Established in 1989 • Unleashing Every Child's Full Potential

Our Team

Tracie Phua

Head of School

I was blessed with a second career in early childhood education at TMS since April 2003 after a rewarding one in information technology in Singapore. I find it both humbling and a privilege to work with children in their formative years, sharing their journey towards becoming confident and competent life long learners. I discovered the Montessori Method while looking for the right preschool for my own children in Singapore. I hold a B. Ed (ECE) from AUT University and a Montessori Diploma (2.5 - 6 years) from St Nicholas Montessori Training Centre (London).

My studies into the theories and practice of early childhood education reaffirmed my belief that the Montessori Method is unsurpassed in supporting the holistic learning of young children. As Head of School, my vision is to continue making TMS a special community where adults "follow the child" to help them reach their fullest potential.

I enjoy reading, travelling, watching the occasional musical and trying out the various cuisines available in Auckland. I make up for any over-indulgence in the latter by taking walks along the many beaches of the East Coast Bays, swimming, and working out at the gym when time permits.

Jessica Kim

Casa Guide

I came to New Zealand at the end of 2008 from South Korea, where I began my studies in early childhood education. After experiencing the joys of New Zealand, I decided to continue my degree in ECE at AUT University. I took the opportunity to hone my language and early childhood teaching skills by volunteering at Sunday school and working across ECE centres as a reliever before and during my course at AUT.

During my third year, I decided to specialise in the Montessori pedagogy, as I was fascinated by how the method allows each child to be respected for who they are and who they will become. I was able to reflect and deepen my own teaching philosophies during my final year. I see the teacher’s role as one that advocates for the empowerment of children to become independent, self-motivated, responsible and respectful. I believe that when teachers provide the prepared environment, opportunities and choices to support children to achieve their full potential; the children will grow as valuable and joyful contributors within their family, community and wider society. My passion for the Montessori method of education inspired me to complete an AMI (Association Montessori Internationale) diploma in Montessori Education (3-6) so that I can continue to give my best to help children meet their fullest potential.

During my spare time, I enjoy travelling, crafts, reading, watching movies and listening to music.

Manuela Trujillo Llano

Casa Guide

Hola, my name is Manuela and I come from Colombia, a beautiful Spanish speaking country. I am the eldest of three siblings and my family lives in my home country. I have been living in New Zealand for eleven years, and I feel so thankful and fortunate for having the opportunity to live in this fantastic country.

I am a qualified and registered educator, and I really enjoy learning alongside young children. I find the Montessori Method as a life philosophy beyond an educational pedagogy, and I love knowing that Montessori philosophy is about finding ourselves in the universe, being grateful for each aspect that life brings to us daily, and growing as integral human beings who look for social justice and a peaceful world at every moment of our lives.

I enjoy the sensitivity to children’s individual needs, organisation, discipline, concentration, independence, freedom within boundaries, meaningfulness, and gratitude needed to develop and succeed in a Montessori learning environment. I love following the Montessori approach, learning more about it, and exploring it alongside the children and their families. I have completed an Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) Diploma in Montessori education for 3-6 year olds and am excited to use the skills and understanding acquired through this to better support our tamariki at Titoki Montessori Casa.

Ailin Liew

Casa Guide

Kia ora, my name is Ai Lin! I am a qualified registered ECE teacher and graduated from Massey University in 2011. I worked as a music lecturer in Malaysia for seven years focusing on music education before moving to New Zealand in 2003.

I love working with young children, especially in the area of music and art. Children's quest for learning has always intrigued me. Outside of work, I enjoy cooking, gardening and playing musical instruments such as the violin and piano. I am blessed with a supportive family comprising my husband Sam and my daughter Caitlyn.

Bianca King

Casa Guide

Kia ora everyone! My name is Bianca and I am originally from Johannesburg, South Africa. I moved to New Zealand in 2003 with my parents and younger brother and have enjoyed living in this country ever since.

