Our teachers are trained professionals dedicated and committed to children's learning. As life-long learners we stay up-to-date with current curricula, attending regular professional development courses. We make learning exciting and interesting for your children.

Victoria Howard - AELC Director / Tim Howard - AELC Co- Director.

Tim is in charge of administration, compliance, maintaining the farm, animal care and repairs/maintenance/development.

With a previous background in labour management, the challenge of co-directing a rural based preschool has been an incredibly rewarding experience.

For Victoria, the establishment in 2008 of Aubrey Early Learning Centre was the culmination of 30 years in the early childhood education field (as a teacher, coordinator, lecturer and mother/grandmother). Now 10 years on, I am so proud of our amazing centre with a cosy, homely feel catering for 50 children. This comprises up to 15 infants and toddlers in the teina cottage, and around 35 preschoolers in the tuakana house. There is plenty of land (5 acres) for the children to explore, and animals to care for and feed; as well as an orchard. We are grateful to have an incredible teaching team, including our establishment manager Linda. I am proud to say that all our incredible teachers are dedicated and been with us for many years.

Tim and I have a ‘blended family’ of 4 adults---Alexander, who works at Aubrey, Gemma, Natalia, and Conor. We have one granddaughter Latiea.

In 2013 Tim and I built our house on the property. We continue to work hard to provide an optimal early learning centre for the community of Stillwater and Silverdale (and beyond). We aim to provide the children with exploration experiences in a rural environment, with an emphasis on a ‘learning through play’ philosophy. We both have an active role in the centre.

Victoria Howard qualifications: Dip Teaching Kdgn, B.A, Adv Cert Adult Teaching, Post Grad Dip Early Years. Full Teacher Registration: 301473.

Linda Locker - Centre Manager. Foundation teacher - started early 2008.

LindaI believe that quality early childhood education is the foundation for future learning, success & well being in later life. In early childhood, children have a greater capacity for learning, discovery, exploration & acquiring of new skills & attitudes than at any other time in their lives.

I believe quality care & education exist within a centre that provides for every child, every day, regardless of ethnicity, gender, ability, age or background. Therefore the environment should be safe, secure & be stimulating, where the children & their families/whanau can feel relaxed & accepted & at all times treated with dignity & respect.

By providing effective communication & partnerships with parents & whanau, I believe it will promote & extend each child's learning, development & potential. My belief is that childhood centres should provide a learning space where all cultures & social diversity can be shared, experienced & valued by all.

I am extremely blessed to have a very supportive husband & 3 very active children. In 2012, I welcomed my first granddaughter Indie, who enjoyed spending 5 years at Aubrey. We live in Stillwater & love living in this wonderful community.

Qualifications: Diploma of Teaching in ECE, Full Teacher Registration: 309416, First Aid Certificate.

Nicky Anderson - Teina room lead teacher. Started April 2012.

NickyI grew up in a small town in the Wairarapa. I trained at Wellington College of Education, and have worked in many early childhood centres in the North Island. I travelled overseas and met my husband and we came back and settled in New Zealand. We moved to the Hibiscus Coast in 2012.

In 2005 our daughter Neve was born.

I love working at Aubrey as it has a unique and special feeling about it. I enjoy establishing long lasting relationships with children and their parents/whanau. I have been working in the Teina room since 2016. I relish watching the children learn, develop, thrive and grow. Every age has it's own milestones, challenges and rewards.

"Take care of our children. Take care of what they hear, take care of what they feel. For how the children grow, so will be the shapes of Aotearoa." - Dame Whina Cooper.

Qualifications; Diploma of Teaching in ECE - Graduated Nov 1994. Full teacher registration since 1996. First Aid Certificate.


Olivia Schalkwijk - Teina room teacher. Started June 2013.

OliviaI am blessed to be part of the teaching team here at Aubrey - a place where I can help children learn in a fun, creative and safe environment.

After volunteering at a north shore centre I decided to make a career change and devote my time to nurturing young minds. I am passionate about contributing to the intellectual, social, emotional and physical development of young children . I believe that the quality of education a person receives in early life is indispensable in bringing out that person’s potential, and that all children should have access to quality learning and care.

I grew up in Rotorua where I developed a respect and appreciation for other cultures at an early age. I feel it is important for children to have the opportunity to observe and participate in other cultures language, beliefs and customs. To immerse themselves in New Zealand's rich and unique history, also our multi cultural and diverse present. To further my knowledge and provide the best possible care for your children I started my teacher training in 2016, and graduate at the end of 2018.

Sarah Smith - Teina room teacher.

