Preschool honours educator

17:00, Jun 11 2014
Chisnall and Raeburn
BEFORE: Dr Nicola Chisnall, left, and Judy Raeburn, student, celebrate Judy’s graduation.

Teachers have a dedicated a new preschool in Albany to the memory of a pioneering early childhood educator.

Dr Nicola Chisnall's name is inscribed on a plaque at Montessori's Little Steps preschool.

She died in September, aged 58.

Dave Stott
ENDURING LEGACY: Husband Dave Stott says his wife’s early-childhood research will be published in books.

Her husband Dave Stott says a 150 kilometre round-trip by 70 former and present students to visit his dying wife at their Warkworth home shows how well-loved the mother of two was.

"She had a serenity about her, she had a presence, a very quiet but powerful presence," David says.

"She would do absolutely everything for her students," he says.


Little Steps teacher Judy Raeburn says Nicky started out as a supportive teacher but wound-up a great friend.

In 2008, midway through her bachelor of education course at AUT, the student's mother died in the Philippines and Nicky's kind actions helped her get home.

"She passed the hat around and I was able to see my mother for the last time," she says.

In May this year, David was at the centre's opening ceremony where the plaque was unveiled.

The plaque was a fitting tribute for his wife's "trailblazing" work for Montessori in New Zealand, he says.

And the Dr Nicola Chisnall Memorial Award has been created by the organisation in recognition of her efforts.

In 2002 Nicola and David set up two Montessori-based degree courses at AUT's Akoranga campus.

Since then hundreds of students have graduated from the courses into Montessori's close-knit teaching community.

Judy and husband Lee both started their respective early and primary courses at AUT at the same time.

They now work together at the new Albany centre.

North Shore Times