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 a part-time assistant). 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)

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 and Year One ClassTeacher

 My personal journey with Currambena began when I was a child as I attended Currambena for preschool and all of my primary schooling. I always loved my time at Currambena and felt the freedom, choices and sense of responsibility it gave me were fundamental to who I became. When I had children myself, it was not a difficult decision to return to Currambena to seek the same child centred and respectful education that I received. Now I have the very great privilege of being a teacher here. 

I believe that the role of teaching should be a holistic one that considers the individual circumstances of a child. It is important to know the strengths and challenges of children so that they can be tailored for. In this way, I believe that teaching is not simply the job of pedagogy but rather the job of listening, sharing and building relationships. I also believe that education should consider, not only the needs of the individual child, but also the advancement of social notions like inclusivity, tolerance and justice. Like other skills, children can learn how to become active and productive members of their school community and in turn can transfer these skills to their broader communities.

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.

Leesa Jerrick, Years Three and Four Class Teacher

 My journey with Currambena started at the beginning of 2019. Why Currambena? I was drawn to the school community because it values everyone’s voice and uniqueness. I am very lucky to be teaching in a school that has such a positive and collaborative culture.

I completed a Bachelor of Education (Primary) at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga in 2010. I have taught in and around the South Coast, Riverina and Bland Shire area and gained new knowledge, skills and friendships along the way. I believe teaching is about providing a safe, caring and positive environment where children can be themselves and progress on their learning journey at their own pace. My role as a teacher is to support the children to gain life skills for them to be able to make their own decisions and express their opinions about the world around them.

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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