Our Staff

Centre Manager

Kirsten Lassale | Centre Manager

Kia Ora koutou,

My name is Kirsten and my passion for early childhood has seen me as a teacher in preschool, the office administrator and now the Centre Manager. 

I love everything about The Village and feel blessed to be part of a Centre that aligns with my philosophy for early childhood.  Having grown up on a farm and run a farm for many years, I find the spacious, natural environment at The Village creates a beautiful outdoor space where I feel at home and proud to share with our tamariki and whanau.  In a world of technology, I love that we can offer an environment where our tamariki can form connections with nature through child led play. 

I look forward to meeting you and your tamariki.



Benita Harris| Team Leader

Bachelor of Education, Post Graduate Diploma in ECE

Kia ora koutou

Ko Benita Harris tōku ingoa

I am originally from Rawene, a small Hokianga town in Northland, and only recently moved to beautiful Tauranga. I have three grown-up children: my daughter is 16, and my sons are 19 and 22. When my children were young, I attended a playcentre, a time I thoroughly enjoyed, which inspired me to train as a teacher. Before this, I worked mainly in Australia and London as a dental assistant.

I studied at Massey University, gaining a Bachelor of Education (early years), and now have over ten years of experience teaching at kindergartens in the far north. I am currently the team leader in the Preschool Room at The Village.

I am passionate about tamariki learning in nature, about nature and how we all have a role to play in looking after te taiao – our natural environment. As a trained Enviroschool facilitator, I have supported kindergartens in developing sustainable programs. Early childhood is a great time to learn about and develop an understanding of sustainable practices, as this will form the foundation for lifelong learning about the world around them. The environment is a great third teacher, so strive to create engaging, thought-provoking, and inviting spaces for tamariki to play and learn, helping them develop a love of learning. I aim to support “competent and confident learners and communicators, healthy in mind, body and spirit, secure in their sense of belonging and in the knowledge that they make a valued contribution to society” Te Whariki (NZ early childhood curriculum).

I believe that relationships are the basis for my teaching practice, and I look forward to getting to know your tamariki, and supporting their learning journey here at The Village.

Milla Hong

Bachelor of Arts (Russian)/ Graduate Diploma in Teaching (ECE)

Kia Ora the Village whanau. I am Milla.

I used to be a high school teacher in Korea many years ago, and my passion for teaching led me to be an ECE teacher after having my boy in New Zealand.

I am a passionate and interactive kaiako who values and shares our tamariki’s excitement.   

My philosophy goes with respect and relationship as well as inclusive practice.

I am so excited to join The Village team and look forward to meeting you all.

Aroha nui

Erin Ransley

Bachelor of Teaching (ECE)

Kia Ora 

My name is Erin, I am from Wellington and moved up to Tauranga in 2022 to be closer to my family. I studied at Victoria University of Wellington to do my bachelor’s degree back in 2015 and had a passion for children since I was 18. I love watching tamariki grow to be confident and competent learners and watching their interests inspire me to be what I am doing now. I got married to my husband on the 3rd Feb this year and he has a daughter (2) which has also helped me with this my passion. 

I look forward to seeing where we go together on this journey and I am happy to be part of The Village family.


Aimee Smith

Teacher in Training

Hi! I’m Aimee.

I just love working with children, watching them gain their independence and learn through play.

I am a mum of two children,aged 4 & 7.Their infectious energy and personality inspires me every day.

I am passionate about creating a nurturing, safe environment and building positive relationships with families and whanau.

I can’t wait to get to know each child’s personality and to learn what inspires their imagination.


Victoria Falemaka | Team Leader

Bachelor of Teaching (ECE)

Kia Ora, my name is Victoria but many know me as Vicky.

I come from Niue, born in Auckland and have lived there all my life before recently moving to Tauranga in February 2023. I moved down with my partner, step son Kaleb (17) and our daughter Qria (2), who is here in the Explorers room as well.

I have worked in ECE for 10 years, I started my teaching journey at the Village in March 2023. I was with my last center for almost 7 years since opening in 2017. I enjoy learning and teaching, going on a journey with children, their families, a new team and community. It’s wonderful to see a child grow, with all the many accomplishments and memories they make in the early years.


