Encouraging a lifelong love of learning  by providing


children with  a quality Montessori  environment.

  The Children's Corner

Montessori Pre-School

Our People

We recruit and retain the very best early childhood teachers; highly qualified, experienced individuals who feel a strong connection to our Center Vision and are committed to providing our children with quality learning.

To work at our pre-school,  teachers need to either hold a Montessori teaching qualification or have experience of working within a Montessori learning environment. We pride ourselves on the high caliber of our teachers and their commitment to continuous professional development. The role of a Montessori teacher is different from other teachers; they are facilitators, mentors, coaches and guides. Through careful observation they get to know a child’s learning style, personality and  interests and guide them through the Montessori curriculum accordingly. Our teachers treat every child as unique and their learning journey specific to them, encouraging in them a love of learning. Montessori teachers encourage children to ask questions, think independently, explore, investigate and discover.

Diane Cornelius
Centre Owner

Originally from Scotland, I came to Auckland in 2003 with my husband and I am very proud to call Auckland home. I have a B.A degree in Politics, Philosophy and Sociology and a Post-graduate Diploma in Personnel Management. I am almost at the end of my Aperfield Montessori Diploma and will be sitting my final exam this year.

I have owned The Children’s Corner Howick since January 2007 and the best part of my work is getting to know all our pre-schoolers and their families. I believe every child deserves the very best start in life and together with our talented teachers this is what we aim to provide your child with…a quality Montessori foundation for lifelong learning.

I have 4 children (Neve, Orla, Darcy and Dempsey) and a husband who also works in early childhood so children really focus a lot in our lives! Together with our sheep, goat, dogs and cat we enjoy life on our lifestyle block.

Fiona Goodman  
Centre Supervisor

Hi, my name is Fiona Goodman and I am Supervisor at The Children’s Corner. I began my Montessori journey in the UK where I completed my training with St Nicholas in 1992. I then worked in various schools in Europe before coming to New Zealand in 1995.

I met my husband Murray and after getting married we had two children Jemma and Thomas. Both my children went to Montessori preschools and Tom was one of the foundation pupils here and spent his last year here before going to school.

We have a bach at Cooks Beach in the Coromandel where we like to spend time and enjoy waterskiing, wakeboarding and just relaxing at the beach. In my spare time I like to read, spend time with friends and I love to shop!

Justine McManus
Montessori Teacher

My name is Justine McManus. I currently hold a provisional registration and am now working towards full teacher registration.  I feel lucky to have support from whānau, a highly skilled teaching team at Children’s Corner; parents/guardians and the wider community to help me achieve this goal. 

Your children are a delight and privilege to teach.  I am looking forward to fostering reciprocal relationships with them based on trust and respect, enabling me to notice their individual, diverse strengths, interests and learning styles to further add value to their learning and holistic development.  

I’m married to Ray and we live with our beloved pet Bonnie who loves going for long walks.  Other passions of mine are travel, the outdoors, theatre, music, the arts, and relaxing with friends and family.

I believe cultural diversity and acknowledging tamariki as being unique is important as it celebrates individuality, advocates inclusion and fosters a child’s sense of well-being and belonging within their learning environment and amongst their friends.   Thus, nurturing self-expression, exploration and curiosity, helping them to become independent and competent life-long learners.

Jamie Rong
Montessori Teacher

Kia Ora! My name is Jamie (Hui) Rong. I was born and raised in Shanghai. I completed a Bachelor Degree in my hometown in 2009, majoring in International Business. I moved to New Zealand in 2012 and gained a Graduate Diploma in Early Childhood Education in 2014. I am now studying the Introduction to Montessori Practice through Montessori Central International (London).

I love working with children and giving them the opportunity to explore and ask questions about our changing world. After relieving in The Children's Corner for almost one year, I found that I truly enjoy working in a Montessori preschool as I could see the benefit that Montessori education brings to children.

My hobbies include hiking, badminton, and traveling. I enjoy traveling as spending time in other places helps me understand and learn about different people and cultures. I celebrate diversity as we all come from different backgrounds and live peacefully and harmoniously in New Zealand.

Josephine Difuntorum
Montessori Teacher

Hello, I am Josephine from the Philippines. Being a Montessori mum to four sons motivated me to pursue a career in Early Childhood Education. We lived in Brunei for twelve years where I taught children from 2 to 6 years old at the International School Brunei. Since 2009 I have been teaching in a Montessori school in New Zealand. These experiences exposed me to diverse cultures and varied developmental and learning needs of young children. I also gained the experience to be a Teacher, Head Teacher and Learning Support Teacher.

I gained my Montessori Education from the Australian Montessori Society and completed a Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood Teaching) at Manukau Institute of Technology in New Zealand.

As a Montessori teacher I am privileged to support children and celebrate in their early life success and development. I strongly believe that each child’s curiosity and needs should be treated with genuine interest and love. I take my responsibilities as an educator very seriously and work hard to develop mutual trust and respect from children, parents and my colleagues.
Sithra Manick Montessori Teacher

Hello, I am Sithra, I am a Malaysian immigrant and came to New Zealand in the early 1990's.   I am Montessori trained with a Bachelor of Education in Early Childhood Teaching, and a fully registered teacher. I began working with children in Malaysia and South Africa and continued in Montessori schools in Auckland. I was a full time mother of 2 boys while we were living in Norway. I believe every child is unique with their own interests, abilities, imagination and creativity.