Meet The Team

Nicole Honiss | Director

Nicole’s vision for Little Sparrows is to provide a well-resourced, supportive environment where each staff member, child, and their families, feel a genuine sense of belonging. Nicole strongly believes that every child deserves the best care and education possible. She endeavours to ensure that each child is given the opportunity to reach their full potential while having fun learning in a safe and stimulating environment.

Heritage – French and Italian

Caroline Barns-Graham | Centre Manager

I am a mother of two strong girls, a keen and social hiker, walker and ocassional runner who loves to hit the gym now and then with friends. I have such a love for nature and marvel in how beautiful our country is to explore.  I am also a passionate teacher with a particular interest in relational learning and leadership. As a leader I believe that relationships are the key to all improved teaching and learning outcomes for akonga.I place great value on quality experiences that support children in building their social skills and understanding. I believe the tamariki do not stand alone when they enter the centre and hold the relationships that they have within their whānau and in the community in high regard. The importance of these relationships is vital in supporting each child and their whakapapa to blossom and integral in ensuring whānau are woven into nga tamariki learning journey. As adults we have much to learn much from children; they have a lot to tell us, listening closely is the key. Integral to my philosophy is the belief that children should be respected as whole individuals, living in the now, with the mātauranga of their ancestors. Through this we build honest and trusting relationships with the children and their parents/caregivers/whānau; to provide an interesting, stimulating and challenging environment where they all feel a sense of belonging, value and security.

Heritage – Scottish

Grace Adams | Supervisor Over 2's

Grace began her teaching career at Little Sparrows Hamilton in 2014. Grace completed her Bachelors Degree in Primary Teaching at the University of Waikato. After an Au-Pair experience overseas Grace found that her heart was with younger children- she then went onto complete her Graduate Diploma in ECE. In 2018 Grace ‘flew the nest’ to Little Sparrows Leamington and became supervisor in the Tuakana (Pre-School) room. Grace’s days at Little Sparrows are all about following the children’s curiosities and questions whilst having FUN! Grace is intrigued by all the life experiences that each child brings into the setting and ways that she can assist further discoveries with the children’s ideas.

Heritage – third generation Kiwi

Gabrielle Bass | Supervisor Under 2's

Meet Gabrielle (aka Gabby) our Ruma Teina supervisor! Gabby has always had a love for young children and it was becoming a mum and being inspired by her eldest child’s incredible growth and development in his first year that encouraged her to study further. Her ECE journey began in 2010 with her enrolling with Wintec and working part time in a Reggio inspired early childhood centre. Graduating with a Bachelor of Teaching in 2014 she has worked in various centres with infants and toddlers, completed her teacher registration and gained invaluable experience all while raising her own 3 children Jake, Braxton and Quinn. Gabby is passionate about biculturalism, providing quality care for under twos, and facilitating inviting and challenging experiences for tamariki that can extend their learning – empowering them to see themselves as the confident and capable beings they are. Wellbeing and a strong sense of belonging for tamariki and their whanau are essential to their learning success and Gabby ensures this through building open honest caring relationships with you and your pepi.

Heritage – South African

Natalie Williams | Teacher

Natalie finished her studies in 2017 with Te Rito Maioha. Her journey began when she was nannying for a family in Hamilton and began relieving in a centre while the children were at school. Natalie soon discovered her passion for early childcare and took on a full time position in 2014. She has spent the last 3 years working with under twos and is enjoying the challenge of adapting her practice to work with an older age group again. Natalie has a passion for building great relationships with tamariki as she believes this is vital to support their individual needs.

Marcella Ghirelli-Joslin | Teacher

Marcella has been a part of the Little Sparrows family since 2018 after joining us from the sunny Hawkes Bay. Marcella has had over 26 years experience in ECE in the Kindergarten/ Pre-School sector. Marcella is passionate about providing and using the environment to spark imagination and create meaningful and educational experiences.

