Our Team

Centre Management

At Shore Kids we pride ourselves in our high ratio of qualified staff to children. We work well as a team ensuring a friendly, fair and secure environment. Regular training courses are attended by all members of staff to guarantee that our qualifications and knowledge is up to date, enabling us to provide the children with the highest standard of care and supervision during their learning. We have regular staff meetings to enable us to converse our thoughts and ideas and plan future events.

Gail (3)

Gail Menkin

Owner / Director

I have been in the Early Childhood Education sector for the last 29 years and am passionate about the care and development of little children.

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I am a fully qualified and registered Early Childhood teacher with a Bachelor of Teaching Degree (ECE) NZ and a Diploma in Montessori Education [years 2 to 6].

We purchased our first Centre in 2003, Mariposa Kids in 2010 and Shore Kids in 2014.

I have two children of my own, now grown up – Alexandra (30) and Robert (27).

I love spending time with my family and when time allows I enjoy reading and making Teddy Bears.


Sara Hayde

Centre Manager

I studied through New Zealand Tertiary College and worked full time throughout my studies providing me with the practical knowledge and skills of an Early Childhood Educator.

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I currently hold a Bachelor degree in Early Childhood Education. I have been working at Shore Kids Barbados for 8 years now and each and every child I have had the opportunity to teach is unique and special. I aim to influence the children within my care in a positive way, creating a caring and rich environment where they can grow into competent and confident members of society.

Pipi Room

We have a wonderful and privileged opportunity as Pipi teachers to build relationships and create trust with our infant age group. It is a time to have fun and enjoy rich conversations with our littlest learners.

We keep our room largely undecorated, knowing that infants can easily become over-stimulated by ‘visual pollution’, and you will notice it is more homely than class-roomy. To keep up with best practice we engage in ongoing development to best understand the nature and development of this age group. We have a specialist approach to infant care that is unique to our room and based upon the simple principle of respect. Your baby will be actively listened to, responded to, and loved.

We understand that infants are driven by an innate need to self-educate, and simply require us to support their natural curiosity and exploration by ensuring that their environment offers them possibilities and opportunities. We respond quickly to their cues, assure their wellbeing and belonging, and they naturally gain confidence to learn.

Parents and family are the experts on their children, and we encourage and facilitate open communication to enable us to know your babies and their individual needs and preferences so that their care is specifically tailored to them.


Cathy Edwards

Pipi Room Teacher

Hi, I’m Cathy

A little bit about me: I grew up in Whakatane and moved to Auckland in 2006 to study, gaining a Bachelor of Education degree.

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I have 3 older brothers who have given me 3 nieces and 3 nephews who I adore and love spending time with. Some of my interests are baking and cake decorating, dancing and spending time with friends and family. I have worked in childcare for 8 years and love watching and guiding children as they develop into competent and confident learners. I look forward to getting to know you all here at Shore Kids.
Leanne Original pic

Leanne Bain

Pipi Room Teacher

My name is Leanne I am 52 and live on the Hibiscus Coast. I am married and have 3 beautiful children – ages 18, 19, and 26.

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I wanted to do this job because I think my life experiences will be a great advantage for the children of Shore Kids, plus I have been informed it will be at least 5 more years before I have my own Grandchildren.

I believe young children keep us happy and active – nothing better than laughing while doing your job. At Shore Kids I want the children to have as much fun as possible while learning and excelling at just being little people.

Paua Room

Welcome from the Paua room team, where we take over the nurturing and development of your young child and start them on the road to becoming fully active members of society. This is the age of discovering independence, and as such providing our children with a sense of wellbeing and belonging is paramount within our Paua room giving them the confidence and safety to explore this growing sense of self.

Through watching, listening, copying and lots of trial and error Paua children are mastering so many new skills. Our Paua room is set up specifically with this learning in mind, with ample space and resources providing plenty of time for uninterrupted play and learning. Resources provide opportunity for children to mimic and explore ideas through imaginative play becoming mothers of their own “babies”, firefighters on their bikes, or tigers in the jungle enabling them to make sense of the world and their place within it, learning how to work with and alongside others as they play.

Paua teachers are a vital resource themselves at this highly influential age, and pride themselves in role modelling positive social interactions, encouraging language development and literacy through stories, rhyme and song as well as allowing children to copy and try out “jobs” such as gardening, animal care or baking to name a few.

Repetition is key for children of this age so resources and activities are constantly available, many of which utilize the same skills but in different contexts allowing for practice, practice, practice until our now very independent Pauas are ready to start their next journey to primary school.

Once your child turns four, we provide a special transition programme in collaboration with the new-entrant teachers of our local schools. Special attention is given to not just word recognition, numeracy and vocabulary but also concentration, working in a group and routines. We encourage aspects of learning and behaviour that will prepare them well for their move to ‘big school’.

Cathy Choi

Cathy Choi

Paua Room Teacher

I am from the Philippines, I immigrated to New Zealand with my son in 2009. I was a University Teacher back in the Philippines with a degree…

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… in Computer Studies. I wanted to continue teaching when I enrolled at AUT University for Post graduate studies but got interested and shifted to Early Childhood Education. I earned my Post Graduate Diploma in Teaching (ECE) in 2013, and I am currently working on my full teacher’s registration. I love having conversations and playing with little children. I spend my free time watching movies and reading books.

Lisa Anderson

Lisa Anderson

Paua Room Teacher

I started working in Early Childhood Education in 2002, after having my first child and becoming really interested in how children develop & grow.

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I have my Diploma of Teaching (ECE) and hold my Full Teacher Registration. I am Mum to my 15-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter who my world revolves around. I love to cook and enjoy encouraging the Preschool children to get involved with this too. As well as helping children to develop the foundations for future learning, my main goal for the children I work with is for them to develop a healthy self-esteem and confidence in themselves and to learn to treat others with kindness and empathy.

Support Staff

Shore Kids provides children with morning and afternoon tea and a nutritious lunch every day and we are fortunate to have our own full-time cook. This key role requires weekly menu planning, ordering, preparation of meals and some superb baking as well as keeping everything hygienically clean.

Our regular maintenance jobs around the Centre are professionally taken care of by Joey and Clive.

Celi 3a

Arceli (Celi) Ruas-Villamor

Centre Cook

Hi – I am Celi the Centre Cook and Cleaner. I have a husband Joey and we have been married for 16 years now.

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We moved to New Zealand in 2016 and this has been quite a culture shock for my family, however, we were looking for a new and better way of life.

In the Philippines I worked at a Preschool as a reliever and looked after my family at home. Since joining Shore Kids I have really enjoyed working alongside different people and cultures and watching the children grow and learn.

I am also happy to be cooking healthy and nutritious meals for them and keeping the Centre clean and tidy.


Maureen Ortiz

Relief Teacher

I am Maureen Ortiz – born and raised in the Philippines. I pursued my Bachelor of Elementary Education and then completed a Masters in Early Childhood Education. I then spent 4 years teaching in kindergarten.

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I moved to New Zealand with my husband in 2016.

Teaching is a calling and I feel blessed that I am a teacher. I want to strive more to nurture and cultivate young minds and watch them grow. I believe that children are a gift and as a teacher, I need to respect, educate and stimulate their imagination and develop them holistically.

Opening Hours

Monday to Friday
7.30am – 5.30pm


09 444 0709

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9 Barbados Drive
Unsworth Heights
Auckland 0632



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