At River Kids, we believe in the importance of family, regardless of how that family may be put together.  It’s important to us that each member of the River Kids teachers, feel like they are part of the River Kids Family, so they are able to show the same warmth and care towards the children who spend time with us.

We really care about the families whose littlest members are with us and we will do whatever we can to make life as easy as possible.

That is why we keep our high ratio of teachers to children as this makes for the nicest environment we can offer and allows us to be flexible to adapt to the ever-changing needs of our families.

We hope you enjoy meeting our River Kids family.

Janine Babe

Tena koe, welcome to my profile.  I have been involved in Early Childhood for over 25 years, firstly as a Playcentre parent, nanny and a Teacher Aide when my daughter was pre school age, all of which I thoroughly enjoyed.  This  led to my interest in training as an Early Childhood Teacher and in 2007, as a Primary Teacher.  I have since taught in Kindergarten, Childcare and Primary Schools so have a broad overview of different Early Childhood services and of how children progress and learn.

I have 3 young boys and an older daughter living in the UK.

I have been the Manager at River Kids for 14 years in both teaching and management roles.  I am interested in making a difference for children in full-day care through providing a slow-paced and homely atmosphere where children can grow holistically and develop to their potential.

Please feel free to discuss any concerns or queries with me, I am committed to working in an open and collaborative way with our River Kids Whanau.

Nga Mihi Nui

The Tui Room.  Up To Two

Alexandra Webster 

Kia ora, I’m Alexandra Webster and I am born and educated in New Zealand, I am the Head Teacher in the Infants and Toddlers room (The Tui room).

I live in Coopers Beach with my partner Anthony our young son and infant daughter, along with our dog Echo and two cats Alivia and Mitzi.

I am a qualified early childhood teacher with a Bachelor of Teaching (ECE) and have worked in the early childhood sector for over 10 years.

I am passionate about the early years of a child’s life and work with the children’s strengths and natural interests building on trusting relationships and the unique individual.

I look forward to meeting you and sharing a meaningful relationship with you, your whanau and your tamariki

Nau mai haere mai

Miriam Petersen 

My name is Miriam Petersen and I work in the Tui room 3 days a week, Monday to Wednesday.

I have been working with children for over 13 years, across all ages from 0 to 5.  I love working with all ages, and at the moment I enjoy the slower pace and peaceful relationships we foster with the infants and toddlers.

There is also so much amazing learning and development I get to see and support. I have completed a Diploma of Teaching (ECE) and am also fully registered.

My husband Tai is self-employed and works at South Road Panelbeaters in Kaitaia.  We have 3 children, Celeste (6), Sadie (4), and Spencer (2).  We have our own home just south of Kaitaia where we have lots of trees, bush, flowers and a little veggie garden.  We love being surrounded by the beautiful countryside. Some other things I enjoy are reading (when I get a chance!), cooking and baking, the beach, and playing around with crafty stuff.

I look forward to meeting and working with you all

The Kiwi Room.  Two To School Age

Claudia Goertz

Hi there, my name is Claudia Goertz.  I am the senior teacher in the Over Two’s room (The Kiwi room).

I just moved in November 2015 to Taipa to join the fantastic River Kids teaching team.

I came to New Zealand 14 Years ago and it is my home now. For me beaches, water and the breathtaking nature are incomparable to anywhere else in the world.

I just simply love it, especially here in Northland.

I have two cats and a teenage daughter, which are directing my life very well:)

In the last 10 years, I have worked in several roles in Early Childhood.

Teaching children is my absolute passion. I think to be able to join in a child’s learning, guide and scaffold them in their exciting journey is an amazing opportunity and the most rewarding job one can do.

My core values in teaching are love, respect, relationships and making learning meaningful.

We are so lucky to live in this fantastic environment where you can pick natures treasures up on our beautiful beaches. One of my teaching passions are natural resources and materials and to use them to create rich stimulating and meaningful environments to let our children thrive.

Catherine Kitchen 

Kia ora koutou, my name is Catherine Kitchen.

I studied at the University of Canterbury from 2011-2014 and gained a Bachelor of Teaching and Learning (Primary School). I have had experience working in Primary Schools.  However, I have found my passion and love to be much greater in Early Childhood.

I am originally from Christchurch but my heart got stolen by Ross Kitchen a true North-lander. We got married on the 14th April 2018. We own our own home, two beautiful dogs and we plan on having a family of our own one day.

I have always loved working with children and that will never change.

I love my life here in Northland. Ross and I are well immersed within the community which is important to us both. We run and lead the Doubtless Bay Sea Scout Group. We restarted the group in 2016. It has been challenging and very rewarding.

I have recently completed 21 life-changing days at Outward Bound. It has really given me the mentality that anything is possible if we just put our minds to it.

I live on a big beautiful beef farm in Peria. When I get a bit of time to myself, I love playing sport, going for walks or tramps, gardening, dancing, going to the beach, spending time with my friends and catching up with my family.

The children, staff and whanau members here at River Kids are so awesome! I feel very privileged and lucky to be working in such an amazing environment.

Thanks to everyone who continues to make my time here at River Kids amazing!  I really appreciate it!

Nga mihi aroha


Eva Engling 

Tena koutou katoa! I have worked in the early childhood sector for 15 years now.  I love working at River Kids. We learn more in our first five years of life than ever again. So what could be more exciting than empowering children to become competent and confident learners in a loving and holistic environment?

There is only one thing I feel at least as passionate about professionally and that is natural healthcare. That’s why my other career path, I started out on in 1995, led to 2 Diplomas, one in Naturopathy and one in Herbal Studies.

I live 35 kilometres from Taipa, where we have a lifestyle block with lots of fruit trees, a large vegetable garden and a stream with swimming holes. We are just a small nuclear immigrant family, consisting of my Swiss husband, two grown-up daughters born in New Zealand and me, originally from Germany. I have been in New Zealand for 25 years now, so this is without doubt my home and where my heart is. My mum is 90 years old and still living by herself in a small apartment in Germany. I visit her every year. Travelling must be in our blood, as one of my daughters is a stewardess, while the other one has been globetrotting just to find her dream job in the make-up industry in Vienna, Austria.

Merlyn Ramirez 

Hello I am from the Philippines and am a Medical Technologist by profession.  I gained my work experience in the Philippines and in Saudi Arabia.

Since arriving in New Zealand in 2008, I have studied Aged Care Education in Christchurch, worked in a rest home as a Healthcare Assistant in Palmerston North and met my partner Staf in Hamilton (while I was working as a Laboratory Technician)

Staf and I moved to Oruru in 2010.

I have been working at River Kids since 2011,  I love working with children and find it an enjoyable experience.

I am a keen gardener and when I am not working I can be found in my garden.