Meet the Teachers | Piccolo Preschool New Plymouth


Sara Greensill-Van Prehn

Teacher, Director & Owner


Tena koutou, katoa

Ko Taranaki toku maunga
Ko Wairau te awa
Ko tokomaru te waka
No Omata ahau
Ko Sara Greensill-van Prehn toku ingoa

Sara Greensill-van Prehn has spent the past 24 years in the early childhood sector in a number of capacities. Sara has taught, set up home-based in Auckland, worked for the Ministry of Education as a contractor and employee before returning to her hometown of Taranaki. Since her return, she has been involved in and currently is a Lecturer for the University of Canterbury.

Sara originally undertook her Diploma of Teaching (ECE) at the Auckland College of Education and completed her Bachelor of Education from the University of Auckland. Just before her son was born, she completed her Masters in Education.

Sara has a passion for children’s environments and for implementing a programme that supports the needs of the various ages of the children that attend, as well as providing an environment that is conducive to learning through calm, deliberate and conscious teaching. Sara believes that this is all possible through the influence of the Reggio Emilia philosophy.

Sara enjoys cooking, sports and the beach and enjoys all of these more with the help of her son.

Melissa Crow

Manager, Senior Teacher

Tena Koe

Ko Taranaki te maunga
Ko Waitara te awa
Ko tokomaru te waka
Ko Te Atiawa te iwi
No Oakura ahau
Ko Melissa Crow toku ingoa

Melissa has a Diploma of Teaching (ECE) with over 20 years of experience in teaching, leading teams and management in early childhood education.

Melissa believes that all children are capable and competent learners, and this is reflected in all aspects of her interactions with children and the environment within which they learn.

Melissa has a passion for the outdoors and enjoys growing and cultivating her own food and exploring new and wonderful places with her daughter.

Shelley Prestney

Administrator / Teacher Support


Tena koutou, katoa

Ko Taranaki te maunga
Ko Waiwakaio te awa
No New Plymouth ahau
Ko Shelley Prestney toku ingoa

Shelley Prestney completed her studies at the University of Canterbury and joined the Piccolo team as a new graduate. Prior to studying early childhood education, Shelley travelled and spent many years living and teaching English in Turkey, Indonesia and Thailand. 

Shelley has a passion for music and dance. She establishes very respectful and trusting relationships with children. 

Shelley enjoys riding her motorbike and being in the outdoors. She believes that we are spoilt with choice in Taranaki with the things we can do – the mountain and sea.. Shelley looks forward to working with you and your children. 

Rosie Lindsay

Currently on maternity leave

Kia Ora,

Ko Taranaki te maunga
Ko Patea te awa
Ko Redeemer Church te iwi
No Stratford ahau
Ko Rosie toku ingoa

Rosie graduated from Victoria University with a Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood Education) and a Diploma of Teaching in Primary. Rosie has returned home to Taranaki with her husband to share her immense skills and passion for children.

Rosie has a passion for working with children, especially their development of:
• Social skills
• Independence
• Challenging themselves
• Inquiry
• Child led learning
• Supporting children to be active participants in their own learning

Rosie has a wide range of interests including arts and craft, and food and cooking of which she is very skilled at. Creativity comes very naturally to Rosie and she always shares her great ideas!

Jessica Sandford



Tena koutou, katoa
Ko Taranaki te maunga
Ko Waiwhakaiho te awa
No Inglewood ahau
Ko Jess Sandford toku ingoa

Jess was born and raised in New Plymouth, where she met her Husband Gil. She then moved to Waikato to study her Bachelor of Teaching at Waikato University, completing it in 2008. After a few years of teaching, her and Gil spent two years in the United Kingdom exploring all the wonderful and eye-opening moments through their overseas experience.

Jess moved back to New Plymouth in 2014 and has spent the following 8 years developing her own teaching and leadership through varies theorists and styles.

Jess has held a passion for tamariki from a young age and is dedicated to seeing them succeed through their educational journey. To be a part of this adventure is something that Jess holds dearly, it is about finding the individual way that a child learns and creating meaningful and educational experiences that will see them flourish.

Jess and Gil have a son Knox that is nearly a year old, and they both love exploring their community, spending time with family and friends and trying out new and exciting recipes.

Elisabeth (Liz) Hodges



Kia ora
Ko Liz toku ingoa.

I have a Diploma of Teaching (ECE) and have been teaching for eight years with the last four teaching 0–2 year olds.

I strongly believe that children learn best in an environment where they feel safe, secure, nurtured and valued, and believe that all children are strong, competent and capable individuals who are full of wonder and curiosity to learn. All children have a natural drive that makes them want to understand and know about the world around them and how this world relates to them.

I have a passion for music dance and art. I establish very respectful and trusting relationships with children and whanau.

My strengths would include being an honest, reliable, hardworking teacher and I feel I possess calmness whilst around children. I am consistently looking for ways to improve my teaching, through skills, knowledge, attitudes, and experiences. I can adapt easily to different age groups and philosophies. I appreciate that families have different values and beliefs.

I enjoy exploring our natural world, native walks, and the beach. In my extra time I enjoy spending time with my family and reading. I look forward to meeting you and your whānau.

Melissa Kearvell



Kia ora koutou, my name is Melissa I am an enthusiastic and passionate teacher with over 20 years of experience, working with a range of ages, infants, toddlers, and young children.

My roles as a teacher have varied during this time from a teacher to a Programme Manager. I have a connection with the Welbourn area, living in this area now for 6 years and just recently having experienced my son Monty staring at Welbourn School. I have a love and respect for the beautiful world that we live in, and my lifestyle choices reflect this.

I’m a vegetarian and a keen gardener. Taking pride in being respectful and consistent with the environment around me. I have a keen sense of humour and love a good laugh. My teaching practice is one of respect and kindness, creating learning environments that are calm and spark creativity and curiosity in tamariki as lifelong learners.

Lucy Fever



Tena Koutou Katoa,
Ko Taranaki te maunga
No New Plymouth ahau
Ko Lucy Fever toku ingoa

I have completed my Bachelor of Teaching in (Early Childhood Education) through the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand. I am passionate about developing children’s resilience strategies and interest around nature contexts. All my interactions with tamariki are calm and fun which enables children to have a strong sense of belonging and wellbeing.

A quote that underpins my teaching practice is that “every child is a different kind of flower and all together they make this world a beautiful garden”. In my spare time I can be found walking on the beach or going on bush walks with my family and dogs. I also, enjoy watching stand-up comedians and singing along to 80’s music. I feel highly blessed in be in a career where I get to see our people of the future grow and develop.

I am excited with the prospect of meeting you all.

Zoe Heye



Zoe has her bachelors degree in teaching and learning ECE with over ten years experience in both teaching, and team leadership roles, across New Zealand as well as in Singapore and the U.K.

Her passions for working with children come from understanding that it often takes a village to raise a child and that relationships are key to giving children the best quality care, and educational outcomes.

Zoe and her husband have recently moved their whanau to Taranaki, and love all that the region has to offer. Zoe’s interests include cooking for her family and friends, spending time in the garden and taking time out at the beach.

Kathy Ward

Kai Creator


Kia Ora

My name is Kathy Ward and I love cooking for our little ones at Piccolo.

I have a son and daughter plus two amazing grandsons.

Because of my 'advancing' years, I have a fair bit of life experience under my belt! I have been a dairy farmer, a firewood merchant and have experience in the catering/cafe world. My partner Stu and I live in Bell Block and we love to head away whenever we can.

I look forward to meeting you when you visit Piccolo - our 'home away from home'.

Ute Foulkes

Teacher Support

Tracey Morris

Reliever Teacher