About Us 

When children move, they learn. It’s really that simple... and it’s really that powerful. Yet somehow today, in our fast-paced, over-scheduled, tech-savvy world, that idea often gets lost.

MOVING SMART was founded in 1997 by Gill Connell, Educator, Child Development Expert, and best-selling author, to help teachers and parents better understand the role movement plays in early childhood development while giving children all they need to move their bodies, build their brains, and develop the foundations they’ll need for a lifetime of learning.


Meet Our Team

Gill Connell

Founder, MOVING SMART

Mum, Grandmum, Teacher, International Lecturer, Author and Consultant

"A moving child is a learning child." Gill is a globally recognised child development authority, specialising in the foundations of learning through movement and play. Gill provides developmental expertise to parents, preschools, schools, and international companies such as Hasbro, Inc., based on her 30+ years in preschool and primary education. With her best-selling books A MOVING CHILD IS A LEARNIING CHILD, MOVING TO LEARN and now MOVE, PLAY AND LEARN WITH SMART STEPS Gill has influenced the education of preschoolers nationwide in New Zealand, and is branching out worldwide with new and exciting Moving Smart initiatives.

Cheryl McCarthy

Creative Director, MOVING SMART

Writer, Author

As a writer, producer and toymaker, Cheryl has made a career of play. As the former Vice President of Intellectual Property Development for Hasbro, Inc., Cheryl was instrumental in the development of creative content and storytelling for some of the world's best known toys and games including My Little Pony, Candy Land, Mr Potato Head, and Weebles, while producing more than 30 hours of animated and live action entertainment for children. Now serving as the Creative director for Moving Smart Ltd., Cheryl brings her playful sensibilities to the serious business of getting kids moving to learn. Cheryl is the co-author of the books A MOVING CHILD IS A LEARNING CHILD and MOVE, PLAY AND LEARN WITH SMART STEPS.

Wendy Pirie (MHSC)

Child Development and Movement Consultant, NZ

Early Childhood Educator, Teacher Training Facilitator, and Parenting Movement Consultant

Wendy is a mother to three boys aged and previously held the role of Early Childhood Development Officer for Sport Hawkes Bay. Wendy has completed a Master of Health Science from the University of Auckland with a research thesis investigating the impact of perceptual motor program Smart Start with PMP on new entrant children's learning and behaviour. Wendy is co-authour of the new book MOVE, PLAY AND LEARN WITH SMART STEPS.

Wendy Perera

Child Development and Movement Consultant, MOVING SMART

Mum, Teacher, Parent Educator, Early Childhood Educator, Teacher Training Facilitator

Wendy is a mother of two busy children, a qualified teacher and runs a very successful parent education business called Teeny Tiny. She is a popular presenter for Parents’ Centre nationwide as well as other organisations and brings her wonderful knowledge of how and why children move to Moving Smart.

Wendy has been involved in the Early Childhood industry since 1998, teaching in a variety of settings both in New Zealand and offshore. She has a passion for child development and learning and is specialising in Get Ready for School workshops as well as offering Moving Smart Movement programs to Auckland ECE’s.