Heritage – Latin American

Nicole Donald | Teacher

Meet Nicole (aka Nic) – our very knowledgeable and experienced toddler teacher who loves to play, sing and get messy! Nic enjoys being physically active and shares this passion with our tamariki by creating new and different physical challenges, dancing and playing games. She also provides a warm, kind and caring teaching approach that the tamariki adore her for. She began her ECE journey in 2009 and graduated with  her bachelor of teaching ECE in 2012.  As well as experience in centres Nic is also mum to her beautiful daughter Mila – who is constantly challenging her and building on her experience! Nicole is our transition to Tuakana Kaiako and she is passionate about our youngest tamariki having successful, supportive child initiated transitions within little Sparrows.

Nastasja Woodlock | Teacher

Meet Nastasja (aka Starsh) – nurturer by heart, whose loving & kind nature makes her a magnet for our pepi. Nastasja completed a Bachelor of Social Science with a double major in Psychology and Human Development in 2010. Always having been drawn to working with children, she pursued a career in ECE which led her to complete her Graduate Diploma of Teaching-ECE in 2014, and is now a fully registered teacher. Nastasja and her husband have two sons; Julian and Jasper who both attend Little Sparrows. Originally a toddler teacher, Nastasja took up the challenge of becoming an Under Twos teacher after her second child was born. Nastasja is passionate about sustainability, providing quality learning experiences and allowing children to challenge their own abilities.

Heritage – Dutch with Indonesian ancestry

Mariee Tumahai | Student Teacher

Kia Ora whanau, meet Mariee (aka Marge) –

Ko Maungatautari te maunga, Ko Maungatautari te marae, Ko Waikato-Tainui te iwi, Ko Ngati Koroki Kahukura te hapu, no kemureti ahau.

Marge takes great pride in being able to provide Tamariki with a bicultural environment that promotes diversity, quality care and enables them to explore the world around them as they grow into capable and competent learners.  Marge is a firm believer in the sense that tamariki are our Taonga (treasures) and with that has a warm and inviting persona and will love and cherish your pepi as if they are her own. Kemureti is her home, being born and bred in a small town where her roots lie and now raising her two tamariki, Rhys and Taimana here brings her so much pride to be apart of the vibrant and tight knit community that we are. Early childhood has always held a special place close to her heart and with her knowledge comes many years of experience working in ECE since 2009.  Also embarking on a learning journey of her own as she completes her Bachelor of Teaching through Te Rito Maioha.  Little Sparrows has already allowed her to step up and grow so much more as a kaiako and she intends on incorporating all that she is learning through her study with her team and pepi to make Ruma Teina the best it could possibly be. Nga mihi ki a koutou katoa.

Caitlin Hanley | Student Teacher

Caitlin is an enthusiastic and nurturing teacher who is currently studying to become a qualified early childhood teacher through Wintec. She values and encourages strong relationships with the tamariki, caregivers and all staff. Caitlin strives to consistently create a warming, welcoming environment for all children and their families. She has a love for messy and active play, and loves discovering new ways expand the children’s imaginations.

Heritage – third generation Kiwi

Kyla Reid | Student Teacher

Meet Kyla- our kind, bubbly and gentle soul who loves having fun outdoors with our tamariki! Kyla is currently studying her Bachelor in Teaching (Early Childhood Education) through the Waikato Institute of Technology. Kyla found her passion for teaching at a young age and began teaching children to swim, before starting her career in Early Childhood Education. Kyla loves the outdoors and nature, so encouraging children to learn more about papatuanuku and how we need to nurture and treasure it is something she is passionate about!  She is also interested in the psychological side of how children’s minds work and the different developmental stages they go through – so she is a natural with our pepi, supporting and extending them at each stage they are at. Kyla is very excited for her future at Little Sparrows and can’t wait to bring all of her new found knowledge through studying into the centre.

Heritage – third generation Kiwi

Catherine MacDonald

Hi my name is Catherine and I am of Scottish heritage; and last year I moved to Cambridge from Auckland with my husband and two young boys, prior to this we were in London for 4 years.

