The Conscious Kids Team
Maria Mariotti
CK Co-Founder and Director

 

Maria is an Italian mum that has been traveling around the world with her family (her 3 kids were born in 3 different continents!) to study and learn from indigenous cultures, different philosophies and natural therapies.

She’s a highly experienced yoga and mindfulness teacher having taught in many studios as well as facilitating retreats, workshops and conferences all over the world. Her passion is to share the life, joy and creativity that arise freely in everyone when there is balance and harmony with nature and within ourselves!

Rita Pontes
CK Co-Founder and Director

 

Rita is a Brazilian mum of two girls and a qualified Graphic and Interior Designer. After visiting different countries with her family, they have found New Zealand the best place to live a conscious life, connecting future and past, nature and development, love and respect.

As a designer Rita is passionate about making the world a better place to everyone, full of colours and happiness. She believes that every new day is a miracle and small changes make big transformations.
 

Ann Langis
CK Education Director/ Co-Funder
 

Ann Langis has over 20 years’ experience working with children from early childhood through to college and holds a master's degree in Education from Harvard University.  She specializes in the areas of nature play, positive behaviour management, and language arts, and has a particular interest in te reo and tikanga Māori. 

On her first day on the job at Conscious Kids she fondly recalls torrential rain, monumental mud, and CO2 overload in a steamy tent, making up ridiculous stories with the kids.  She was sold and continues to cross her fingers for wet and wild weather because that’s when the Conscious Kids magic really comes into its own!  Ann lives in Bayswater with her husband, 3 children, and the giant piles of Conscious Kids equipment that fill up their lounge.   

Harriet Brown
Conscious Kids Co-Founder

 

Harriet was a mum to 2 girls, a qualified teacher, holding a degree in Sport and Exercise Science. During term time she could be found exploring Long Bay Regional Park with a group of intrepid pre-schoolers who attended a Nature Kindergarten that she used run. Harriet had a passion for getting children outside, whatever the weather, to do what they are designed to do best… play. Harriet was constantly amazed by the huge developments she could experience with her Nature kindergarten children and with Maria and Rita founded CONSCIOUS KIDS to share these benefits with school-age children.
 

In Memoriam

Lana Chisholm
CK Development Manager

Lana is a free-play enthusiast and environmental advocate with an eye for adventure and over a decade of experience of leading outdoor expeditions. From the icy slopes of New Hampshire's ski fields to the rocky escarpments of Table Mountain, she specialises in youth empowerment through exploration and couldn't be more pleased to be a part of the CK Team. An active outdoors-woman and botanical hobbyist with a postgraduate degree in health promotion and a background in wilderness first aid, she is super keen to share her passion for nature, mud and all living things, great and small with the next generation.  

"Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, Drink the wild air's salubrity" - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Liss Osorio

CK Operations Manager

Liss is passionate about the amazing vibe of interacting with kids. Originally from Venezuela, she has always been enthusiastic about hiking and nature; traveling through Venezuela and other countries have given her the opportunity to enrich her love of nature and adventure. This drew her to New Zealand this year and experiencing its magic has been a lovely experience so far for her. Being a Dietitian and a Yoga teacher, the quality of caring for others has always been paramount in her professional and personal setting.

 

Since she started working with the Conscious Kids Programme, she discovered her passion and talent with clay and arts, showing we can all learn through play – whatever your age is!

Conscious Kids Educators
Ada Rooney

 

Ada is originally from Hong Kong and have been living in NZ since she was 11. She is a mother of 2 gorgeous children and  loves spending time at the beach and bush walk. Ada is a qualified early childhood teacher and have a strong belief in play based learning. 

Briar Broad
 

I have always loved being in the outdoors growing up in the Waitakere Ranges, and regularly boating in the Manukau Harbor and Hauraki Gulf. Trained in ecology and environmental science I have traveled to, and explored, some amazing places in New Zealand and overseas. I am now a mum to two energetic, creative, curious kids who opened my eyes to how many children are growing up without a deep connection to the nature around them. 

 

I spent 6 years involved in Playcentre, where I established and coordinated a weekly outdoor session to get more parents and their kids connected with nature. I then homeschooled my children and, missing our weekly outdoor session, set up another one for the local homeschool community. 

