Our Educators

Meet Our Fabulous & Dedicated Staff

Lia Donato

Director/ 4 Year Old Educator

My name is Lia and I am the Red Wattlebirds Teacher, Educational Leader and Nominated Supervisor at North Ringwood Preschool. I feel very privileged to be able to work in a community based kindergarten such as this one as I believe that this type of setting provides children with the greatest opportunity to be fully immersed in a program that reflects all aspects of both our National and Victorian Early Years Learning Frameworks. A strong sense of community is especially achieved when parents are directly involved in their child’s education and because NRPS is run by a volunteer Committee of Management, it is so rewarding for me to be involved in a kinder that has such a strong community spirit. Neuroscience and educational theorist support, with evidence, that a child’s brain experiences the most rapid growth from birth to 5. It is therefore crucial for us as educators to provide a curriculum that allows for children to be supported in a developmentally appropriate way. At NRPS you can expect your child to be exposed to a blend of three curriculum approaches. These include:

An Unstructured Play-Based approach, where we value the importance of play, as this is the way in which children experience most of their learning at this age. An Emergent Curriculum approach where we will be guided by your child’s interests to provide a learning experience that is child driven and therefore relevant and engaging to your child.

Intentional Teaching to make certain that all aspects of the Early Years Learning Framework are met. I continue to enjoy establishing strong community relationships with parents and staff at North Ringwood Pre-School and I especially look forward to embarking on a wonderful journey of growth and development with our future generations, your children.

Claire-Marie Thomas

3 Year Old Educator

This is my eighth year teaching at North Ringwood Preschool. This year I am teaching our wonderful threes with Christine. I am passionate about children having a wonderful childhood and the freedom to play. Teaching in the Early Childhood field has always been my first career choice and I’ve been a teacher for 34 years. I particularly enjoy getting to know the children, telling stories and fostering children’s creativity and imaginary play. During my career I’ve worked in a range of settings in play based Kindergartens, in city and rural areas, including running a mobile Pre-School Service, teaching primary in London and working as a live in nanny for Kinder age children in New York. I’ve taught in Steiner and Reggio Emilia Kindergartens and draw from both these philosophies in my teaching. The Kindergarten is such a positive environment to work in. The children live very much in the moment and are filled with optimism and interest as they go about exploring their ideas, making friends, and mastering skills. When I’m not teaching I enjoy looking after our local Bush Reserve, growing veggies and bike riding and snorkeling with my family.

Belinda Lyall

4 Year Old Educator

My name is Belinda, and I am the Eastern Spinebills 4 year old teacher at North Ringwood Preschool.

After a successful career in the fashion industry, overseas travel and starting a family I found a new interest in child development watching with fascination my own children learn and grow. This transpired into a new career path, completing a Diploma in Childcare whilst living abroad. Teaching in the Middle East brought exciting opportunities as well as challenges, through the expansive expat community, cultural diversity and different languages. Upon returning home to Australia I commenced my Bachelor of Early Childhood Education graduating in early 2018, enabling me to further pursue my passion for learning and child development through educating young children.

I was honoured to receive the 2018 Alfred Deakin Medal, named after Australia’s second Prime Minister. This medal is awarded to the student who has the highest undergraduate academic record in their faculty (Arts and Education), as well as their contribution to the community in which they studied, worked and lived during their time at Deakin.

I live in Ringwood East with my husband James and three children Felix, Angus and Tilly, as well as our crazy dog and my new brood of chickens! I love spending weekends out in the garden, going camping with my family, watching the footy or sitting behind my sewing machine.

Christine Lee

3 Year Old Co-Educator

Hello, my name is Christine. I am so pleased to be joining such a friendly team of educators and kinder community. I was born in Seoul, South Korea and moved to Sydney with my family when I was young. I graduated from University of New South Wales with a BA Degree in Japanese and Chinese Studies. I also gained my Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care in 2016. I previously worked as a bilingual worker for FKA Children’s Service to facilitate communication between the Service and the child/family by providing a shared language.

Working with children is my passion and I find great joy in being able to work so closely with them. I believe that the most important skills to have when working with little children are patience, responsibility and love. I enjoy interacting with children, socializing with them and motivating their young minds. Some of the most valuable rewards of working with children are to witness so many wonderful ‘firsts’, celebrate the little things every single day and see so many smiles.

I live in Ringwood North with my husband Alex and two children, Olivia and Jesse and a cat named Timmy. I love travelling, drawing and enjoy spending time with my family. I look forward to working with educators and families in this wonderful community.

Trina Settle

4 Year Old Co-Educator

My name is Trina and I am excited to be working with the Red Wattlebirds at North Ringwood Preschool this year.

I hold a Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care and am currently studying a Bachelor of Education (Early Years). I have been working in early childhood education since 2015 and also

work in an occasional care service when I am not at North Ringwood Preschool.

The preschool years are such an exciting time for children and no two days are the same! I adore children’s’ natural curiosity, energy and enthusiasm as they explore their world through play, and I feel very privileged to be part of their days at preschool. Outside of work I am just like all mums, busy trying to keep up with my two children! I love sewing, photography and being creative, as well as spending time out and about in our beautiful part of the world. I would like to thank the North Ringwood Preschool community for making me feel so welcome and I look forward to a wonderful year with all of you

Ellysa Cunningham -

4 Year Old Co-Educator

Hello my Name is Ellysa ! I am so excited to work together with you all at North Ringwood Preschool. I am currently studying my Diploma of Children Services. I have been working in the early childhood Education industry for 6 years.

Before my position here, I have worked in long daycare settings and as a nanny.

I believe every child is unique and will learn at their own pace and in the own way. I believe every child should have the opportunity to learn and reach their full potential in every aspect of life. My passion is to teach and watch children learn through play in their environment.

I went to school at Tintern Schools in Ringwood east, and currently live in Canterbury. I live with my partner and my two year old daughter Zaylee. I love camping and being outdoors and going to, and watching the footy.

Sue Mays

Lunchtime Care

I am Sue Mays and I am delighted to join the North Ringwood Preschool community in 2019.

My role is Red Wattlebirds Monday Lunch time Carer.

I am so excited to continue my 42 years educational journey in Community Kindergartens with the privilege of re-connecting with an amazing Early Years educator Lia Donato and seeing how a community kindergarten sets-up and embraces a Bush kindergarten component. My passion is embracing difference and facilitating each unique young learner to have the best learning and growing opportunities in the all -important early years- 0-8. Thank you for making me feel so welcome- I overheard my husband Melville tell our son Jeremy I walked out of my first visit to the Wattlebirds with a huge smile on my face!

Sharon Wolff


Sharon Wolff



Kylie Freene