Educational & Team Leader
I joined the team in 2014. I am a kindergarten teacher, an early intervention teacher, a parent, an animal lover, an exercise nut and a very keen gardener. At Kinder you will find me in the office in the Amethyst building or in the kinder rooms getting to know your children and supporting their educational programs. I look forward to working alongside you to meet our common goal – the wellbeing and development of your child.
I joined Thornbury Kindergarten in 2014. I have a Masters in Early Childhood Teaching and I am keen to support each child and work with their strengths to further their learning journey at kindergarten. I previously worked in the development industry as an urban designer and watching my own daughter learn and develop and volunteering at a local kindergarten helped me to discover my desire to support childrens’ learning journey. My weekends are often spent playing mini-golf or bike riding along the Yarra with my husband and daughter.
Being part of a child’s early childhood education is a great privilege. The privilege comes in partnering with families to inspire and build upon a child’s interests, curiosity and imagination. My original training and background is as a primary school teacher. I have also worked as a children’s and families educator in the aid and development sector and as facilitator of a playgroup for parents overcoming depression. My other favourite things include reading books, coffees with my friends, walking in the bush, making music and hanging around with my own children and partner.
I joined Thornbury Kindergarten in 2016. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Studies from Monash University. I have been working in early childhood for the last four years. Volunteering in my son’s prep grade motivated me to switch from accounting to the early childhood field. I am fluent in Singhalese, Tamil and English and I can read Arabic. In my free time, I love to cross stitch and sew, reading and my passion is art and craft.
I joined Thornbury Kindergarten in 2018. I graduated with a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education from the University of Melbourne in 2010. In 2017, I spent some time exploring nature-based programs throughout UK and Iceland with a team of passionate Educators from both Australia and around the world. This experience helped me to further develop my understanding of the value of outdoor learning, child-led inquiry and nature immersion.
When I'm not working, I love spending time in nature, visiting Healesville Sanctuary and reading.
I completed a Graduate Diploma in Early Childhood Education from RMIT in 2018 however, I have been part of Thornbury Kindergarten since 2013, first as a parent and committee member then an educator and now a teacher. I hold a strong belief that children are capable and unique individuals who learn best when engaged in play-based environments with numerous social interactions with peers and educators. I am committed to developing strong relationships with families to foster a strong and successful learning experience. When I am not working, I spend a lot of time driving my children to numerous sporting activities. My family enjoys camping, biking riding, bush walking and time at the beach.
I joined Thornbury Kinder in 2018. I have an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education from NMIT, Integration Aide Certificate, Certificate III in ECE and I am an Inclusion Support Educator. I have been working in this field for 8 years and I absolutely love working with children of all abilities. Children are full of awe, wisdom, creativity and honesty. With children there is always something new to be discovered, shared or learned and that is inspirational. I have two wonderful children of my own, one of whom is an Autistic young adult. I love to read, listen to music, drink good coffee and spend time with my family.
I have been at Thornbury Kindergarten since 2009. I was born in Vietnam and I speak fluent Cantonese, Mandarin, Vietnamese and English. In 2007, I studied an English course at NMIT and in 2008 I competed my Childcare Certificate 3. I have four children and two grandchildren. I love working with children and although it can be hard work, I find it interesting and challenging.
I have been at Thornbury Kindergarten since 2016. I have a Diploma in Early Childhood Studies. I was born in Greece and I came to Australia when I was 12 years old. I am a mother of two teenage children and prior to having my children, I worked in a childcare centre.
When I am not working I like to go for walks with my family. We have a cat called Lulu, two chickens and an angel fish. I don't have a favourite meal because l love all food!
I know this kindergarten very well - my son attended for three years! I completed Certificate 3 and have a Diploma in Early Childhood Education & Care and I completed my training in Thornbury Kindergarten. I can speak fluent Hindi, English and understand Punjabi. If I described myself in a few words, I would say: ”Loves Everyone, loves nature & loves cooking “.
I am a Thornbury local and love the community here. My childhood was spent in Thornbury and although I spent years interstate and in other suburbs, this has been home again since 2014. I have worked in education for 30 years, in the TAFE sector, where I managed libraries and student support centres. I take great pleasure in helping people and enjoy contributing to a community of like-minded people and that’s what I’ve found since joining Thornbury Kindergarten in 2020. Away from work I spend my time with my grownup “kids” and my beautiful grand-children – they are a source of such joy. I love movies, music festivals, local theatre, walking with friends and café outings.
MARIA GARCIA PALENCIA
Spanish Language Teacher
I came to live in Melbourne from Spain with my Australian husband and my son in 2011. In Spain I co-founded my own drama school where I taught drama to all ages. I graduated as a Primary School Teacher in Spain and here in Melbourne I completed a Diploma in Early Childhood Education. My passion is using play to stimulate curiosity and creativity in children which I believe is essential for future learning. I have been teaching Spanish in Kindergarten for the last 4 years and I joined Thornbury Kindergarten in 2020. It has been a delightful experience sharing my language and my culture with the children. I love spending time in nature, going to the theatre, traveling and of course, spending time with family and friends.