Staff and Management

Without doubt, our staff are the backbone of Neighborhood House. Educators want to work here because of our excellent reputation and our reputation is because of our Educators. Testament to this is the number of staff members eligible for long service leave, those who are recognised for years of dedicated and committed care and the low staff turnover. We look after our staff so they stick around long enough to educate and care for your children from whatever stage they start until they head off to primary school.

Our staff are qualified over and above minimum requirements. They have knowledge of both emotional and developmental needs of our children. Our Staff/Child ratios exceed Department of Education and Early Childhood Development Regulations. Through in service workshops we continuously extend their skills. You will surely get a sense of their nurturing, sensitive and caring natures when you visit us.

Staff Profiles

 Kate Hall. Director (Commenced May 1983) Kate has been the Director of Neighborhood House since May 1983. Kate is passionate about the Early Childhood Education Industry and constantly aims to raise the bench mark in delivering outstanding outcomes for young children and Educators under her guidance. In this time Kate has overseen the relocation of the Centre from Bridport St to Carter St and the expansion and renovations in 1995, 2002 and again in 2012.

Kate has two children, Sarah and Ben who are both young adults now.

Telstra Business Women’s Award Finalist 2005.

In 2012 Kate was awarded an "Outstanding Educator Award" and an "Advancing Practice Award" from Early Childhood & Education & Care Awards.

Qualifications – Diploma of Applied Science (Children’s Services). Diploma of Business. Occupational Health & Safety Supervisor.

 

Zhi-Rong Wu. Educator - Early Learners Wing (Commenced February 1995) Zhi-Rong (pronounced Gee-rong) has worked with all age ranges however in recent years has excelled in her commitment and dedication in the Early Learners Wing. Her attention to detail is one of her greatest strengths. Zhi-Rong enjoys sport and music activities in her spare time, and loves reading when she has time to relax. She speaks Mandarin and Cantonese.

Qualifications – Certificate III in Children Services.

 

Niti Shah - Reliever in all Rooms (Commenced July 2008) Niti and her husband moved from India where Niti had experience working as a teacher. Niti’s warm and friendly nature has earn’t her the respect and friendship of many children and families.  In 2015 Niti was appointed as the Team Leader in the Early Learners Wing prior to this role. Niti has worked extensively in both the Early Learners and Kindergarten Rooms and in July 2015 some new opportunities arised for some of our Educators and Niti was able to return to her role of working with all children across the rooms which is a great strength of Niti's.  Niti is also responsible for our most popular Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program at Neighborhood House.

Qualifications – Bachelor of Education (India). Bachelor of Arts (India)

  

Louisa Phillips. Relieving Teacher (Commenced January 2012)  Louisa joined our team as a new graduate with innovative and creative ideas. She displays a wonderful level of initiative and common sense and genuinely shares our belief that all children have a right to 'feel safe, secure and have a sense of belonging'. Louisa has also worked in all the rooms since starting at Neighborhood House.  Louisa's other interests include a love for animals and spending time with friends and family.

Qualifications – Bachelor of Early Childhood Education

 

Rena Peng Peng. Teacher in Kindergarten Room (3 year olds) (Commenced January 2012) Rena is a very popular and valuable member of our team who has the ability and flexibility to work with all age ranges and the various Educators within Neighborhood House.  In October 2015 Rena began maternity leave and in December she and her husband, Jimmy, welcomed their little son Jason to their family.  Rena returned to Neighborhood House in early September 2016 to take on her new role of leading the Kindergarten Room.  Rena works Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Qualifications – Bachelor of Education and Bachelor of English Education (China), Master of Teaching (Primary), Graduate Diploma of Early Childhood Education.

 

Erin Somerville - Team Leader in the Early Learners Wing (Commenced August 2013)  Erin joined our team after 12 months of mentoring support by Neighborhood House.  Erin shows a genuine and sincere passion towards Early Years Education and has gained extensive experience in the Early Learners Wing and Kindergarten Room as an Educator and Special Needs Support person.  In August 2016 Erin was promoted to the Team Leader of the Early Learners Wing.  Erin truly believes in play based learning and places great importance on assessment of learning to gain the best outcomes for all children.   Erin's interests include catching up with friends, going to the gym and cooking.

Qualifications - Certificate III in Childrens' Services and a Diploma in Childrens' Services and is working towards completing her Bachelor in Early Childhood Education.

 


 Simone Smith - Mentoring Educator and Educational Leader of Neighborhood House (Commenced January 2014)  Simone has joined our team with a wealth of experience of which her most recent was at Carey Baptist Grammar School where she was for 7 years.  Simone has embraced the introduction of the National Quality Framework of which she has an extensive knowledge of its principles, practices and learning outcomes.  We are delighted with the many new incentives that Simone can contribute to all our rooms in the Centre.  In July 2015 Simone was offered the additional role of Educational Leader which she was very happy to accept.   In Simone's spare time she likes to enjoy time with her family which includes her husband, Kevin, son Kai (16) and daughter Kalarni (9) as well as surfing, stand up paddle boarding and visiting art galleries.

