Little Steps Team

Meet the team!

mary yang

Head teacher

Ki Ora, my name is Mary. I am the head teacher at Little Steps Montessori. In July 2005, I graduated from AUT with a Bachelor of Education, teaching early childhood. After spending ten years in main stream education, I found myself looking for a new direction in my teaching practice. I was inspired by the unique Montessori approach to learning. In 2015, I completed the AMI Montessori assistant course, whilst around the same time joining the Little Steps team.  Over the past 7 years, my three children have also attended Little Steps with me and, from a parent’s perspective, I have seen great value in Montessori education. I believe that it is important to provide an environment that fosters self-discovery and independence, where children are given the space and time to develop their interests and guided to reach their potential.

pamela cusack


Pamela has a wonderful love of learning and creating ways for children and people to have purposeful experiences they will enjoy and remember.  She loves music. singing and movement. Maths and science are definite wonders for her and she so enjoys using the Montessori method to create lifelong relationships with our world in relation to Maths and science. She loves the challenge of creating art and sketches and encourages children to do the same in their own way. Reading and language are a constant source of delight for Pamela so again using the Montessori Method as a wonderful way of enriching the use of language for all to benefit.  Pamela is a Grandmother of 2 beautiful children who she delights in spending time with and the owner of a delightful poodle Charles who is a wonderful companion.

danny li


I was born and raised in China and moved to New Zealand when I was 16 years old. I graduated from AUT with a Bachelor of Hospitality Management in 2010. After a few years of working in the Hospitality industry, I then found my real passion is working with children. I decided to study ECE Teaching and graduated from New Zealand Tertiary College with a Graduated Diploma in ECE Teaching in 2013. I have enjoyed the past seven years working with children in Montessori Preschool, it has helped me understand the Montessori Philosophy including self-directed and hands on learning and collaborative play. 

Chensa Clarkson


I was born in England and have lived in New Zealand for over 20 years with my wonderful family. Being inspired by Maria Montessori’s Philosophy and method of education, I attended Mercy Montessori Africa, (affiliated to Mercy Montessori Institute Ohio USA). I graduated as a Montessori Directress in 1998. I also hold a certificate in Education Early Childhood and a certificate from Association Montessori Internationale Children’s House Assistant course. This has enabled me to work alongside children and families for over 20 years, as a home educator, Montessori Directress and an Education support worker. I consider myself to be very blessed to have spent so many wonderful years working with children and families.

Stella Xu


I was born and raised in China. My Chinese name is Qianmian Xu. I moved to New Zealand with my husband in 2016 and have been living in North Shore since then. I graduated from New Zealand Tertiary College with a Graduate Diploma of Early Childhood Education in January 2019, and I became a fully registered ECE teacher in February 2021. I have enjoyed the past two years working with preschool children in a Reggio inspired centre. I recently found my interest in Montessori teaching philosophy and I feel greatly honoured to join the Little Steps team in August 2021.  I believe that all children have their own potential. I value the importance of children’s exploration and I aim to support children to become independent and competent learners. I am looking forward to meeting you and your family.