Te Kauwhata Staff

Linda Ward – Managing Director and Owner

Linda is the owner and manager of the Reach Forward Early Learning Centres. Right from the very start she knew she would be involved in teaching – as a young girl she would line her dolls up and proceed to show them all how to read and write. From these humble beginnings she has soared in her career.

For the first 11 years of her work life she taught primary aged school children both here, in New Zealand and overseas. And then before moving on to owning and operating her own businesses she spent a further 11 years working in a church developing their children’s enterprises. Previous experience in opening five children’s facilities led to this stage of her career. But owning and operating Childcare Centres is not all Linda loves to do. She has a particular passion for training teachers to be effective and gifted professionals. Her collection of books continues to grow as she buys more and more in order to assist those under her care.

Travel features high on her goals in life. She has already travelled to over 34 countries – Europe, Africa, America and Asia but she still longs to see more. She says travel has broadened her view of people – deep down we are all the same but the way we express ourselves can be so diverse. This diversity is the spice of life. Mission trips to other countries to help the locals with whatever they need is also one of her passions.

Her husband spent his childhood in the middle of Borneo whilst his parents shared Jesus with the local Dyak people. So consequently both Evan and herself support many mission ventures. Daily disciplines such as Bible reading and prayer and the joy of belonging to a local church keep her life in balance. And cooking up a storm and having theme dinner parties allows for quality time with her family and friends.

Linda leads by example, works with all her might and has the vision and capacity to grow Reach Forward into a place where children, teachers and families develop and flourish.

Anette van Rooyen – Teacher

Anette’s passion for children led her and her husband to open up their home to many children from a local South African Children’s Home; offering foster care to children over weekends and school holidays. They quickly became popular foster care parents for previously abused children and were able to give these wonderful children the urgently needed love and support they required.

Anette immigrated to New Zealand in January 2009. After experiencing the Christchurch earthquakes they didn’t hesitate to move to Auckland. Since then, they have toured through most of New Zealand. Anette loves the outdoors and with her children now grown up, she and her husband can enjoy the freedom of being able to pack their bags on a Friday afternoon and set off for their next adventure. The growing number of grandchildren is also keeping her young and fit!

Anette works with our young children and Reach Forward is so blessed to have her work for us as she is enthusiastic, energetic, cheerful and full of creativity.

Tash Bezuidenhout – Teacher

Tash attended the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University and gained a Bachelor of Education specializing in the Foundation Stage. She was born in Vereeniging, South Africa; an industrial town about 2 hours out of Johannesburg. Her family was there as her Dad is a civil engineer. After university she married and traveled to work in the UK as a nursery school and supply teacher. She, along with her husband and two children, immigrated to New Zealand in 2010. Since 2010, Tash has added to her family and they now have four children. They love to be outdoors camping or hiking. In fact, Tash’s love for the outdoors and birds comes from a childhood of going camping with her Grandmother and cousins. While out at the campsite her Grandmother would have them listen to bird sounds and they would identify the birds in a special book that she had.

When asked about an embarrassing moment in her life she reddens as she recounts the story of when she was 13 years of age. She was at the mall with her girlfriends; had accidentally stood on a piece of gum and after coming out of the toilet proceeded to walk through the mall with a metre-long piece of toilet paper trailing behind her.

Tash’s passions include reading and children. Reading as she loves to gain new knowledge and it is a great way to relax and children for their zest and enthusiasm for life.

It is a great joy to have Tash here at Reach Forward Early Learning Centre as her soft and gentle ways endear children to her.

Evan Ward – Property Manager

Evan, Linda’s husband, is the practical work horse that silently operates behind the scenes. His days are full with maintenance work, building, carpentry and technology; makeing him a valuable member of our team. Apart from Linda, Evan’s other passion is audio visual production. His interest in capturing the right “shot” is an extension of his desire to create a perfect environment.

Evan spent 10 years of his life (from age 10 to 20) living in a remote village in the middle of Borneo while his parents did missionary work amongst the Dyak people group. Evan speaks fluent Indonesian and has a real appreciation for the value of things. Spending his young formative years working with people who had very little in the way of material possessions has influenced his thoughts and actions; he is constantly grateful for the life we have, here in New Zealand.

Evan is a huge asset to Reach Forward as his work supports the development of the centres, allowing us to concentrate on developing and delivering the best programme possible

What our parents say