 

Now my kids are at school and I have a deep passion to ensure that as many kids as possible are able to deepen their relationship with nature and gain all the benefits that outdoors has to offer.

Dana Harvey

 

Dana is a recent addition to our team and has an array of experience working with children. Over the past 15 years she has worked in outdoor education instruction, before/after school and holiday program care, surf school and paddle board kids programs, along with coaching and running sporting programs. She absolutely loves the freedom kids can have in these environments and the ability to just simply play and enjoy whatever each day brings.

 

Dana is personally motivated by the principle less is more and finds enjoyment in the simplicity life has to offer. She loves most things in life but in particular anything adventurous surrounded by nature. Hiking Trails, Waterfalls, Beaches, Kayaking, Climbing, Paddling, Camping, Surfing.  One amazing continuous adventure. She is currently working on a concept that is dedicated to community gatherings, walking trails, connection with nature, creating environmental awareness and all events created are dedicated to restoring and rejuvenating the land in which we live.

Meike Funk

 

Meike, originally from Germany, is super excited to be a part of the Outdoor Revolution. She grew up with the saying: there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing! Meike loves all things nature; that also includes looking after our precious planet. 

 

She sees nature as an essential part of our wellbeing, a place to recharge, re-set and free your mind, body and soul. Her background is physiotherapy and she has also a Master’s Degree in Sport Science focusing on social play and team building with a special interest in obesity in childhood and child psychology. 

 

Since becoming a mum her passion for nature grew into the important role of raising a nature loving little human who loves bush walks, mud and climbing trees. 

Meike believes that outdoor kids are healthy happy kids with nature being the key teacher. So, get them outside as much as you can, and don’t care too much about the weather!

Paul Whitfield

 

Paul has always been into the outdoors and gets a buzz out of sharing his passion with kids.

During three years at Playcentre with his daughter he established a weekly outdoor session taking pre-schoolers (some as young as 6 weeks old) into the wild. Well, the wildest places they could find in Auckland's central suburbs.

 

He continues to be an Educator for Playcentre outdoor sessions, helps run Nature Kindergarten sessions and loves letting children free-play the way they used to; in the bush, at the beach or just somewhere carefree getting mucky.

Ines Gereda

 

Ines is Passionate about the way children learn. With a background in ECE, psychology and yoga teaching she came to New Zealand in 2011 and became the mum of 3 Playcentre kids.

 

Ines believes freedom to move and choose and lots of time to play and explore give children the perfect grounds for positive learning experiences. She is excited about having outdoor adventures with kids to connect with nature and find ways to look after our planet together.

 

When she is not working at Conscious Kids she is teaching yoga, at Playcentre, running around with her kids, working in community events or facilitating play sessions for children in the Devonport community.

Julie Stephenson

 

My best memories of childhood are playing outside in Wisconsin.  I would spend all day sledding down hills, skating on ponds and going on adventures in the woods behind my house.   Being part of Conscious Kids and facilitating nature based play for tamariki is both inspiring and a true pleasure.

 

I have three very energetic boys who love to get messy, climb trees and go on adventures in the outdoors. I have been home educating my children for the past year and I am a member of my local playcentre, where outdoor-based free play is central to my teaching ethos.

I love spending time outside with my children - walking in the bush, surfing, kayaking, camping and exploring.  Being part of Conscious Kids is a natural extension to our nature-focused learning.

Nicola Taylor

 

I am a homeschooling mum of two kids Lilly and Olly. I love animals and enjoy spending time in my vegetable garden at home. I am passionate about being outdoors, on the water and in the Bush. I am really excited to be part of the Conscious Kids team! 

Tref Turner

Kia ora! My name is Tref Turner I am the proud father of my eight-year-old son Tobias. As a young lad, I climbed with my father in the mountains of Scotland and Wales giving me the foundation for many outdoor pursuits. My first degree sprung me into the world of entertainment for twenty years of travelling extensively.

With the arrival of my son, I retrained, completing a three-year educational degree focusing on the benefits of the outdoor environment for the youngest members of society. I have lived in the hills of the Waitakere ranges for the past ten years and am proud to call Aotearoa my home. I love a good chat and am very much looking forward to meeting you all.

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