For as long as I can remember, I've always wanted to be a teacher and decided on early childhood education as I enjoy working with younger children and how they have an endless curiosity for the many things in life. I discovered the Montessori method during my third year of studying early childhood education at AUT when we visited a Montessori 3 to 6 classroom. Through this visit and by learning more about the Montessori philosophy I realised that I loved how the method encourages the children to be self-motivated, independent and have a love of learning and exploring. After completing my degree, I was inspired to further my Montessori knowledge by completing the Association Montessori International (AMI) 3-6 diploma.

In my spare time I enjoy crocheting, baking, playing the guitar and ukulele, gardening, reading and catching up on a variety of tv shows.

Sean Chia

Administrator / Student Teacher

Kia ora everyone. I’m Sean, and I’ve been relieving at Titoki Montessori since 2017, and handling the administrative work since February 2022.

I recently started a course to become a fully certified ECE teacher, and I am very grateful to have Titoki as my home centre. I enjoy helping children to learn and seeing them become more confident and independent as they grow.

In my spare time I enjoy listening to music, reading, and designing and collecting models for 3D printing.

Montessori Testimonials

"The best and most authentic Montessori preschool in Auckland! Both my children went to this school for the full 3 years and they absolutely thrived. Although they are both at school now, they still talk about Titoki frequently and go visit. I can't imagine a better start to their educational journey. All the staff are extremely knowledgeable in Montessori philosophy and do a fantastic job delivering an authentic programme. As a Montessori teacher myself, I am truly grateful for the level of care, effort and education Titoki provides. Children acquire skills for life at this preschool! As my 6 year old said "Titoki is the best school ever!""

Marina M


"Our son has recently graduated from Titoki Montessori. He absolutely loved his time there and we are very glad that we chose this preschool. At Titoki they follow a very authentic Montessori approach which values the whole child. The environment is fully prepared to suit the children’s needs, making child-led learning a really enjoyable experience for these pre-schoolers. The staff are absolutely wonderful, very nurturing and supportive and there is a great community vibe to the school. Our son left very well prepared for starting Primary School. We are so lucky to have such a high quality, authentic Montessori option right here in Torbay."

Olivia Worthington


"Thank you for being wonderful teachers. Your kindness, patience and dedication have made a huge difference in Willis’ life. We appreciate all the love and care you have given to our precious young man over the past three years. You have created a warm and supportive learning environment that has helped him grow and develop in so many ways."

Evan & Christy


"Our family loves Titoki. The environment and the teachers are well-prepared to support the children on their journey to develop themselves. The team is always trying their best to be as authentic to Montessori as possible which I really appreciate! If you’re finding a preschool program for your child(ren), you must consider this school."

Huong Thai


"Be very proud of your school... You and all of your teachers are providing a wonderful learning environment for the children, and Adam has thrived in your care. Thank you all."

Ruth Guthrey


"I love all the teachers a million and a trillion! (Quote from our 3.5 years old daughter) I just feel overwhelmingly grateful that our daughter gets to go to Titoki. It is truly an amazing place full of amazing people. Thank you!"

Susan and Eugene Pearson


"Titoki is an environment where kids can go and learn how to be their own person. This school enables them to grow at their pace, with their interests - they learn without realizing it....Montessori education at its best - a great start for education and the love of learning.‎"

Sacha and Shelley Belcourt


"My daughter could not have had a better pre-school experience. Titoki Montessori pre-school exceeded my expectations and helped develop my child into a caring confident person. A must for all 3 - 6 year olds! ‘Education is a natural process and is acquired not by listening to words but by experiencing the environment’ - Maria Montessori."

Allan Rutledge


"To all who have contributed to the wonderful experiences our grandson, Adam, has had at Titoki, Thank you so very much for your amazing dedication."

Janice Tasker


"Education should no longer be mostly imparting of knowledge, but must take a new path, seeking the release of human potentialities."

Maria Montessori