Our Staff

Our experienced and enthusiastic teachers and assistants are highly qualified in early childhood education. Our university-trained teachers plan and deliver programs which reflect their specialist knowledge of child development. Most importantly all our staff love their work and the children. Some are past parents from our kindergarten community.

All staff have current First Aid, CPR and Epipen/Anaphylaxis training. Our kindergarten will shortly have full Asthma Friendly accreditation. In addition, staff are experienced in liaising with outside agencies where a child has additional needs.

Our staff are approachable and available to talk to parents about any problems or concerns that may arise.

Let us Introduce Ourselves

Blue Group Team

Catherine Waters – Teacher
(Nominated Supervisor & Educational Leader of JJ McMahon Kindergarten)

I have a Diploma of Teaching and a Bachelor of Education in Early Childhood Education and have been delighted to call JJ McMahon home for the past decade.  Each of our 3 children attended this kindergarten and I served on the committee, so JJ McMahon is a very special place for me.
I see my most important role as that of Blue group’s teacher.  For me, it is the interactions I foster; both with the children and between the children which is of utmost importance.  It is my privilege each year to watch your children grow from quiet little people into confident, empathic children with a disposition for learning.  As Educational Leader and Responsible person of the centre it is my role to lead a team of dedicated educators whose goal is to make our kindergarten the best it can be, a goal that has been recognised in our 7/7 exceeding rating in the ACECQA assessment process.

Fiona Robertson- Educator

My name is Fiona Robertson and I am Co Educator in both 3 year old Green and 4 year old Blue groups. JJ McMahon is an extremely unique and special place for children to commence their learning journey. Our philosophy is implemented each and every day in an inspiring and nurturing environment. Both my teenage children attended JJ McMahon. I was fortunate to join the staff in 2009 and remained until 2013 when we were transferred to Brisbane. Returning to Melbourne, I am delighted to be re-joining the staff at JJ McMahon and look forward to meeting and getting to know all the children and families.

Libby Crowe – Educator

I have a Certificate III in Children’s Services and also ran my own business of Family Day Care for 22 years.  Prior to this I was an Office Manager for an Accountant.  I live locally and have 2 children and 3 grandchildren.  I enjoy working with children and encouraging them to discover the world through their eyes.  My interests are visiting my grandchildren, walking my dogs, reading, movies and going out for dinner.

Maria Garcia – Educator & Spanish Coordinator

Maria came to live in Melbourne from Spain with her Australian husband and son in 2011. In Spain she co-founded her own drama school where she taught drama to all ages. Maria has completed her Diploma in Early Childhood Education here in Melbourne where she has worked in Childcare for the past five years. Her passion is using play to stimulate curiosity and creativity in children which she believes is essential for future learning.  Maria enjoys using role play, reading and playing with books, singing songs and joining in messy sensory experiences with the children.  She also loves the relationships she builds with the children, catering for each child’s individual needs and helping them to develop their confidence and sense of development.


Red Group Team

Emily Millward – Teacher

Emily has a Bachelor of Early Childhood and Primary Education and is in her 14th year of teaching.  Emily has worked both in Australia and the UK . She is very passionate about education in the Early Years.  Emily loves the relationships that she builds with the children, and is always grateful for the learning she gains from them each year.

 

Vanessa Chessum-Buxton – Educator

I am very excited to be the Educator of Red group at JJ McMahon. I am married, have three teenage children and many pets.  I am Diploma qualified in Children’s Services, but I also have an Advanced Certificate in Fina Arts and Design as well as a Bachelor of Photography.  I like to use my art background in the kinder room so we can make exciting art projects and creations.  I also have a passion for gardening, cooking and sustainability and love sharing my knowledge with the children.

Qun Gai – Educator

I am currently studying my Bachelor of Education at Deakin University and am in my third year. I did a university placement at JJ McMahon last year and was offered a job working at the kindergarten at this time. I am excited about becoming a kindergarten teacher and am enjoying the experience I am gaining through my employment here. I have many hobbies including playing the piano.

Libby Crowe – Educator

I have a Certificate III in Children’s Services and also ran my own business of Family Day Care for 22 years.  Prior to this I was an Office Manager for an Accountant.  I live locally and have 2 children and 3 grandchildren.  I enjoy working with children and encouraging them to discover the world through their eyes.  My interests are visiting my grandchildren, walking my dogs, reading, movies and going out for dinner.

Maria Garcia – Educator & Spanish Coordinator

Maria came to live in Melbourne from Spain with her Australian husband and son in 2011. In Spain she co-founded her own drama school where she taught drama to all ages. Maria has completed her Diploma in Early Childhood Education here in Melbourne where she has worked in Childcare for the past five years. Her passion is using play to stimulate curiosity and creativity in children which she believes is essential for future learning.  Maria enjoys using role play, reading and playing with books, singing songs and joining in messy sensory experiences with the children.  She also loves the relationships she builds with the children, catering for each child’s individual needs and helping them to develop their confidence and sense of development.


Three year (yellow & green) Team
Kylie Gazzola – Teacher

My teaching experience comes from working in a range of early childhood settings, and I am very happy to be the teacher of both 3 year old groups. I have a strong belief in parents and educators working together to ensure a safe and supportive kindergarten environment, and I consider myself fortunate to be trusted with children’s education in the early years. I enjoy getting to know each child and their family, and I learn as much from them each day as they learn from me. I love to explore, question, play and laugh alongside the children and find it most rewarding to see their curiosity, independence and love for learning grow.

Sharon Cohen – Educator

My name is Sharon and I work as an Educator with Green, Blue & Red groups.  I completed my Associate Diploma of Social Science (Child Care) over 20 years ago and my Certificate III in Children’s Services 6 years ago.

Before having my own children I worked in Residential Care with children under 8 years of age.  I then returned to the workforce when my youngest began school and have been at JJ’s for 8 years.  Watching the children grow and develop I liken to a flower blooming and I feel to contribute to this is a great privilege.