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We dream impossible things and find a practical way to do it!  

“There is no use trying” said Alice, “one can’t believe impossible things”.
“I dare say you haven’t had much practice” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why sometimes I”ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
- Lewis Carroll

Administrative Staff

Administrative Staff

Currambena has one full time coordinator (who is assisted by two part time assistants). The coordinator, together with the Council and teachers, are responsible for the day-to-day running of the school. There is no Principal.

Julianna McCarthy, School Coordinator

“With very heavy hearts we left Uganda in 1992, one of the important reasons being to find a better education. Rote learning was something we definitely did not want! But what did we want?

For twelve months we experimented with various schools; then by sheer chance we were introduced to Currambena. This was something definitely different and I was sceptical! Did they really do what they said? My five-year old son started with Wendy in May 1993. Shai (11 years old) and Victoria (4 years old) began in February 1994, at which stage we were one of the converted.

In November 2001 I signed a contract to job share the coordinating role and Victoria finished at Currambena to go off to High school. So I am still here and truly believe it to be a wonderful place that constantly challenges your ideas and where you are going with your life. Currambena has definitely given our family unforgettable life skills.”

Preschool staff

Katrina Ackermann, Preschool Director

Late one Friday night I was looking at how early childhood positions were being advertised on the web when I stumbled across a position for the Preschool Director at Currambena.  I wasn’t looking for a new job though I was very intrigued by the ad.  I went on the schools website and got goose bumps from what I saw and read. I drove to the school that weekend to take a look, drove home, updated my CV and applied for my “dream job” which I was so very fortunate to have obtained.

Before commencing at Currambena I worked for 18 years as an Early Childhood Teaching Director in children’s services with the Hills Shire council. I have also been a trainer in certificate III and Diploma of Early childhood studies. I live in the inner west with my partner and two young sons.

I hold the belief that play is an essential tool for learning. Through respecting children’s desire to learn through play, by interacting and engaging in play with them, listening to what they want to learn about and providing opportunities to extend upon their interests I believe children will develop a love of learning that will be life long.  I believe curricula for children should be based on the principles of respect, responsibility and  community. They should provide opportunities for exploration and discovery in a supportive and enriching environment based on the interests of the children through a self-guided curriculum.

I believe children are interdependent and as such it is vitally important to work in partnership with children, their families and the wider community to foster and promote the development of the whole child. As an Educator I aim to provide scaffolding and support to children to further extend their interests and learning in all developmental areas.

“Education is not a race to be won. It is a journey where every step, every day counts and the end point never arrives. Education is not measured by numbers on a page or a graph.” (Kathy Walker 2008)

Tui Michell, Preschool Assistant

I first came in contact with Currambena over ten years ago when I moved here from New Zealand and attended the International Democratic Education Conference hosted by the school. I immediately fell in love with the place and its community. Even now walking through the school gate, it feels like coming home. Although this is my first year at Currambena, I have worked in early childhood education for five years. I attended a similar philosophical school in New Zealand called Tamariki, and so I am excited to now have the opportunity to work with the teachers, children and families within the school community.

 I believe that the early years of childhood are the most important, and affect the way each child sees themselves and the world around them. I see children as curious, capable theorists who are forming their own observations, experiments, predictions and beliefs. I see it as crucial that children be involved in the decision-making of the program, rules, forming the foundation for a curriculum based on their ideas and interests. 

 Michael Richardson, Preschool Assistant

After completing High School, Michael started working in the CASP (Currambena After School-care Program) and it was as though he had never left, after being a student at Currambena from preschool to year six. Michael worked in the CASP for a year, and when the preschool assistant job in the Preschool became available, he successfully applied for the position in February 2011. Michael is now a valued and permanent member of the Preschool Team.

Teaching staff

Chris Rochester, Arts and Crafts Teacher

“I first came to Currambena in 2002 as a relief art teacher and was so inspired by the place I came back to fill the post in the last term of 2003. The high level of enthusiasm, commitment and creativity from children, parents and staff combine to make Currambena feel more like a community than an institution.”

