Our Team

Image of Abbott Heka
Image of Courtney Burkitt
Image of Erena Stevenson
Image of Heather Watson
Image of Jo Ah Ling
Image of Kelly Thompson
Image of Marinica Ah Lung
Image of Sunila Devi

Abbott Heka

Preschool Support Teacher

Abbott is the second oldest in his family with five siblings and is New Zealand born, growing up in Manurewa.  Before joining Little Sparks in March 2015 he was an after-school care teacher and has remained a Youth Leader

Abbott, loves to explore different music genres, he is a bit of a movie goer and will happily watch any new flick as long as its at the movies on the big screen.

Abbott’s passion is to inspire any child to reach their heights, “I can’t” is never the answer, anything is possible.

Abbott Heka Little Sparks
Courtney Burkitt Little Sparks

Courtney Burkitt

Toddler Teacher

Courtney has five years’ experience working in early childhood and is currently in her third year of study towards a Bachelor of Teaching (ECE) through New Zealand Tertiary College. She is enjoying gaining a deeper understanding of child development and teaching practice and joined Little Sparks in July 2019.

Courtney is a busy mum to three tamariki and, when she gets the chance, she loves gardening, hiking, and going to the beach.

Courtney believes in the wonderment and awe that children experience in the little things, and the everyday things, and believes it is her role as a teacher to foster that curiosity into a life-long love of learning.

Erena Pringle

Preschool Teacher

Erena graduated from Auckland Teachers college as a Primary Teacher in 1998. The majority of her teaching has been in New Entrant classes, giving her a great appreciation for the importance of the transition from preschool to primary school. This has ultimately led to finding a passion in working with preschool children and joining Little Sparks in January 2019.

Erena has two older teen children who both spend many days in the surf at West Coast black sand beaches. The whole family love to be around animals and nature. Luna the family dog is the new and much loved baby in the family.

Erena loves the engagement and side by side learning and teaching that the early years has to offer. She believes in the importance of family, siblings, friends and the wider community whom are all contributors to children’s development.

Erena Pringle Little Sparks
Heather Watson Little Sparks

Heather Watson

Head Teacher

Heather graduated from Dunedin College of Education in 2003 with a Bachelor of Education 0-8 Years and has been fortunate to work with children from infancy to 8year olds since then.  Heather joined Little Sparks in December 2018  as Head Teacher, assisting us in the programme and planning for the preschool room.

Heather grew up in small town in Manawatu and has lived and worked all over the country. She has resided in Pukekohe for approximately 14 years. She is a self -confessed ‘geek’ and loves all things Doctor Who, Marvel, Sci-Fi in general. She keeps herself busy by crocheting in her spare time, when not hanging out with her friends and family.

Heather believes that children develop best in an environment where they feel comfortable and secure. Building relationships with each child and their whanau enables them to make the best of their learning journey. Heather loves having conversations with the children and finds it’s a great way to interact and get to know each child individually.

Jo Ah Ling

Centre Manager

Jo spent her formative years growing up in Taranaki, she graduated from Massey University in 2002 with a Bachelor of Education 0-8years Degree. Throughout her teaching career Jo has been fortunate to teach in Australia, England and rural parts of New Zealand. Jo purchased Little Sparks and became co-owner and Centre Manager in October 2017.

Jo has 3 young children who fill her weekends exploring all the wonderful outdoor spaces Auckland and its surrounds have to offer! She looks forward to meeting you all and building lasting relationships with your child and whanau.

She believes children learn best in fun safe and loving environments where they are encouraged to take risks and be creative. Jo has a vision of becoming more sustainable and working hard to help Little Sparks become so. She is enjoying this journey with the children to grow our environments in a more purposeful way.

Jo Ah Ling Little Sparks
Kelly Thompson Little Sparks

Kelly Thompson

Infant and Toddler Teacher

Kelly grew up on Auckland’s North Shore and graduated from AUT in 2015 with a Bachelor of Education(ECE). Prior to that she studied nannying at the Ashton Warner Nanny Academy and nannied for 4 years.  She was also a relief teacher at Early Childhood Centres across Auckland before joining Little Sparks in March 2016.

Kelly’s home life is a busy one with three children and a love for animals, she has a parrot, two cats and two dogs. Kelly loves exploring New Zealand with family and creating memories.

Kelly believes children learn best and thrive in a warm loving environment where they can take risks, try new things and have fun with kaiako and friends. She loves providing nga pepe and tamariki with new experiences. Water and messy play are a specialty of Kelly’s!

Marinica Ah Lung

Preschool Teacher

Marinica grew up in South Auckland, and graduated from Auckland University of Technology (AUT) in 2017 with a Bachelor of Pasifika (Early Childhood Teaching). Marinica begun her journey as an early childhood educator with Little Sparks in March 2018.

Marinica is the 6th child in a family of 13 siblings, she comes from a family of musicians which is a big part of their family life.

Marinica believes children’s inclusive learning is important and they need to have a sense of self-belonging and self-worth, ensuring they feel comfortable around her is a big part of her philosophy. She loves to incorporate physical play activities into her day and the children love the energy and enthusiasm Marinica brings to Little Sparks.

Marinica Ah Lung Little Sparks
Sunila Devi Little Sparks

Sunila Devi

Infant and Toddler Support Teacher

Sunila was born in Fiji and moved to New Zealand when she was 14 years old.  She studied at Kelston Girls High School and after finishing College got married and began her working career in customer service. Sunila joined Little Sparks in September 2016.

Taking on new challenges and trying new things is a passion of hers and she said that this change in career has been her greatest experience so far! She has two children who fill her life with fun and laughter, whilst teaching her something new every day.

Sunila believes children learn best by having fun at the same time in a loving environment. Sunila looks forward to meeting you and developing strong relationships with your child and your family.