Staff

Dedicated Montessori teachers

The dedicated and specially trained staff is a vital part of the school, providing a caring environment where compassion, understanding and respect for each individual child is paramount.

The role of the Montessori teacher is that of a director and facilitator of development. She recognises that children have an inner motivation to teach themselves and through careful observation she knows the developmental needs of each child. Her task is then to link the child to the various activities in the specially prepared environment, observing their responses and supporting them whenever needed. All the teachers participate in regular professional development, attending workshops, seminars and courses

Mary Batterham

Mary is an Early Childhood Educator of 25 years. Driven by her passion of Montessori Pedagogy, Mary is well placed as an advocate of childrens’ rights and wellbeing. Ms Batterham’s vast experience in teaching and governance of Montessori Schools has taken her from Australia to Indonesia and China. After five years as Deputy Principal of Discovery Montessori School in Hong Kong, Mary has returned home to join our team at Karuna Montessori Preschool as Principal. Mary’s qualifications include a Montessori Diploma (3-6y) from the Associate Montessori International (AMI), a Bachelor of Education (Birth to 5yrs), a Master of Education (Special Ed), and a Bachelor of Nursing. Mary has two grown children both graduates of Forestville Montessori School.

Debbie Blunden

Debbie Blunden

Joined Karuna in 2003 as an assistant and now holds a Childcare Certificate III. Debbie has an artistic flare that helps us to provide a beautiful and inviting environment for the children to work in. Debbie enjoys providing new craft activities as well as a variety of cooking experiences. Debbie is a gentle and caring staff member who is invaluable to the smooth running of the classroom. Debbie has 2 sons.

 

Raquel Smith

Raquel has been working with children for 20 years, and is certified as an early childhood educator. She has extensive experience in conventional childcare and has also run family day care, whilst raising her children. Raquel’s exposure to Montessori education began as a parent, with two of her four children having attended Karuna Montessori Pre-school. This experience sparked her interest in Montessori and has resulted in her seeking to learn more about the Montessori education methodology, using Montessori techniques in her own home to raise her own children.

Cathy McAllan

Cathy McAllan

With a BA Dip Ed and Master of Special Education, runs our Under 3’s Program. Cathy has extensive experience teaching preschool programs, specializing in language delay and behaviour disorder at Macquarie Special Education Centre where she also taught in the literacy program for primary and secondary students with learning difficulties. Cathy is an invaluable member of staff at Karuna where she was a casual teacher for 2 years before she took over our Under 3’s program which now runs 3 days a week with over 20 families. Cathy has a bright and cheerful disposition and has 4 children.

 

Kirsten Jackson

Kirsten Jackson

Kirstin Jackson, with a Dip Tchg (NZ), Adv Dip Creative Arts has been our music teacher for the past five years. Kirsten plays flute, sax, clarinet, recorder and piano, and she has been teaching music since 1991. She trained as a mainstream primary school teacher but soon realised that her passion had always been teaching music and working with children one on one or in small groups. Our parents enjoy their children’s knowledge and love of music during their regular visits, and the end of year concert. Kirsten has two children who attended Karuna from 2007 until 2011 and now attend Forestville Montessori School.

Anna Lehmann

Anna Lehmann

Anna joined Karuna in October 2013 as Office and Enrolment Administrator. Anna has strong organisational experience and comes from an event management background. She spent 10 years working at the Sydney Organising Committee for Olympic Games and was Manager of Ticketing for Beach Volleyball at Olympic Games time. Anna is the first point of contact for parents, new enquiries and the general community. She is continually expanding her knowledge of Montessori education through research, information evenings and reading. Anna is the mother of two children.