Our Team

Our teachers are selected for their passion, their ability to work with children, background and qualifications.

"The best teachers are those that show you where to look but don't tell you what to see."

 Alexandra K. Trenfor

Jan Beatson, Manager


Jan has been involved in Early Childhood Education in for nearly 40 years. She initially established Play and Learn to provide high quality education and care to children in low socio economic areas. 


Jan is currently working towards a Master of Education at AUT focusing on the reasons it is so important to reconnect children with nature.

Our Nature Programme Educators

Joanna Luff (Jo)
Early Childhood Teacher
Long Bay Regional Park, Auckland North Shore 


Jo is a registered Early Childhood Teacher and is experienced in working with toddlers, kindergarten and school aged children. She's an advocate for children's right to play in natural spaces which led her to become part of the Play and Learn team in June 2016. Jo works at Long Bay Monday to Friday.

"I believe children are capable and confident learners. I love to observe their self-directed play interactions as they learn about the world around and their place in it. Rain or shine we explore the natural wonders offered at Long Bay regional park."

Janina Sharma, Nature Pedagogue Play and Learn
Janina Sharma (Janie)
Early Childhood Teacher & Nature Pedagogue
Cornwall Park, Auckland Central

Janie is a Forest School teacher from Germany. She studied Early Childhood Education in Herrenberg, near Stuttgart. Her passion for nature and learning with all senses led her to specialise in Nature Pedagogy. Janie has joined our team in June 2016. After coming back from maternity leave she runs sessions at Cornwall Park on Mondays and Long Bay on Wednesdays and Fridays. 

"Forest Schools are widely established in Germany (about 1400). I was amazed to see this concept is still a novelty to New Zealand, a country of the outdoors! I'm proud to be part of a team that brings early childhood education forward by allowing children time to explore, play and learn at their own pace."

Janina Stanka Play and Learn
Kerryn Green
Early Childhood Teacher & Primary School Teacher
Long Bay Regional Park, Auckland North Shore 

Kerryn is a registered ECE teacher. Her three children are all involved in free play nature programs. Kerryn is passionate about children having time and space to be children. She joined Play and Learn in 2017. 

​“Children need to experience a world where they are able to learn and take risks for themselves, where they learn about the beautiful world around them by exploring it and experiencing it, and where they can use all their senses to play and learn!”

Janina Stanka Play and Learn
Janina Stanka Play and Learn
Janina Stanka Play and Learn
Solitaire Marshall
Long Bay Regional Park, Auckland North Shore 

coming soon

Kerri Iwaskov
Early Childhood Teacher
Cornwall Park, Auckland Central

Kerri has been part of our team for 8 years. She has enjoyed many years of professional development with Play and Learn, both nationally and internationally. In 2011 Kerri won a scholarship to attend a one week intensive study at The Loris Malaguzzi Centre in Reggio Emilia.


"In my experience children actually teach us about the concept of more……. More time, more space, more opportunities, more conversations, more freedom, more mistakes. I also believe we need to teach children to use what they have, to repurpose, to find new ways of thinking and to discover more about themselves."

Nikki Wongsinghadacho
Long Bay Regional Park, Auckland North Shore 

coming soon

Emily Beatson  
Primary School Teacher, ECE Teacher & Forest School Leader
Schlaepfer Park, South Auckland


Emily started teaching as a Primary School Teacher in 2000. After visiting Forest Schools in Denmark she retrained as an Early Childhood Teacher in New Zealand and started working for Play and Learn. She trained as a Forest School Leader in the UK in 2010. Emily now works at the Clarks Beach Centre where she runs the Nature Programme.

"I believe children deserve the opportunity to have rich experiences where they can learn about themselves and others and a chance to experience the world that they live in – not by reading it in books or watching it on television or the internet, to actually be out there and know what it feels like to feel, smell, taste, even to be a little bit scared but challenge yourself and reach that goal."

Jan Taylor  
Early Childhood Teacher & Forest School Leader
Camp Sladdin


Jan has trained as a Forest School Leader in the UK in 2011 and helped develop the unique Nature Programme for Aotearoa New Zealand. She has worked at Play and Learn for 18 years, running the Nature Kindergarten at the King Street Centre for the last 7 years.

"My passion is to see that all children have the opportunities and rights that I experienced as a child, and I believe that the way forward for children is to provide them with the opportunities that will develop skills for life."