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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, Alex travelled for a couple of years and settled in NZ in the mid 1980'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. Poppies 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 behaviour (ancient civilisations and quantum physics being her latest interest), and/or walking with her dogs. 

Dandan Zhao

Dandan Zhao - Teacher

Dandan, originally from China, graduated from the University of East Anglia (UK) with a Master of Education in 2012. In order to follow her passion for teaching, she moved to NZ and enrolled to study Early Childhood Education with New Zealand Tertiary College in 2016. Having achieved her Post Graduate Diploma, Dandan taught in Auckland for a period before taking up a teaching position in a Montessori Pre-school in Queenstown for a year.

Dandan believes in supporting children to value their individuality and uniqueness. She is very excited about the NZ education system and is passionate at implementing the NZ early childhood curriculum – Te Whariki. Having grown up and been educated in China for the most part of her formative years she is incredibly grateful and happy to be living and teaching in NZ. 

Dandan enjoys yoga, traveling and baking.

Rosan Argao

Rosan Argao - Teacher Assistant

Rosan was born and raised in the Philippines.  Having completed a Degree in Tourism she worked in the Customer Service industry before following family to Australia in 2013. In Sydney she found her true passion working with children so here she completed a post graduate Diploma in Children's Services.

She has worked in the childcare industry for almost 5 years now.  Rosan considers working with children not a job, but a calling and is passionate about providing positive experiences for young children. 

Rosan appreciates the importance in maintaining good harmonious relationships with children , their families, colleagues and the community to support all children to reach their fullest potential. 

Rosan's interests include exploring nature and trail walking. 


Lauren Bruchhausen - Teacher

Lauren was born and raised in South Africa. She first visited NZ in 2015 and after completing her BA and post graduate certificates in Education in SA, she made her way with her fiance back to live in NZ.  Lauren has been teaching and working with children for over 7 years.  She is passionate about teaching and supporting young minds to develop into the best versions of themselves. She also believes in the value of allowing children to develop their curiosity; explore and experiment; advance their knowledge and skills through creative expression, the arts and through play. Lauren is adventurous herself  -enjoys travelling and exploring new places. Reading is her favourite R & R.

Rachel Ha

Rachel Ha - Teacher

Rachel, originally from Korea, moved to NZ in her teens with her family. After qualifying with a
Bachelor of Fashion Design from Auckland University of Technology in 2010, she returned to Korea
to work in the Fashion industry. After several years she realised her true passion was to teach young
children so decided to return to NZ to complete a post graduate diploma in Early Childhood
Teaching. Rachel completed her studies in July 2019. Whilst studying, Rachel has had experience
teaching at Lollipops Childcare in Parnell. She enjoys all the arts especially painting and all art and
craft activities and experiences, music and dance. She is excited to share all her creative talents with
us all at Poppies and put all that she has learnt about how to be the best teacher you can be, into

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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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