Our teachers

Renata McIlroy
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I am originally from Brazil and also the mum of three children, an eight-year-old girl and twin boys who are six years old. I also have a Cavoodle dog named Daisy.  

I value the respectful, responsive and reciprocal relationships that I build with children, their whᾱnau and my colleagues. I believe that by actively listening and engaging with children and their families, together we can participate in experiences that are meaningful and enriching to all of us.

I am passionate about diversity and embracing the authenticity of each and every child. I believe that by accepting and respecting children for who they are, and by teaching them that everyone is unique, and that the uniqueness of each individual adds colour to the world, we are helping them to be confident, respectful and considerate human beings.

Grace Frewin


As an early childhood teacher, I seek to support a warm learning environment where children feel safe and secure and have the time, space, and learning experiences tailored to each child’s innate interests and abilities. Inspired by the Montessori philosophy, I value agency and empowerment and believe that my role as an ECE teacher is to facilitate children to use a range of resources to learn and grow.

The foundation of my teaching philosophy is born from relationships; I strongly value the partnerships between children, their families, the community, and the environment. These relationships are established on the culture of kindness, working together to provide children with the wrap-around support needed to be confident and capable learners.

Mata Priest
Head Teacher

Why I became a teacher :

I was very lucky to have been born and raised in a wholesome, supportive community in Rarotonga.  My family, friends, teachers and the wider community have greatly contributed to teaching me my culture, who I am as a person and how to contribute to others.  In simply being taught, I in turn wanted to become a teacher, to hopefully become a small link in the support chain in children's lives.

What I love about teaching:

Every day is different!  Every child is different.  Learning about a child's unique qualities and seeing them grow holistically is very rewarding.

What I hope to bring to the children of Belmont Montessori:

A vision to connect the children with the people, place and things in the Devonport and wider area.  Using my skills and knowledge, I aim to develop a local curriculum to build confident life-long learners that will respect themselves, their environment and others.

Fun fact about me:

I was a dancer in a professional Cook Island team for 6 years.  We travelled the world often and my favourite dance tour was to Disneyland.

Why I became a teacher:

On my journey as a Teen Mum, I was very much supported and inspired by the teachers who helped me continue my education whilst raising my son. As I grew older and began working in schools and with children, I developed a passion for teaching and a huge appreciation for the amazing jobs teachers do!

What I love about teaching:

I love how rewarding it is. Watching children flourish on their learning journey is so wholesome to be a part of. I also love how no day is the same in this profession! 

What I hope to bring to the children of Belmont Montessori:

A nurturing and supportive environment that all children feel safe to be themselves and can flourish in.

Fun fact about me:

I had my only son at 15 years old! He is now 9 and about to start his last year of primary school. 

Lauren Campbell
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