totara3.jpgAbout Te Whare Totara

The name Totara was chosen for our pre-school room because it symbolises respect.  Respect for our children, whanau and teachers is a cornerstone  of our centre values. Just like the creatures of the forest, we aim to empower our community of learners to learn and grow.


When your children come to Totara Pre-School, they will encounter teachers with passions in a wide range of areas.  Through planning and review our teachers consistently strive for excellence in our programme  so that we extend our children's knowledge and interests while respecting our whanau's aspirations for their children's learning.


We have a strong Transition to School programme.  This involves encouraging literacy and numeracy knowledge, independence and respect for others.  We received very positive feedback from the schools about our children's knowledge and willingness to learn, and their general readiness for school.


 We recognise our children's interests and skills and promote their sense of personal achievement. We aim for them to have a sense of "who they are" and a perception of themselves as capable learners- able to acquire new interests and abilities.


 We have a really awesome natural outside environment which is designed to extend children's physical skills, and let them have adventures and make discoveries.We always have lots of fun while learning.

Whare Totara Staff
Mike (Team Leader)
Hi, I'm Mike and I am one of the teachers in the Totara Room. I have been teaching In Early Childhood since 1997. I am married and have five children. I am a dedicated, energetic and passionate teacher and the focus of my teaching is, it has to be fun! Lots of laughter, nonsense and happiness. Story-telling and drama are very important to me and I enjoy delivering stories through many different fun ways.
Kia ora, I am Shelley McDougall. I have a Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood and have been teaching at Surrey Park Early Learning Centre Inc since 2005. My interests include Latin Dance especially Salsa and Bachata. When I am not Teaching, or Dancing I enjoy, home DIY, traveling or spending time with my family and friends. I look forward to walking through this learning journey with you.
Nicky D
Kia ora. Hello. My name is Nicky. I am married to Dwight and we have two children, Rose and Aden. I have a Diploma in Early Childhood, and before completing my Diploma I was a nanny here and overseas for over 10 years. Family and friends are a big part of my life and I have many interests.
Nicky R
Kia ora my name is Nicky. I am married to Andrew and have two children, Sam and Zeke. My boys keep me very busy so I don’t have a lot of spare time. I have a Diploma in Teaching ECE, and I have been at Surrey Park since 1993. Working with children is something I enjoy and I look forward to coming to work every day.
Hi, I’m Alice I have been working here at Surrey Park since 2009. I have worked with every age group in the centre and love them all. In my spare time I enjoy riding and competing with my two horses. I take my pony out to teach young children how to ride and to enjoy the thrill of riding a horse. I also enjoy spending time with my partner, friends and family.
Kia Ora, Ko Mamta toku ingua. Namaste, my name is Mamta Arora. I am from India. I have a Master's degree in Philosophy and an Early Childhood Education degree. I have been teaching in India since 2008 in the Tertiary Educatin sector. I came to New Zealand in 2016 and joined Surrey Park Early Learning Centre Inc as my home centre for study. I have been teaching in Early Childhood education at different places. I enjoy working with children and enjoy reading, traveling and spending time with my family and friends.