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Our Team

Meet Your Role Models

Geri o’connor

DIRECTOR

The Children’s Garden really is the sum of Geri’s experience, beliefs and knowledge in early childhood education. Having come to the realisation that children just weren’t being guided with the respect they deserve as young learners, Geri re-envisioned what early education should look like and the effects it should have on the children who have the opportunity to be included. Having studied the field in the United States, spent years experiencing what was on offer in centres all over the world and planning the perfect learning environment, Geri made a change.

So, based on this belief of using natural, flexible and manipulatable environments, The Children’s Garden began to grow into what it is today. Throw in a team of dedicated educators who share these beliefs and have a willingness to create a sense of community and closeness in which children thrive and you have Geri’s best model of The Children’s Garden!

“Let the child be the scriptwriter, the director and the actor in their own play.” – Magda Gerber

LaURA sWINSTEAD

CENTRE MANAGER

11 years it’s been since Laura graduated from the University of Hertfordshire with a Bachelor of Education (Hons). Since then, Laura has found her passion in working on art projects and developing thought-provoking environments for the children she works with to explore.

Working at The Children’s Garden, Laura has the freedom to work with a supportive team, in a beautiful natural environment, and to spend quality time learning and leading with children she has developed strong relationships with.

“Children are not things to be moulded, but are people to be unfolded.” – Jess Lair

Rachael Couper

EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATOR

Having been in early childhood education for a quarter of a century, Rachael has used this time to complete her studies in Applied Art and Design over in New Zealand, as well as her Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care here in WA.

Rachael has a particular interest in developing the child’s sense of autonomy. She loves working in all creative experiences that allow children to challenge themselves and master new skills.

Having been at The Children’s Garden for so long, Rachael has found comfort working with a motivated, creative and supportive team. Working at The Children’s Garden allows Rachael to think deeply about what she is doing and why!

“Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring and integrity, they think of you.” – H. Jackson Brown Jr.

 

 

 

 

jana Lena-Baro

EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATOR

“The greatest gift we can give our children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence” – Maria Montessori

Jana grew up and studied primary education in Germany with the intention to become a Kindergarten teacher in the German education system. After immigrating to Australia, Jana has qualified as an Australian kindergarten teacher working with us at The Children’s Garden.

For Jana, using creativity and imagination in play is a point of importance. The focus is not what comes from imagining, but the cognitive processes involved with creating and imagining.

In Jana’s words, The Children’s Garden feels like a little home. I love entering the door in the morning and being greeted by smiling faces. This little school has an atmosphere where everyone is cherished for the individual they are. Children can follow their biggest interests and grow into their own person without external pressure directing them.

 

Bel Vecchi

EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATOR

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” – Nelson Mandela

Bel has been working in Early Childhood Education in Australia since 2020. Having nearly 10 years experience working in Argentine primary schools, Bel has been using her teaching skills to implement the programme we run at The Children’s Garden since October, 2020.

Bel’s favourite projects are those that involve contact with nature; her preferences being gardening with the children, messy outdoor play, taking care of our animals, composting, recycling and gross-motor outdoor play. Bel also enjoys working through art experiences with the children – the messier the better!

Working at The Children’s Garden excites Bel as she finds inspiration in watching children develop their autonomy and emotional empowerment through self-guided decision making. Bel is amazed by how capable the children are of taking care of their environment, while also respecting each other and their teachers. Bel believes that The Children’s Garden has a supportive team that provides a safe space for children to grow through the holistic approach embedded here.

JENNIFER BILSBOROUGH

COOK

 

 

 

 

MARGHERITA SFREDDO

COOK

 

 

 

 

 

ÓRAN O’CONNOR

BUSINESS MANAGER

Óran grew up in the world of early childhood, spending many of his weekends of youth at The Children’s Garden painting, gardening and lending a hand. Óran’s passion for providing remarkable early years education was founded here and continued in his years studying Psychology at the University of Western Australia.

Today, Óran fills the role of Business Manager at The Children’s Garden assisting in the development of an exceptional early years educational curriculum, focussing on the development of emotional, social, and cognitive skills that children depend on for the rest of their lives!

“What a child can do in cooperation today, they can do alone tomorrow.” – Lev Vygotsky

 

 

 

 

 

Jami Laxton

Joanne Lim

Josephine Aprilia

Cian O’Connor

Sarah Bairstow