managing their own emotional and social challenges, with the right guidance from myself, as teacher. It also confirmed the importance of imaginative play and how this really serves as a learning tool in itself.

I pride myself on my sense of humour and sense of fun and find this to be a way for me to connect, not only with children, but also with adults. Having said this, I also know how to be serious at the right time. I look forward to my journey with Pathways Kindergarten.

Sky Smale Kindy Teacher Rotorua

Sky Smale

Support Teacher

Kia Ora koutou,
Ko Sky taku ingoa, no Rotorua ahau.

I feel so happy to be joining the wonderful families and teachers here at Pathways!

I’m enjoying being back in Rotorua after a decade in Wellington, where I completed my degree in Early childhood education, undertook studies in visual communication and worked at childcare centres.

I am from a family of conservationists, which has had an impact on my passion for the natural world. I love to work on creative projects, gardening, reading… and I look forward to sharing, learning and growing along with the tamariki and team here.

Kirby Cass Rotorua Kindy Teacher

Kirby Cass

Support Teacher

Kia Ora,

My name is Kirby and I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a post grad in Secondary Teaching. I taught art in New Zealand and after traveling and teaching in Istanbul, came home to have my children.

My interests include gardening, art history, travel, cooking, reading and lyenger yoga. I live locally with my husband and two small children where we are restoring an old house and creating a garden together.

Kim Ireson Rotorua Kindy Teacher

Kim Ireson

Administrator & Support Teacher

Kia Ora,

My name is Kim and I have lived in Rotorua for a long time. My teaching philosophy, in a nutshell, is about relationships – whakawhanaungatanga and connectedness. I believe that a child comes to us as part of a valued family unit already, and as such it is a privilege to be entrusted with the taonga that lies within each one. I have seen that when I treat children with respect and value them individually and as part of the whānau they come from, then they in turn will show respect and value to others around them.

I have 3 grown children, who I love spending time with, and with my beautiful grandchildren. When visiting Spring Fair, I experienced a community of people who showed care, respect, and a sense of fun and went away thinking that Pathways would be a place where my core values and beliefs, both personally and professionally, would align well.

My background in Early Childhood Education started with attending Playcentre with my children. I then began a career as an Education Support Worker (in kindergartens), and moved on to acquire my Diploma in ECE. I have now worked in ECE centres for over 14 years as a teacher.