Qualifications - Diploma of Early Childhood Services (Early Childhood Education and Care) and is working towards a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education

 

Margaret Becela - Educator - Early Learners Wing (Commenced June 2015) Margaret joined our team having gained extensive experience as a nanny for several families in Paris for 15 years.  Since coming back to Melbourne in early 2014 with her family, Margaret has completed her Certificate III in Childrens Services and has been working in a wide range of Centres as a casual reliever.  Margaret is a mature and enthusiastic Educator who is passionate about offering high quality care and education for young children. Margaret is the co-ordinator of our ever popular French Program and ensures that French is a part of the children's everyday life. In her spare time Margaret enjoys spending time with her husband and two children.

Qualifications - Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care

   

Fathima Zareen - Kindergarten Educator (Commenced November 2015) Fathima joins the Neighborhood House family with a wealth of experience and dedication.  Fathima has worked extensively in the Northern Territory and is mature, creative, enthusiastic and sensitive to children's individual needs.  We are delighted to have Fathima as part of our team and look forward to benefitting from her many fine talents.  Fathima enjoys practicing yoga in her spare time.

Qualifications - Diploma in Children's Services, currently working towards a Bachelor Degree in Early Childhood Education.

 

 

 Sarah Wise - Preschool Teacher (Commenced June 2016) Sarah is a Teacher within our funded Preschool Program and possesses a range of experience predominately gained in the private sector of Early Years Education.  Sarah is enthusiastic, mature and her five year plan is to be the best teacher possible!  We look forward to sharing our teaching philosophies and theories with Sarah while at the same time her contributing her knowledge and initiatives with us all at Neighborhood House.

Qualifications - Bachelor of Early Childhood Education

 

 

 

 Jong Jong Say - Preschool Teacher in charge of the Preschool Room (Commenced July 2016) Jong joined our team as a new graduate wanting to gain valuable practical experience within the various classrooms.  Jong is mature and passionate about Early Years Education and openly praises the Australian play based curriculum.  Jong forms strong relationships with all the children and is extremely child focused. Jong co-ordinates our Seedlings Sustainability Program and ensures that this provides a wide range of experience for all the children. We are delighted to have Jong as a part of the Neighborhood House family.

Qualifications - Masters of Teaching (Early Years)

 

 

 Camilla Clunas - Co Educator in the Early Learners Wing (Commenced June 2016) Camilla joined Neighborhood House as a casual employee and within 3 months earnt her position as a permanent and valuable member of our professional team.  Camilla has had extensive experience in Early Years Education as well as having been a ski instructor overseas she is multilingual and speaks fluent Norwegian, German and Swedish as well as English.  In addition to her role within the Early Learners Wing, Camilla is also responsible for the Cultural Diversity and Awareness Program which is run weekly in each room at Neighborhood House.  In her spare time Camilla enjoys languages, cross-country skiing, cycling, hiking, camping and adventure travel.

Qualifications - Diploma of Children's Services

 

 Claudia Losada - Part-time relieving Educator (Commenced August 2016) Claudia began her journey at Neighborhood House as a student on placement while completing her Diploma during which time she displayed a huge degree of professionalism and maturity. On completion of her studies Claudia joined our team on a part-time basis (currently Monday's and Tuesday's) to relieve in all rooms. Claudia has first hand experience with Preschool children as she has a young son Santi who is 5 years old.

Qualifications - Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care

 

 

Samantha Williams - Teacher in Charge of the 3 year old Kindergarten Room (Commenced April 2017) Sam joined our team just after she relocated to Melbourne from New Zealand where she gained a wealth of experience in Early Years Education and Training. Sam shares our professional goal of raising the benchmark in Early Years Education and has studied developmental psychology to enhance her skills and experience so she can have a genuine input into the planning and programming for each and every child. Sam displays maturity, enthusiasm, extensive knowledge and a desire to enrich children's learning.

Qualifications - Bachelor of Arts, Graduate Diploma of Teaching, Honours of Social Science, Certificate IV in Training and Assessment

 

 

Wilbert Romulo - Centre Chef (Commenced June 2017) Wilbert relocated to Melbourne from New Zealand just prior to commencing at Neighborhood House where he had gained 17 years' experience as a chef across a range of different sectors including fligth catering, hospital catering and Pre-school catering.  Wilbert's previous role included catering for 140 children each day including those with a range of allergies, food preferences and religious dietary requirements.  Wilbert has an impeccable reputation that includes his great work ethic, strong attention to detail and superb ability to prepare nutritious and popular meals for children.

Qualifications - Food Services Course, Module 1, Module 2 and Module 3