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Creative Class


We are a Christian-based Early Learning Centre and our teaching reflects the values found in the Bible.

We celebrate the individuality of each child to enable them to learn and develop as confident, competent, and enthusiastic learners, as well as to become respectful contributors to society, and to fulfil their God-given potential.

We believe learning begins at home and work in partnership with family/whanau and community to value and build on the knowledge and experiences that children bring with them.

In line with Biblical Christian teaching, we provide a warm, caring family/whanau like environment which values quality care, education and fosters the principle of “ako” (a reciprocal teaching and learning relationship).

We honour the principles of Partnership, Protection and Participation based on the Treaty of Waitangi.

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To provide a nurturing learning environment which supports children from all cultures to build positive and respectful relationships through Christian values, partnering with family and connecting with the local community.


To facilitate childrens individual and social development by supporting them with positive guidance as well as teaching the values of Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Humility and Self Control. We teach these values as Fruits of the Spirit and centre them around our Respect Tree.



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Gentleness - whakamārie
fruitfulness - piripoho
goodness - whaakamarie
Self-control - mana motuhake
patience - hūmārika
joy - harikoa
peace - houkura
kindness - mākoha
love - aroha


Our purpose is to operate a community focused, Christian values based early learning centre that provides all families in Northern Southland with accessible and affordable, quality education.

Fruit and Leaves
Image by Miki Fath


We have such a wonderful team here at Funshine. Have a read through their philosophy's below and get to know the staff.

Jess Boyte

Jess Boyte

I have a bachelors degree in Early Childhood from the University of Waikato. I graduated in 2012 and have been teaching all ages since. I believe each child has their own uniqueness and something special that they bring to their own learning. I feel as a teacher, it is my job to foster their development and their own potential. I will provide them with a curriculum that will incorporate each different learning style, as well as make it relevant to the child's life. I will provide hands on learning, projects, themes and individual work that will engage and activate their learning as well as help them grow emotionally so they are able to express themselves and embrace themselves as competent capable learners.

I aim to bring an open mind, honest and positive attitude every day. I believe that I owe it to the children and to their whanau to be consistent within my job in the hope that I can ultimately inspire and encourage the children daily.


Denise Gibson

I was born in Sydney Australia and moved to New Zealand when I was 22 years old. I have children; Josh 21 years, Emma 18 years and Sam 13 years. I also have one grandson Bodhi, who is 6 months old. I love spending time with family, cooking and walking our dog Max in my spare time.

I am passionate about children and believe that children are capable and competent learners that can discover and learn about the world and culture they live in through warm, caring relationships with people, places and things. I believe in the importance of establishing and maintaining caring respectful and reciprocal relationships not only with the child but also with parents/whanau, work colleagues, and the community as they all play an integral part in the continual learning and development of all children.

I believe in the importance of making sure that the child’s best interests are always paramount in any decisions that I make on their behalf and will, to the best of my ability, advocate for the rights of the child and the family; and support them in any way I can to ensure that each child is able to enjoy the rights that they deserve.

Over the period that I have studied my Bachelor of Teaching (ECE) and through my teaching practice over the past few years I have acquired a wealth of knowledge, skills and an understanding of the importance of basing my teaching practice through the principles and strands of Te Whāriki . I also recognise the importance of the Treaty of Waitangi and embrace a bicultural and multicultural curriculum to support all children’s learning and development .

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Rachel Hansen

It is my aspiration as a teacher, to provide children with an environment and tools with which they can be holistically nurtured to learn and grow, to fulfil their individual potential and take their place in this world by contributing their unique qualities to the community they live in. I see it as my responsibility to do my best to nurture the children entrusted into my care and support them to grow into their identities.

I believe that every child deserves the opportunity to be empowered to learn from within their own identity and thrive within their own culture as well as learning to extend their horizons by appreciating and collaborating with other cultures and identities. It is up to me to enable the child to express themselves and explore their world by providing the right environment and resources according to their individual needs. My aim is for them to lead their own learning and to offer the support they need to develop this in an unhurried, respectful and nurturing way.

I believe in developing a strong bicultural environment to allow all learners to learn and respect the tikanga and reo of New Zealand's tangata whenua as well as nurture and empower all other cultures to participate as themselves within the centres daily practice.


Because I believe strongly that relationships are key to successful learning and growth, I will actively seek and respect the aspirations of whanau and community, as well as the voice and wishes of each child, through regular feedback and consultation. This supports a holistic approach to each child’s care and learning. I also value working in close collaboration with the teaching team to ensure a consistent “wrap around” environment for the children to thrive in. I am guided by Te Whariki, the New Zealand Early Childhood Curriculum, to support me to notice, recognise and respond to the individual and group needs of children so they can be empowered to become confident and competent learners under my care and guidance.

Although it is small, it is greenstone

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My name is Lorrae, a few of the children at Funshine call me Rae. I'm a mother of two, living on a dairy farm locally and have been at Funshine part time since January 2022. 

I am really enjoying being part of a great team and meeting all the families and children in the area. It is a very fulfilling job working with children, never a dull moment!

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Heather Gullick



 John Smith 



Sarah Cowan



Rhonda Dennis

Lynda MacDonald

Karen Cross

Chris Waples

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