Sarah I was born in England and moved out here to New Zealand 20 years ago with my family. I currently live in Millwater with my partner.  

I have always had a passion for working with children ever since high school where I would often babysit in the weekends. It wasn’t until I attended Camp America in 2007 that I found the career in which I wanted to follow. I have always enjoyed working with children and I find it to be such a rewarding job, so I enrolled into a course to help start my career.

In 2012 I completed my Level 5 certificate nanny certificate at Ashton Warner Nanny Academy in Stanmore Bay. I then went on to be a nanny for a family of 5 who I still currently work for part time.

I  completed my Bachelor of Early Childhood at the end of 2017 and, now I teach full time in the teina cottage.

Qualifications: Bachelor of Early Childhood Teaching, First Aid Certificate, Provisional teacher registration: 365951.

Thilo Pillay- Tuakana/Teina room teacher. Started March 2014.

ThiloI live in Gulf Harbour. I came to New Zealand, from South Africa in 2003. I now have 2 sons and I couldn’t be a prouder mother.

I now work about 3 days a week while studying. Prior to working at Aubrey I worked at several other learning centres around the North Shore and Whangaparaoa. I am so grateful to be working at Aubrey, in an environment with such a supportive team that provides high quality care and learning opportunities for young children.

Children are extremely inspiring. There’s always something new to learn from them everyday. It’s completely rewarding to watch as they develop skills and positive attitudes needed for their next stage of their lives.

In 2016 I started my teacher training with NZ Tertiary College, which has enhanced my knowledge of child development and informed my practice in relation to how children learn through a play based curriculum. I will graduate at the end of 2018.


Tracey Barrett - Tuakana room teacher. Started February 2016.

TraceyI am an experienced and passionate Early Childhood Teacher. I started at Aubrey as a reliever for Annie Martin, while she was on maternity leave. Due to Annie deciding not to return to teaching as she focuses on her growing family, I have now stayed on the Aubrey teaching team.

I have always had an affinity with young children and followed this interest to complete a Diploma of Teaching at Auckland University, graduating in 1996. Since then I have taught in centres on the North Shore and Rodney area.

I love being part of team at Aubrey, and their wonderful and very special environment.

In my spare team I enjoy watersports and am an amateur artist. I really enjoy creative experiences and have a strong interest in science.  My aim as a teacher is to engage the children in lots of fun and inspiring experiences.

Qualifications; Diploma of Teaching in ECE, Full Teacher Registration: 257722, First Aid Certificate.

Lois Biddle - Tuakana room teacher

LoisI have a bachelor of education early years (0-8) obtained through Massey University. My qualification has allowed me to gain experiences and understanding of both preschool and primary teaching to ensure continuity for children as they transition through the education system.  Aubrey was my first qualified teaching position. Aubrey was also my first choice of preschool for my daughter Naomi. In 2017 I was offered a contract new entrant position at Whangaparaoa school. When this ended I am now fortunate enough to be able to relieve at Aubrey and the school - sharing with both the knowledge I learnt from the other.

My interest in education started with the arrival of my 3 children, Logan and Vaughan.  My interest in teaching began when we joined Playcentre.

I believe that it is important to provide an inclusive environment that contributes positively to each child’s learning and development and where their identity is supported and assured. I believe every child should feel safe and be supported to set high expectations and experience pride for their achievements. I understand that the early years have a strong influence as to who we are as adults.

I believe children should be provided with opportunities, through play, to engage in and be offered differing ways to learn concepts and make connections to prior leaning within different contexts with a strong focus on pro-social behaviour and early literacy and numeracy skills.

My interests are gardening, walking and activities with my family like, going to the beach, kayaking, cycling, skiing, surf club, my children’s sports Motat and camping.

Alex Flannery - teacher/administration/maintenance. Started September 2014.

AlexI was born and raised in central Auckland. After graduating from AUT (Bachelor of Art and Design in Visual Arts - Photography) I moved to Tokyo, where I lived for two years teaching English to children aged 2-16 in a variety of private and public schools. I met my wife Shiori while living there, and after living in Australia for 5 years we settled back in Aotearoa. I began working at Aubrey in 2014, helping out with administration and maintenance.

I've recently completed a Graduate Diploma in ECE and am now a qualified teacher.

I am keenly interested in different cultures and languages, music, and art, and incorporate these interests into my teaching practice. I believe children learn best through a child-directed learning-through-play approach and I am glad to be part of a centre that promotes these ideas in a spacious and beautiful natural environment.

Qualifications; BArtDes, Diploma of Teaching in ECE, Provisional Teacher Registration: 370025, First Aid Certificate.