Chris completed a Bachelor of Fine Art (painting), a Diploma of Fine Art (painting) at the National Art School in 2000. Since then he has been a practising artist with numerous exhibitions. Prior to this he served two years of a Bachelor of Education (Primary) at the Australian Catholic University and is now eager to never complete his degree.

Jessica Kimber, Kindergarten Teacher

 

 

Marius Murdoch-Cox, Years One and Two Class Teacher

I studied analytic philosophy in Melbourne where I was raised. Afterwards I spent a year growing tomatoes and playing table tennis, but as none of these pastimes proved particularly lucrative, I started tutoring students at my old high school. I was hooked; I began reading around pedagogy, studied a Diploma of Education and then signed up to teach in a remote community in Far North Queensland. It was clear to me there that the system was not well designed for children, or amenable to their natural playfulness, curiosity and creativity. This is why it’s such a privilege to work at Currambena; the children are respected, and empowered to drive their own learning, instead of having it rammed down their throat.  The whole individual is attended to in this very special place, and the results speak for themselves- joyful kids that care about each other and their learning. 

 Sarah Macgillicuddy, Years Two and Three Class Teacher

In 2007, whilst studying for my teaching degree at Macquarie University I began working at Currambena in CASP. Here I encountered an ethos that was vastly different to that with which I was familiar; an ethos that was based on collaboration involving teachers, children and parents. After graduating, I stayed on at Currambena as a teacher’s assistant. Then after 2 years, I was offered a full-time teaching position. This unique learning environment is challenging at times, but deeply rewarding.

My philosophy: I believe the role of an educator is to provide children with a safe and nurturing environment in which they are able to develop independence and learn all facets of themselves. For a child to have a sense of belonging within a school community, it is important that their educators communicate a behavioural model fostering trust, respect and appreciation for each other’s differences. I strive to encourage each child to realise the best in themselves and provide challenging opportunities through which they may achieve academic, social, physical and emotional growth.

My aim is to share knowledge and engage with a child’s curiosity in the world. I endeavor to do this with enthusiasm, humour and understanding for the individual experiences of each child. A teacher ideally gives more than just basic knowledge of a particular subject. There needs to be a sense of excitement and creativity, and a commitment to developing relationships, so that they may become active agents of their own learning. I believe it imperative that each child is given the encouragement, freedom and courage to discuss and make choices, thereby becoming a creative, independent thinker and contributor.

 Louise Doran, Years Four and Five Class Teacher

I am from the UK and have lived in Australia for 2 and a half years now. I completed a degree in Field Biology and Habitat Management and a few years later, did a PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate of Education). My first teaching position was on the Isle of Dogs in an inner city school in East London. The school strongly believed in emotional intelligence and conflict resolution and gave me a good grounding on the subject. After two years I moved to the International School of Turin in Italy. We used the International Baccalaureate curriculum which tries to encompass all areas of learning into one topic. The topics were driven by the children’s ideas and questions. The children were encouraged to show what they had learnt in creative and artistic ways. I loved it there but after two years I was ready for something new and that’s when I moved to Australia.

When I saw the job at Currambena advertised and looked at the website, I knew that it was the perfect school for me!

I view children as individuals with their needs being met and their areas of interest and expertise being valued. The class is a team that should be flexible, supportive and encouraging. The classroom is a safe, calm and stimulating place which helps children to develop their sense of who they are, their values and enables them to resolve conflicts and have empathy for others. This experience gives them the tools to understand and manage their feelings, to become well-rounded, confident and considerate members of the community. Relationships are at the core of life so time spent making connections and strengthening trust is very important. Personal projects enable the children to organise their time, choose the direction of their enquiry and take responsibility over their learning.

 Wendy Pettit, Years Five and Six Class Teacher

“I have had the privilege of a very long and varied association with Currambena, as student teacher, teacher, parent, Coordinator and Council member, among other roles over many years. As the school community evolves I delight both in the changes that accommodate different needs and in the essential philosophy, which remains constant. Children at Currambena know they are loved and that makes it a very happy place.”

Wendy holds a BA (Hons Ed), Dip Ed and Diploma in Children’s Literature from University days. More recently she has studied Conflict Resolution and NLP, which she finds very useful adjuncts to her teacher training. She has recently completed a Graduate Diploma of Counselling.

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