Inside Our Rooms...
The kindergarten has 2 separate rooms, after a new room was built a few years ago to accommodate the new 15 hour program for the 4yo groups. The new room offers a beautifully planned environment to promote learning, exploration and the inclusion for all children and their families. It has an open kitchen for cooking, disabled access and toilet facilities and provides a shared area for the kinder community. There are two rooms operating 3yo and 4yo programs with long day sessions and short day sessions.
Outdoor Natural Environment...
In addition, there is a large well resourced outdoor environment to maximise children’s engagement with the outdoors that fosters open interactions, risk taking, exploration and discovery, spontaneity and connection to nature. The outdoor areas are shaded and include many natural elements such as plants, trees, sand, rocks to provide many sensory experiences and give children connections with the natural world as a regular part of their health and well being.
Toni Lepore - Director and 3YO Teacher, Possum Group
Toni is Director and Teacher of Benwerrin Kindergarten. For over twenty years her leadership, teaching and management has seen the kindergarten grow into a thriving community. She has worked in the ever changing landscape of early childhood for over thirty years and has enabled positive changes to occur.
She is passionate about facilitating long lasting, respectful partnerships between families, educators, children and communities and creating a sense of community and belonging that supports, reflects and promotes equitable and inclusive practices and learning between home and kindergarten.
Her vision is to provide the best education and care to every child, every day so they feel safe and healthy, to learn to have fun, and to grow up strong as individuals, and as member of their community and culture. The early years of a child's development are the most crucial. It is a time when educators and parent can enhance children's brain development and make an enormous impact on their future.
Her early childhood career won her State Winner in the Director category of the 2016 Australian Family Early Education and Care Awards; she was most honored and grateful for her nomination.
Shenel Dermici - 4YO Teacher, Kangaroo Group
Shenel is an experienced, professional, caring and effective Early Childhood teacher. She has been in the Early Childhood industry since 2006. She has experience working with all age groups from 0-6, having worked as an Early Childhood educator and kindergarten teacher. Her wide experience comes from working in numerous kindergartens as a Relief Teacher. In delivering a quality program with positive outcomes for children, Shenel highly stresses the importance in building honest, respectful, shared, collaborative and on going partnerships with families and her colleagues.
Shenel emphasises the importance of positive social emotional experiences in providing excellent grounding for challenges ahead and promoting of self-confidence. She acknowledges that children learn best through a play based environment derived from natural interests and everyday experiences. She is looking forward to a busy and productive year, getting to know the Benwerrin Kindergarten community and sharing her experience and passion with her groups.
Mel Rosso - 4YO Teacher, Wombat Group
Mel has a background in HR & Recreation and now with a Grad Dip in Teaching has worked as an EC educator for the past 5 years in both 3 and 4 year old programs. She enjoys, and places high importance on building and establishing quality relationships with the children, families and staff.
Mel recognises children as capable individuals constructing knowledge through interactions with others, and embraces collaboration with parents to create a shared learning journey. She believes that kinder is an opportunity where children develop their socio-emotional and civic participation skills, whilst also embedding learning dispositions such as questioning, problem solving, persistence, confidence to try new experiences, enthusiasm, creativity and especially a love of learning to name a few. Mel believes kindergarten is a place where children learn whilst have fun together in planned and spontaneous activities.
Meilian Lu - 4YO Wombat Group
Meilian has been working in Australia since 2016. She completed a Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care at TAFESA and started a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education at the University of South Australia. She is currently continuing her Bachelor of Early Childhood Education at Deakin University.
Meilian is very excited to be a co-educator at Benwerrin. She believes each child is a unique individual human being and every child grows at her/his own developmental level and each child comes from a family that have their own beliefs and values. She also believes that relationships and participation are central to learning. Building trust and respectful relationship with children is very important for their learning and development. She is looking forward to getting to know all the families and children in Benwerrin community and supporting the teaching team.
Lana Kondakova - 4YO Kangaroo Group and 3YO Possum Group
Lana has been in the education area for more than 20 years, working at kindergartens, schools and a university in Russia. Lana has successfully completed her certificate III as the Early Childhood educator.
She loves working in a welcoming environment of Benwerrin Kindergarten and is looking forward to helping Toni and Shenel in creating a positive learning environment for the children. She believes that a teacher plays a very important role in every child’s life – it’s essential for an educator to become a trusted adult and earn the child’s love and respect.
Jenny Banks - 4YO Wombat and Kangaroo Groups Lunchtime Reliever
Jenny is an additional co-educator to relieve the teachers and co-educators while they have their break.
She looks forward to an exciting and fun filled year at Benwerrin Kindergarten working as the co-educator to cover the lunch time shift and additional time helping with the children’s activities.
Jenny is a vital part of our long day program, and works well with staff and children alike.