About Us

First Learners was started in January 2002 when owner, Linda Broekman identified a gap in the market for a preschool that uses child initiated learning where children guide the learning experience.


Linda Broekman is the owner/manager of First Learners centres. She started her career in Kindergarten after completing her training at the end of 1974 in Christchurch. She has worked in a variety of Early childhood settings including kindergarten, playcentre, community based childcare, before purchasing a centre in Rangiora in January 2002, and so began First Learners.

In January 2007, she purchased in Mairehau and then in the May of the same year, Shirley centre became a First Learners also.

With having three grown sons and three centres to run, life is very busy and never a dull moment.

Linda believes that it is essential for children to be provided with the best education and care. In order to provide this, it is vital that management, staff and parents/caregivers and whanau work together as a team. She considers a happy, friendly and positive centre environment is crucial for everyones well being.



Meet our Education Support Manager - Jodie Hicks

Fully Registered. Qualifications: Bachelor of Teaching and Learning, Comprehensive First Aid


Kia Ora everyone; A little bit about me...I am originally from Tauranga and moved down to Christchurch in 1995 to follow my dream of becoming early childhood educator.

My teaching journey began at Childspace i 1996, which was later sold in 1999 to become the Bee's Knees; and then eventually, Shirley First Learners (as it is known today) when Linda purchased it in 2007.

Over the years I have had experience as a teacher, a team leader - of both the preschool and nursery areas, a centre supervisor of Mairehau First Learners and now the Education Support Manager (ESM) for our three First Learners Centres.

I love the power of team work and have a strong passion for shared leadership in change and progressionl and pride myself on inspiring our teachers to challenge themselves to succeed and be the best they can be. I believe this attitude is then filtered down from our teachers to our tamariki who can recognise their own learning and see themselves as successful.

Outside of work I love the great outdoors and enjoy spending time with my husband and two boys camping, water skiing, gardening, running and biking.

Would you like more Information?

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Drop by and see us?

Do you want to come for a visit and see for yourself what the First Learners experience is all about?


We have an open door policy meaning that you are free to visit at anytime you wish. You don't need to call or email us, just drop into the centre of your choosing during the opening hours.



First Learners Preschool
Email: info@firstlearners.co.nz

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