Michelle Ryan

Manager & Co-owner

Hello, my name is Michelle Ryan.  I am originally from the beautiful city of Cape Town, South Africa.  I began my Montessori journey here in 1995 where I completed my international Montessori teaching diploma before establishing a Montessori preschool called Starting Blocks. 


Several years later, my family and I moved to New Zealand where I furthered my studies, completing papers in Working with Children with Special Needs as well as my Bachelor of Education in Early Childhood.   Shortly after arriving in New Zealand, I began teaching at Marshwood Montessori preschool which was then under the ownership and management of Leonie Kelly. 


I worked there for a number of years and was fortunate to have my daughter attending the preschool at the same time.  Some years later, I found myself back teaching at Marshwood and shortly afterwards was offered an incredible opportunity to take over the management of the preschool.  

I am now the co-owner and manager of Marshwood and am looking forward to continuing to build strong relationships with our families and teachers as well as working in and serving a wonderful community.  

Vasu Paramalingam

Head Teacher 

Hi, my name is Vasu Paramalingam.
I am married with one adult child and came from the beautiful island of
Sri Lanka 30 years ago.  I love the peace and tranquillity of New Zealand and the amazing landforms of this beautiful country.

I hold an AMI diploma in Montessori and equivalency in Early Childhood Education and am a fully Registered Teacher. I have 25 years of teaching experience in New Zealand, having worked in many Montessori schools both in Wellington and Auckland. I have been teaching at Marshwood Montessori for over 10 years.

I enjoy interacting with children and I believe that all children are capable learners according to their own needs.  Dr Montessori believed that children have an intrinsic need for order, to move, to communicate, and to explore both indoors and outdoors.

Zelita Mahoney

 Teacher of the Pukeko Class

Kia ora. I’m Zelita and I am originally from Brazil. I moved here 23 years ago with my Kiwi husband and our eldest son. I also have twin boys who are 15 years old. I have joined Marshwood Montessori this year.

I have been a teacher for the past 6 years in two different ECE centres, including Orakei Montessori, and at St Ignatius school, St Heliers, teaching New Entrants. I have a Grad Dip Teaching (ECE) from Massey University, a Bachelor of Social Sciences from the University of Auckland, and a Year 3-6 Orientation Certificate from Association Montessori Internationale. 


I am a “people” person. What I value most is building relationships with tamariki and whanau. I enjoy working alongside families and supporting their aspirations for their tamariki. I love seeing tamariki exploring the learning environment with a sense of wonder about the world around them. The learning environment is the third teacher that encourages tamariki to use their imagination to develop their own social theories about the world around them, and grow in independence. 

This year I am beginning study towards a Post Graduate Diploma in Early Intervention through Massey University. I feel drawn to those children who find it more challenging to learn because of a range of needs, and strongly support their inclusion in the learning space. I have always advocated strongly for inclusion for one of my own sons who has Down Syndrome.

Hiroshi Perera

Teacher of the Pukeko Class

Kia Ora!

My name is Hiroshi Perera. I am a Montessori Teacher from Colombo, Sri Lanka. I started my Montessori career in 2006, trained at the Good Shepherd Maria Montessori Training Centre (affiliated to the Association of Montessori Internationale, founded by Dr. Maria Montessori) in Colombo, Sri Lanka. I have studied the principles and practices of the Montessori Method for children from 3 to 6+ years of age, eventually attaining my A.M.I. Montessori diploma qualification in 2008.

I worked as a Montessori teacher at Good Shepherd Montessori House of Children in Sri Lanka, also worked at AMI centre assisting the directress of training in carrying out day to day operations.  

I migrated to New Zealand with my husband and daughter in 2014.

Since I have been here, I have also obtained more than three years of hands-on experience in dealing with Special Child Needs in Mission Heights Junior College, Auckland. Before joining with the Marshwood Montessori, I was working at Best Start Montessori Hernebay.

I am a passionate teacher who aims to develop the potential of the whole child. I have a genuine love of working with children in this age group.

I aim to help cultivate this potential in our children, bringing out the very best of their creativity and independence, helping to focus on their specific needs through individualised learning, the Montessori way.

Marshwood Montessori 

20 Mount Taylor Drive,

Glendowie, Auckland, 1071

PO Box 25098,

St Heliers, Auckland, 1740
(09) 521-5288


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