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

Our Montessori teachers 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.

The Children’s Corner

All our teacher’s qualifications are displayed on the internal Centre Noticeboard, including their current first aid certificates.

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 have had the pleasure of being Centre Owner of The Children’s Corner Howick since January 2007 and the best part of my work is getting to know all our preschoolers 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 Manager

Hi, my name is Fiona Goodman and I am Centre Manager 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 and I am a fully registered teacher. Your children are a delight and privilege to teach.  I enjoy 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 have completed an Introduction to Montessori Practice through Montessori Central International (London) and have full teacher registration.

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 travelling. I enjoy travelling 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. I am a fully registered teacher.

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.