Before Pennie's passing in September 2023, she had carefully selected four individuals to continue her teaching work and a fifth to bring them together. To honour Pennie's vision, the group formed the Pennie Brownlee Foundation to ensure that Pennie's work, wisdom and legacy would be preserved and continue to make positive cultural changes for future generations. As the caregivers of Pennie's 'baskets of knowledge', we carry the essence of Pennie in our hearts and in all of our work, continuing her mission of promoting the well-being of babies, children, parents and caregivers.
I am a parent of four children and Nani to one mokopuna. I live in Pito-one Aotearoa. My passion is creating and supporting just and respectful relationships in partnership with children, parents, whānau, educators, tangata whenua and tauiwi/pākehā. I have a Master of Social Science that supports my work in professional development for parents, teachers and organisations. Playcentre was the foundation for my children's education. I have worked for over 30 years, supporting children's development in community educational and government organisations. This has included lecturing at Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University in Early Childhood for 15 years and designing and facilitating Professional Development for people working in the Early Childhood sector.
I trained in the Pikler approach with Pennie Brownlee and more recently with Itana and the Pedagogues from the Loczy Institute in Hungary. Pennie was a very dear friend and colleague and a whaea to my tamariki. I am honoured to be part of this group carrying on Pennie's legacy in Aotearoa.
Kia ora, I am an Early Childhood Teacher and Professional Development Facilitator living in Nelson, New Zealand. I met Pennie Brownlee back in 2004 in Budapest, when we studied together at the Pikler Institute.
I own and operate The Children's Garden, a small ECE setting for children 0-6yrs. We are licensed for 30 children and have a strong philosophy based on relationships, inspired by Dr Emmi Pikler's approach and connected with Nature Education. We spend the majority of our day in the natural outdoors of our large nature-inspired setting and take children on weekly visits to local bush reserves, streams, historic gardens and our local beach.
I have a degree in Early Childhood Education and a Masters' in Education (currently in progress). I have a passion for creating conditions for peaceful learning and care for children, families and teachers and have studied with Victoria University, the Pikler Institute and The MEHRIT Centre (Self-Reg). I have had many roles over the years as a teacher, parent education/playgroup facilitator, ECE consultant and professional learning facilitator, lecturer, and mum. Some of you may know me best as part of the Tauhara Sacred Urge to Play team, which included Pennie, Kimberley, Lisa, and David.
I have two teenage boys, a dog and three cats, and a very lovely husband. I love being in nature and am thankful I live in such a beautiful setting here in Nelson - surrounded by beaches, rivers, and nature reserves. My vision is to surround myself and others with kindness and connection and to advocate for all to have the opportunity to experience this way of being.
I am grateful for the gift of being part of this foundation and am looking forward to carrying the basket of knowledge and wisdom forward and supporting others to do this also. Let's keep the fires burning and the vision of a heart-centred approach alive for many more years to come.
Jay Worsnop, an experienced early childhood educator, currently manages Gisborne Community Early Education Centre Te Whare Tiaki Tamariki Inc., where she has worked since 2004. With a solid educational background, including a Bachelor of Teaching in Early Childhood Education and completion of Level 1 of the Pikler Training system, Jay is well-equipped to drive positive change in her field.
Her passion lies in creating nurturing and respectful play and learning environments for children and adults, focusing on infant and toddler pedagogy.
Jay's professional journey has been significantly influenced by her connection with Pennie Brownlee, dating back to 2009 when she participated in the transformative 'Dance with Me in the Heart 1' intensive, followed by ‘Dance with Me in the Heart 2’. In 2011, Jay completed the 'Heart Dancing for Facilitators' program, further enhancing her skill set and knowledge.
This relationship with Pennie enriched Jay's professional growth. It evolved into a cherished friendship marked by unwavering support and invaluable guidance throughout her teaching career.
Jay is deeply honoured to contribute to the Pennie Brownlee Foundation, allowing her to champion the principles and ideals she holds dear while making a meaningful impact in New Zealand’s early childhood education community.
I grew up in the beautiful Kauaeranga Valley behind Thames, New Zealand, and it was there that my journey with Pennie began. A wonderful family friend, she knew me from the very beginning.
I’ve always been passionate about human behaviour and development, which led me to study psychology, coaching, group dynamics, and facilitation. An accredited Demartini Method trained facilitator and Zenergy Whole Person facilitator, I have over 20 years experience working with organisations all over the world, bringing heart and purpose to them through culture change, team alignment, and leadership development.
Having moved back to Kaiaua, near Thames, in 2017 to start our family, I attended the Pennie designed Babys’pace program with our first son Jack. Through these classes I realised, if we start out right with our babies and children there is a lot less remedial work to be done later. Both Pennie and I recognised a synergy between her work and my professional background, and so began a beautiful mentorship founded on her Dance with me in the Heart trainings and facilitation. Over the past several years, I’ve also been helping facilitate parent infant and toddler classes locally.
I live on a lifestyle block with my partner Phil, our young baby Cody and five year old son Jack whom we home educate. So whilst I am currently immersed in the challenges and delights of young-family life, I am also putting into practice the essence of this foundation – the well-being of all through nurturing a culture of kindness. Alongside this, regenerative farming, natural horsemanship, being in nature and exploring the wilderness, also feed my soul.
I am so grateful to have had Pennie in my life as a dear friend and mentor, and am very honoured to be a part of the Pennie Brownlee Foundation. I look forward to continuing her legacy and bringing her amazing work to our communities and the world.
Clare Caro works and lives in the United Kingdom with her family and has a keen interest in childhood development, progressive education and anthropology. Clare is a co-director of the social enterprise Root-and-Branch Out, curator of The Pikler Collection, and a partner in the Good Egg Books, where Pennie's books continue to be published, distributed and sold online.
Clare is Pennie's only child, and carrying on her mother's legacy is something dear to her heart. She brings skills in marketing and design to the group, along with a profound understanding of Pennie's portfolio and ethos.