I have been actively teaching in the Early Years sector for 5 years and have experienced in all ages within Early Years age group. My teaching philosophy is predominantly influenced by the Reggio Emilia approach; the child being at the centre of learning through their interest whereby they are encouraged to self-express, communicate and problem solve.

Another Theory that has influenced my teaching is the Vygotsky Social Development Theory.  The central belief is social interaction, which plays a fundamental and integral part In the development of a child’s learning to communicate, play alongside others and interact with other children as a lifelong skill. It is my view that as teacher we are here to support the child through each natural step they make while providing a safe and nurturing environment where they feel emotionally secure to succeed.

In my down time I enjoy spending time with my family out and about, doing a bit of baking and generally getting creative!

Rachel Leatham

I’m Rachel, a new teacher/kaiako here at Little Sparrows!  I’m a fully qualified early childhood teacher and have been working with young children/tamariki for 8 years now.

I’m originally from Southland and grew up in various areas of the South Island, however I have been in the North Island and the Waikato area for 27 years now (although I still think of Southland as my home). I have strong connections to my Scottish heritage which explains my southern links.  I have 3 grown up girls that are the little gems in my life. We are a close family and have 3 generations all living on the same piece of land just out of Cambridge. I love what all generations can achieve when they work together.

I enjoy the outdoors, horse riding, cycling, eating yummy food and exploring our beautiful country. The girls and I love to go camping in our tent and spending time at the beach, which I hope to do lots more of this summer!

Maria Abbott

My name is Maria and I am married to Steve and we have 3 daughters and 3 beautiful grandsons. – I live in Cambridge and am a local, I am of British and Maori decent; Ngati Koroki Kahukura and Maungatautari is my Marae. I have been teaching in the Early Childhood sector for more than 16 years and I regard it to be a privilege to be able to work alongside the whanau and tamariki in my community.

In my spare time I enjoy reading and spending time with my whanau, particularly fishing. I look forward to getting to know you all.

Amanda Willats

Hi everyone, I am Amanda and I have Swedish and Yugoslav heritage, though my family has strong links here in New Zealand.  I am part of a family of two children, myself and my hubby. We moved to Cambridge from Auckland in 2016 and haven’t looked back. We love living in such a wonderful tight knit community.

I am the mother of two teenagers; Lucas and Georgia who both attend Cambridge High School. I have been working in the early childhood sector for over twenty years in many varied and different roles. I am passionate about provocations, and open-ended play and truly believe that it is the environment that is the teacher.  I believe that we are a home away from home, with whanau and families feeling welcome to share their stories and heritages.

Here at Little Sparrow we are so lucky to be part of a unique community and I feel blessed that I get to empower and develop your little ones on their learning journeys. I can’t wait to see where my journey here takes me.

Kayla Bromwich

Hi my name is Kayla Bromwich I am of British, Scandinavian, french and fijian heritage, I’m a local here in Leamington and have been since 2011.

I completed my bachelor of teaching in 2020 with a passion for teaching toddlers and preschoolers. My passion for teaching toddlers came about when I had my first child as I love watching their little minds explode with never ending learning and knowledge. I enjoy all things outdoors and animals and learning, In my personal time I enjoy being with my family and getting outside. My personal teaching philosophy can be seen as RIE based respecting infants in early childhood education and allowing them to learn things at their pace with freedom of movement.

Zoe Holton

Hi, my name is Zoë, I am of British and Portuguese heritage and I have lived in Cambridge my entire life. I have been studying Early Childcare Education for the past year to gain my level five diploma and hope to continue my studies in order to gain my degree in 2022. I have wanted to be an early childcare teacher since I was very small and have loved working at Little Sparrows for the past year. It is important for me to form relationships with the children and ensure they feel safe and happy. In my spare time I enjoy reading, writing and sports such as mixed martial arts and running.