From her warm and welcoming smile to her extensive background in Early Childhood Education and bright, bubbly personality, Raechel’s love for her job and nurturing connection with her young charges is apparent for everyone to see.
We have shared her interview below.
Centre Manager at ACG Tauranga Early Learning School - Raechel Thompson
Raechel Thompson is an experienced and qualified Early Childhood Education teacher known for respecting and celebrating each child’s uniqueness, passions, and strengths. She takes pride in building strong connections with her preschool families/whānau and the wider community.
ISNZ asked Raechel a few questions to find out about her Early Learning Education career.
What attracted you to the school?
Our daughter started at ACG Tauranga in Year 7 in 2016, and my husband and I were so impressed with the school's values and excellent staff. I watched as the Early Learning School (ELS) was built and was encouraged to apply for a teaching position when it opened in early 2018.
How would you describe the school?
It has a wonderful sense of community with strong values, focusing on relationships, integrity, and respect. They wrap the curriculum around each individual child, nurturing and inspiring them to be the best learners they can be!
What do you hope to achieve through your leadership at the school?
I am very fortunate to have strong leadership and mentoring from our school Principal, Thea Kilian. We meet weekly, and this relationship is fundamental to my role as a leader. In addition, we are so fortunate to be based on a whole school campus with beautiful rural surroundings. My goal as a leader is to enhance this opportunity, connecting links with families and the wider community so our local connection is evident and weaved throughout our curriculum.
What are your future ambitions for the school?
Continuing the real sense of community we have built. The links between the Early Learning School and our Senior teaching staff are already deeply embedded into our programme with weekly dance and science sessions and transitions for children starting Primary school.
With the recent Library opening, we are looking forward to visiting and using this beautiful new facility and making meaningful connections with staff, children, and the library mascot, Bernard, the elephant!
Building connections with our wider community now that Covid-19 restrictions have eased is something I endeavour to work towards.
Describe the pathway your career has followed.
I initially trained as a Nanny and worked privately for families before starting my career teaching in Early Childhood. I studied for my Diploma and later Bachelor of Teaching degree through the University of Canterbury while juggling motherhood and teaching part-time.
Were there enlightening moments or inspirational people who set you on your way to a career in education?
I had two inspirational mentors when I was studying. One was my Manager and the other my Head Teacher. One continues to mentor me to this day, and the other works with me here at our Early Learning School! They were both instrumental in my learning and growth as a teacher. Seeing my potential for leadership, they have encouraged and inspired me with their attitude as lifelong learners, passion for early childhood education and advocacy for our young learners.
How would you describe your leadership philosophy?
I believe strongly in a shared leadership approach where everyone has a sense of ownership and pride in everything we do. I take people where they are and enjoy mentoring and guiding them to be the best they can be. Leadership is about celebrating one another's strengths and passions while working collaboratively as a team for the best outcomes for our school.
Can you share your thoughts about independent education - in New Zealand and internationally?
Globally, I think it's a wonderful opportunity. Children in New Zealand are learning a curriculum that is recognised internationally alongside their peers around the world! The opportunities this creates for their skills as they continue their learning journey are exciting. Our Early Learning School follows the New Zealand Early Childhood Curriculum, Te Whāriki, and we also benefit from the Cambridge Curriculum with our teaching partnership with our Senior teachers.
What do you see as the benefits of working at an independent school?
I love the diversity and passion that comes with working with an independent school. It draws many different cultures with our families and staff. The high standards of values and focus on specialist teaching ensure that children receive quality care and education.
What do you see as the benefits for students of attending an independent school?
Quite simply, the high expectations for academic excellence and the strong focus on core values. Both of these ensure our students are set up for success.
Article republished with the permission of ISNZ.
The original ISNZ interview can be found here.