Winston Hills Preschool have dedicated staff, who take pride in their job and acknowledge the vital importance of Preschool in a child’s development.

Jo Garner

Director & 4-Year-Old Teacher  (Red Group)

Jo holds a Graduate Diploma in Education (Early childhood) from RMIT and a Bachelor of Education (Melbourne University).

Jo worked as a relief teacher with two groups in 2017 and then joined Winston Hills permanently in 2018 as Educational Leader, Nominated Supervisor and the teacher of Red Group.   She is a strong advocate for the Early Childhood profession, her colleagues and the children she teaches.

Jo has been teaching at a Kindergarten in Greensborough since graduating in 2014 and previously taught as a secondary teacher in Macleod. Outdoor play, the ‘rights of the child’, and strong relationships and the importance of social and emotional skills are the keystones of her teaching.

Children constantly surprise, amaze and inspire her in her practice.

Nicola Cairns-Cowan

4-Year-Old Teacher  (Yellow Group)

Nic graduated with a Bachelor of Education and Diploma of Teaching in Early Childhood in 1997 and has spent her career immersed in early childhood in a variety of roles across New Zealand, England and now Australia.

She is fascinated in the development of children and believes that respectful and responsive relationships provide an important foundation on which children can grow, explore and learn.

Nic is passionate about research on brain development and the social and emotional development of children, so supporting children to feel safe and secure in their surroundings is a priority. Nic also enjoys connecting children with nature and the responsibilities of caring for our world.

“By creating a warm and inviting environment where children can be free to explore and experiment with ideas, we help children to develop lifelong skills of curiosity, confidence, persistence and resilience.” – Nic

In 2011 Nic moved from New Zealand to Melbourne and lives locally with her husband and two daughters.

Orla Byrne

4-Year-Old Teacher  (Purple Group)

Orla is a graduate in Education – Early Childhood from RMIT. Orla joined Winston Hills Preschool in 2015 to support the Purple Group. Orla has lived in the Banyule area for years, having grown up in Ireland as part of a large family. Orla is passionate about teaching children lifelong social and emotional skills and helping children to develop strong self esteem. Orla has a lifelong love of reading and loves sharing stories, songs and chats with her young students.

Orla believes that the preschool year is a very special time for children to enjoy being themselves and getting to know more about the world around them. Orla believes in laughter and celebrating each child, just as they are. Orla fosters each child’s learning dispositions and works hard to instill a lifelong love of learning within the children of Purple group.

Kylie Baker

3-Year-Old Teacher  (Blue Group & Green Group)

Kylie graduated from University of Melbourne (Bachelor Early Childhood Studies) in 2002. Kylie is a passionate teacher with over 15 years experience in early childhood education, who has held a variety of teaching roles in Australia, Japan and UK, including as an Early Childhood Mentor for educators in Victoria.

Anita Piu

3-Year-Old Educator (Blue Group & Green Group)

Anita has worked at Winston Hills since 2008 and greatly enjoys working with children, sharing and listening to their experiences. Anita then started a family and had two boys (both of which attended Winston Hills Preschool) and now has one teenager and one adult. Anita was home for twelve years with her boys, and then went back into the workforce as an Integration Aide. A year later Anita also became an Educator and joined Winston Hills Preschool.

Anita is the Educator for the Blue and Green group at Winston Hills. She has completed her Certificate III in Working with Children with Special Needs, Certificate III in Early Learning and Certificate lV in Support Education.

Anita enjoys walking, playing tennis, baking, arts and crafts.

Melissa Loche

4-Year-Old Educator (Yellow Group)

Melissa joined the Winston Hills team in 2019.  She has a Diploma in Early Childhood and has been working in the industry for the past three years.

She brings to our preschool a passion for working with children, watching them grow and develop into the little people that they are. She enjoys observing the friendship groups that form through the year and loves spending time with the children and hearing about their lives and the people in them.

Carmal Searl-Trumper

4-Year-Old Educator (Purple Group)

Working in various positions in the Early Childhood sector over 20 years, Carmal brings with her a background in inclusion and cultural diversity and a passion for sustainability, environment and natural materials.

Carmal is excited to be part of the Winston Hills team, working with Orla to provide a caring educational program.

Carmal is born and bred in Diamond Valley, is married and has two boys attending primary school.

Leanne Hinchliffe

4-Year-Old Educator (Red Group)

Leanne is married with 2 adult children and has lived in the Diamond Valley area for over 20 years. After many years as a stay at home mum, in 2015 she decided that now her children were older, it was time for her to return to study. Leanne completed her Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care and now she is continuing her studies to gain her Diploma.

Leanne felt extremely privileged in 2015 to be offered a position as an Educator at Winston Hills. She enjoys watching the children continually learn and grow through play,  during their time at Preschool and in such a beautiful environment.