Pukeko Room

The Pukeko room is for children aged approximately 2 years up to around 3.5 years old.

At this age children begin to play more interactively with their peers. We focus on developing advanced social play skills, such as sharing and turn-taking. The children learn best when they play, explore and discover according to their interests. We create an environment where your child feels loved and safe to explore.

Meet the Teachers


  • Gladys  |  Team Leader

    Hi, I'm Gladys. Working in  early childhood is a dream come true for me. After a fulfilling and interesting nursing career, both in South Africa and New Zealand, I opted for a career change and completed a Graduate Diploma in Early Childhood Education in 2013. I've been with Small Fries since mid-2012 where I've been working in the Piwakawaka room with the babies. At the beginning of 2015 I accepted the team leader position in the Pukeko Room. It's been a blessing to work with an enthusiastic and positive team as we daily share 'life' with each child in our care. Children have always had a very special place in my heart and I am constantly intrigued by these exceptional masterpieces of God. My prayer is that each child will learn to know and love the Lord Jesus and grow up to be the exact person God intended them to be.

  • Mercede

    Hi, my name is Mercede and I am a part of the Pukeko team. I am originally from South Africa.  I consider myself to be a friendly, caring, bubbly and optimistic person. My favourite things to do are watching movies, singing and dancing, and I love smiling and cheering people up. I love helping others and I am extremely passionate about working with kids. I think kids are a true blessing and I have a huge privilege of being alongside them on their journey at Small Fries. I love working at Small Fries as I get the opportunity to teach these amazing children and watch them grow and learn in a dynamic environment, but most importantly, I get to tell them about Jesus, an extra special thing to look forward to and how big His love is for them.

  • lisa

    Hi there! My name is Lisa Paxton. I graduated in 2012 with a Bachelor of Education in Primary Teaching before heading to the UK and Europe with my husband James. I am originally from South Africa, but have been living in New Zealand for over 10 years now and loving it! I enjoy listening to music, dancing, reading and scrapbooking. I love spending time with James and with our friends and family. I really enjoy working with children as it is so rewarding, and knowing I can come to work and learn with them keeps me exited and motivated every day.  I look forward to meeting you and your child and making new and exciting discoveries together!

  • Ai Lin

    Hi, my name is Ai Lin (pronounced Eileen). I am a Malaysian Chinese who have been living in New Zealand for just over 12 years with my husband, Samuel, and our daughter, Caitlyn. I am a trained violinist and music educator by profession, but have always loved working with young children. In 2012 I decided to take up my Diploma in Early Childhood and become an early childhood teacher. My desire is to see children coming to know the Lord Jesus and walk in His ways. "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it."—Proverbs 22:6

  • Christine

    My name is Christine and I have three children, 2 girls and 1 boy. I asked God to show me what He wanted me to do. I totally trusted and believed He would. A good friend said 'what makes you happy?'and straight away I smiled and said children, especially preschoolers. 'then unexpectedly God opened the door and here I am! I feel so blessed to be here with such an awesome team to work with and fantastic children. God bless

  • Young-In

    Kia Ora, my name is Young-In. I have lived in Auckland for the past 25 years having originally lived in South Korea. I am the mother of two boys who are now 27 and 22 years old. I have been an early childhood teacher for five years. It is real privilege to be part of a child's growth and development and seeing the delight on their faces as they achieve real success. I love not just teaching children but also being a role model to them and believe that learning can be such a joyous and pleasant experience during their time at preschool. In my spare time i like to play golf and do gardening. Children and golf courses make me happy. Thank you!

  • Andrea

    Hello, my name is Andrea O’Malley and I love being part of the Pukeko team.  I am married with two adult children and have been living on the North Shore for two years.  My husband and I took some time out for missions and lived in Tonga in 2016 where I managed a Christian Preschool. I continue to have strong links with the Preschool and am involved in the training of staff over there. After numerous years of working as a primary teacher within Christian and State schools I moved to working with younger children. I decided to retrain and complete at Grad Dip in ECE in 2014. 

    I enjoy the challenge, variety and fun of working with young children. I feel privileged to be part of a child’s life discovering the God given gifts/talents and abilities that each child has.  As a teacher in the Pukeko room I want to be able to help each child discover their strengths and nurture them in discovering who God has created them to be