Meet Our team.

Debbie McCabe

Owner and Director


I have worked in the early childhood in both New Zealand and Australia since 1986.

I completed my original diploma in 1995. I finished my Degree in education in 2015. I hold a current practicing certificate as a registered teacher.

I grew up in Christchurch, my husband Ian and I with our two daughters, Georgia and Madison, moved to Hanmer Springs in 2006. Tree Bears was the reason for our move, it fulfilled my dream to own a small boutique family orientated preschool.


My personal teaching philosophy has been strongly influenced by Te Whāriki, the New Zealand early childhood curriculum. For me it reinforces my belief about reciprocal relationships, as being a very important tool which supports our children’s learning. 


I enjoy being apart of both the Nursery and Preschool, getting to know children and families..

I wear many hats supporting families, teachers and managing the centre but for me the best part is being actively involved and engaged with children. 

Chloe Turton
Head Teacher
Hi, I am Chloe. I am the Head Teacher and part of the management team at Tree Bears. I am a qualified Primary School Teacher. I am originally from the North Island. My partner and I moved to Culverden once we both had finished studying. 

My teaching philosophy is strongly influenced by the children. I believe it is my role to understand and cater for each child’s learning needs. I believe that it is vital to build strong and effective relationships with all children, families and the wider community.

I enjoy working alongside the team at Tree Bears and seeing the development that your children make.
Kim-michelle Flanagan
Preschool teacher

Hi my name is Kim-michelle,  I have been teaching young children for the past 11 years and enjoy spending my time building respectful relationships with families and working alongside children building and extending on their natural curiosity and love of learning. I am a fun enthusiastic and passionate teacher which enjoys passing on my skills and knowledge along to others such as creativity, building with Lego and love of the outdoors among many other talents.

Music, crafting, coloring and reading are some of the things that I enjoy doing while I’m not having fun from teaching your young people.

Being surrounded in nature is peaceful and tranquil and spending my time in Hanmer Springs at Tree Bears I feel I couldn’t be working in a better place.


Janelle Palmer

Nursery Teacher 

My name is Janelle. I have just completed the Bachelor of Teaching (ECE). I moved

to Hanmer Springs with my husband, Andrew and three

children, Kieran, Lee and Daniel in 2019.

I believe that every child is precious, they bring their own

knowledge of the world with them. My passion is to

understand and connect with each child and their Whᾱnau.. 

Relationships with the children and their families is key to my teaching practice..

Michaela Stuart Palmer
On Maternity Leave

Hi my name is Michaela Stuart-Palmer. I live in Culverden 


I am in the process of completing a Diploma in early childhood education and care and I plan on continuing my study. I hope to start my Bachelors in Early childhood soon..  

I believe in offering a nurturing environment for Tamariki, building relationships through trust.I I look forward to meeting you all.