Harpreet Kaur

Bachelor of Teaching (ECE)


I’m Harpreet, I migrated from India 17 years ago. I have been in ECE for the last four years as a qualified and registered teacher.

In my family I have two lovely boys and a husband. I love working with young learners and I am excited to be working here at The Village

Min Hoi

Masters of Teaching (ECE)

Kia Ora everyone!

I am Min, a Chinese Malaysian who was born and raised in Malaysia. I traveled to New Zealand in 2020 with my partner and decided to study early childhood education after being amazed by the outstanding child-led curriculum – Te Wharaki.

I like to explore children’s interests and extend their learning with them. It is a pleasure for me to witness a child’s growth and learn alongside them. I am excited to become a part of The Village Childcare family and start my teaching journey.

Milly Larsen

Teacher in Training

Kia Ora, my name’s Milly!

I’m originally from Rotorua, but have moved around the North Island a lot whilst growing up. I have an understanding of how hard change can be for our tamariki and am here for them with my kind nurturing nature. I studied in Whanganui, gaining my ECE working with children, level 3 certificate. I have been living in Tauranga for 2 years now and loving it.

 I’m a fun kaiako with a passion for working with tamariki, especially in our natural environment at The Village. When I’m not at The Village I’m a mother to 1 fur baby (cat), Jellico. I love nature, gardening, bush walks, beach walks, anywhere in our beautiful Bay of Plenty! I look forward to meeting you and your whanau! Nga mihi.


Sam Green | Team Leader

Bachelor of Teaching (Primary)

Kia ora,

My name is Sam. I have a Bachelor of Teaching in Primary Education and have been teaching since 2015. I am passionate about working with children and helping to develop and grow young minds and supporting them to discover and follow their interests.

In October last year, my fiancé Soul and I welcomed our sweet baby boy Ryder into the world. Becoming a mum and seeing Ryder’s growth and development so far has inspired and encouraged me to begin my journey in ECE.

I believe that children learn at their own pace and in their own time, with the appropriate care, support, and guidance. I know how important the early years of a child’s life are and I am passionate about creating a warm, welcoming, safe, and nurturing environment where tamariki have the freedom to imagine, create and explore. I value warm, reciprocal relationships with tamariki and their whānau. Tamariki are constantly learning strategies for getting to know and work alongside and with each other, and kaiako and families are doing the same!

I look forward to getting to know you and your whānau.


Kim Audas

Bachelor of Teaching (ECE)

Hello, my name is Kim. I have been teaching in ECE for seven years.  My passion for teaching young children comes from my love of play and a desire to encourage and support children to reach their potential.  Everyday offers so many promises and you never know what is going to happen next. This for me is the beauty of being with children.

My husband Craig and I have two teenage daughters, Hannah, and Emma.  As a family we love the outdoors and animals.  We have four rabbits, a ring-necked parakeet called ‘Cheeky’, and a cat called ‘Tigga’.  In my spare time I love going to the gym, walking, and spending time with my family and friends.  I am excited to get to know you all and your families.


Susanna Fiebiger

Teacher in Training

Kia Ora Parents and Whanau,

My name is Susanna.

I have a little girl, Ava, 6 months old and we look forward to be joining the team at The Village.

We live rural so Ava loves long outdoor walks in her stroller. I have been working with the under 2 age group for 6 years now and absolutely love it! I believe that children thrive in a nurturing environment where they are encouraged and supported to grow, develop, and explore at their own pace.

I acknowledge how crucial these first few years are in terms of babies’ rapid development and strive to provide them with a safe and warm environment where their needs are nurtured and supported. I look forward to getting to know you and your family!

Ferne Reid

Teacher in Training

Kia Ora, ko Ferne toku ingoa. 

I have grown up in Tauranga alongside my mum, dad, and younger brother Max and have recently moved back from Perth. My passion for teaching started from a young age. I also have a passion for horse riding and I was able to combine my two passions while volunteering at The Riding for the Disabled. 

I love supporting children’s learning and growth and I believe that children thrive in an environment where they are nurtured and supported. I studied Level 2 Early Childhood Education during Covid and enjoyed learning about Te Whāriki, how we as teachers support children’s learning journey, and how to create good relationships with children and whānau.

I am so excited for my journey here at The Village and being able to teach somewhere that aligns with my values as a teacher. 


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