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At Poppies, we recognise the importance of a supportive proficient conscious teaching team, committed to ongoing professional development. Considering their qualifications and teaching experience, the teachers at Poppies are carefully selected for their genuine warmth and passion, innovation, motivation and quality teaching practices.

In order to meet the needs of the individual child, the Poppies team are knowledgeable about human development and the early childhood curriculum, skilled at implementing it, thoughtful about what they do, aware of their roles as models for learning and willing to be flexible.

The teachers are dedicated to learning, both in their own personal and professional development and in gaining knowledge about each individual child. They are trained to meet the educational needs of each child lovingly and develop their strengths and interests, knowledge, skills and positive attitudes.

Poppies supports the staff by funding professional development and supporting the continuation of training which allows them to gain further knowledge and experience and higher Early Childhood qualifications if they wish. All teachers hold current first aid certificates."

Alex Ryan - Director

Originally born and educated in Jersey Channel Islands and the UK and having studied education, psychology and philosophy, Alex travelled for a couple of years and settled in New Zealand in the mid 80's.  She established Poppies officially in 1988 initially for her own sons and those of a few friends in the playroom of the large family home. Ten years later, Poppies had expanded and had ended up consuming a whole floor of the house. In 2000 Alex secured the site in Hapua St and excitedly commenced planning, designing and navigating her way through the vast red tape. We finally moved into the current facility in 2004.  Alex hopes that her passion to offer and provide our young with fun, positive experiences in a rich learning environment is evident when you visit the Poppies setting, experience the atmosphere and become involved in the  programme. When Alex isn't attending to the needs of Poppies, she enjoys furthering her knowledge of psychology(recommended reading for new parents being 'Conscious Parenting' by Dr Shefali Tsabary), philosophy and human development and existence (ancient civilisations and quantum physics being her latest), and/or walking her dogs/exercising more gently than some, preferably somewhere surrounded by nature. 

Megan Lindsay

Megan Lindsay - Head Teacher

Megan, who holds a B Ed in ECE and Primary from Victoria University in Wellington , (and her fiancé Hayden) moved to Auckland after returning from living and teaching in London for over 2 years. Megan has been educating and caring for children from birth to 8 years old for over 8 years now and has concluded that teaching 2-5 yr olds is by far her favourite age group to teach. Her energy and enthusiasm, joy and laughter and positive attitude is infectious. Megan is an avid gym attendee and enjoys looking for and training towards a variety of physical challenges. She has already knocked off a marathon in Budapest (impressively in 4 hrs 53 secs!) been diving in subzero temperatures, explored the deepest tombs in Egypt and is now training for the 2019 Napier marathon. She is a living inspiration and an absolute pleasure to have as our Head Teacher at Poppies.

Sonia De Los Rios - Deputy Head Teacher

Sonia was born in Mexico and grew up in Seattle. She completed an internship with Walt Disney World while studying business and decided that her real passion was to work with children. She decided therefore  to pursue a post graduate degree in Early Childhood and Family Studies at the University of Washington. In 2012 she moved to NZ with Lucas (now hubby) where she completed her Bachelor of Education ECE.

Sonia taught Spanish at King's School and also worked for the Auckland Kindergarten Association prior to joining Poppies. Sonia enjoys working out at the gym and these days has been enjoying a bit of boxing training too!


Nelli Jauregui - Teacher

Nelli was born in the Philippines and moved to New Zealand with her family at age 17. She studied BSc Psychology at the University of Auckland with a Graduate Diploma in ECE. Her passion for children’s learning was sparked while studying developmental psychology and volunteering at the Early Learning Lab in the psychology department. While she remains interested in cognitive studies, she discovered she preferred learning about human development through close interaction with young children. Nelli believes that all children are capable, competent learners. She believes in providing a nurturing environment that stimulates children’s creativity and passion for learning. She believes that this is built through respectful and caring relationships that lead to children’s empowerment. The Poppies children benefit enormously from Nelli's vast knowledge and understanding together with her 'chilled' yet super cheerful personality. When Nelli isn't teaching and practicing the many languages she enjoys speaking and sharing her many wonderful artisitic talents with us all at Poppies....she can be found working out at the gym and focusing and training hard to obtain her black belt in Hapkido.


Helen Morris - Teacher

Helen was born in England. At 8 years old, she moved to New Zealand with her native mother and twin sister. After completing her schooling, Helen travelled overseas, and took part in a volunteer programme in Costa Rica. She returned to NZ and was a private nanny for two years before realising that she would like to expand on her education and enthusiasm working alongside young children. Helen joined Poppies part time in 2010 whilst completing her degree. In 2013 Helen graduated from AUT with a Bachelor of Teaching ECE and became a fulltime qualified teacher at Poppies until she took maternity leave in 2017 to have her first bonny baby - Max. Helen has been part time back at Poppies since mid 2018. 


Chanelle Thomas - Kindergarten Assistant

Chanelle was born and raised in Auckland with her two younger sisters. Growing up she spent a lot of time around children as her mum is an early childhood teacher.  After leaving school she was offered a position as a property manager.  Chanelle pursued this profession with interest and enthusiasm however always maintained this deep inner passion to work with children. We are lucky that Chanelle saw our ad and applied to join our team mid 2018. We are thrilled to have her energy, vibrancy and quirky sense of humour at Poppies and are looking forward to helping and supporting her to study for her Bachelor in Education ECE over the next 3 years whilst she assists us at Poppies as well. Chanelle loves to keep fit in her spare time - pole dancing is her favourite form of exercise which she insists is what maintains her body strength and good health. 

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Our aim at Poppies is to offer young children a high quality introduction to a successful life of learning.

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