Irene Zhao - Head Teacher


Born in China, Irene arrived in New Zealand in 2007. She has a Graduate Diploma of Teaching (ECE) and joined New Shoots as a student teacher in 2012.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed growing with the centre and watching it go from strength to strength. I have worked with both babies and toddlers and my philosophy is mainly inspired by Pikler theory; respect, trusting relationships and free movement are at the heart of what I do with the children. I believe in providing a calm, happy and engaging environment that supports children to grow as competent and confident learners.

My husband Nick and I have four children. I love gardening and cooking and sharing my hobbies with the children at New Shoots is one of my favourite parts of teaching. I am also a WeChat blogger and I write articles every week to share my ECE philosophy, practice and my reflection with thousands of Chinese parents and educators.”

SunnynookJoanne Whyte