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Nimbin Preschool

 As we listen closely we discover so many ways to connect.

Playful, collaborative, multi-layered, creative, respectful, critical and lasting.

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Our Philosophy is a Living Document

Nimbin Preschool is a place for listening


listening to people

listening to spaces

listening to places

listening to creatures


Nimbin Preschool - a place for listening


Katie Pennant

Educational Director

"Children inspire me every single day. They have the capacity to make the every day magical. They have a foot in the mystical world while still having a grasp on reality. What adult can do that?"

Katie has been part of Nimbin Preschool since 2017 and has worked in early childhood for 25 years. Preschool is a place of wonder and inspiration under Katie's leadership.

Her formal qualifications include a Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood), Diploma of Children's Studies, Certificate III - Dog Training and Behavior, Diploma of Vocational Training and Assessment and Level 3 Forest School Leader. Katie has also completed a range of professional development in the Reggio Emilia Philosophy, nature engagement, educational support dogs and Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Katie brings to preschool a firm belief in the right of all children to access a democratic, high quality early childhood education.

Gordon Ellard


"Each child has so many different ideas, imagination, cultural identities and beliefs. Every day is never the same. Being part of the wonder and magic of early childhood inspired me to work with children."

It was through raising his young son and an observation that there are too few male educators working in early childhood, that Gordon became inspired to become an educator himself. Gordon has worked in early childhood for 11 years and has been a part of the preschool teaching team for 8 years.

Gordon has completed Certificate III in Children's services, followed by the Diploma in Children's Services and brings both knowledge and experience to the preschool team.

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Sara Hudd


"I always wanted to work at preschool. Since I was 5! I enjoy providing a loving, positive, safe and secure environment for our young people to explore their world and their relationships."

Sara is passionate about connecting with community through the children and families of Nimbin Preschool. She began her career in early childhood education 30 years ago and has been part of Nimbin Preschool for 18 years- First as a parent and then as a staff member for 12 years. Sara has completed the Diploma of Early Childhood Education.

Sara brings her passion for nature play, animal care and gardening to her role at Nimbin Preschool. She aims to impart a love and care for nature on all of the children she works with.

May Frey


"Children are full of energy, curiosity and inspiration. Working with them everyday is magical."

May believes that it is only when children feel safe, secure and supported that they can fully learn and explore. She is very excited to be part of the Nimbin Preschool family, providing a loving and safe environment for the children to discover the world about them.

May has worked in Early Childhood Education since 2006 starting while her own four children were young. She has completed a range of professional development courses in Early Childhood Educational and loves to share her appreciate of art, music, cooking and gardening with all those at preschool.


Maddie Payne


"Ever since I was young, kids have put a smile on my face."

That's how Maddie knew she would absolutely adore spending time surrounded by preschoolers lovely company.

Maddie jumped straight into a traineeship for Certificate 3 in Early Childcare from her completion of year 12. She hopes to extend her knowledge on all of the amazing, complex intricacies that children embody.

"I am so excited to learn more from these awesome kids and other educators that work alongside me."

Juliet Norton

Educator and Trainee

"I learn so much from children, they have so much wonder and joy in the world around them." 

Juliet has grown up in a big, loud, bubbly family of 9 and spent most of her childhood outside, down at the creek, cooking, painting, playing in the mud and going swimming. She is passionate about sharing her love of nature, appreciating the little everyday  things and building a sense of community and family. 

Juliet has completed her Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care. She has worked at a number of preschools and childcare centres around Lismore/Nimbin area and is currently in the process of starting her diploma with Nimbin Preschool.



Educational Support

Gidget is a standard poodle cross golden retriever who has been bred for companion work with children.  She traveled to Melbourne when she was just ten months old to train at the Lead the Way therapy dog school with her cousin Jimbi.  This week long course taught her the basics of working with people with diverse needs and abilities.  After this intensive training she worked with Sarah Rutley in Ballina completing some basic and more advanced behaviour training.  Katie and Gidget worked together on the Certificate 3 in Dog training and Behaviour through NDS, this course was both the theory and practical skills in training.

Gidget loves children and makes her own decision each day whether she will attend school.  Her human mum asks “Do you want to see the kids?” and this is usually met with a bounce and keen eyes (but sometimes it’s a yawn and that means a bed day).  Putting Gidget in charge means that we can ensure she is experiencing joy in her work and that is the goal – joyful interactions between her and the kids.

In her spare time Gidget loves to run at the park, swim at the beach and lie in the sun and chew big bones.

Oh, and we have a theme song for her

Giddy giddy boo we love you

High ho and everywhere you go

Giddy giddy boo boo we love you

Sung to the tune of chitty chitty bang bang



Educational Support

Our chooks are bantams and offer the children the opportunity to connect with feathered creatures.  We watch them, care for them and collect delicious eggs (sometimes).  The children also clean out their pen and use all that chooky goodness in our organic veggie garden.
We only have happy and content animals at our school because we want children to care and respect creatures of all descriptions.

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Guinea Pigs

Educational Support

Guinea pigs are glorious animals – small, furry and sometimes willing to share a cuddle.  Again, the children are responsible for their care.  We know they just love fresh grass so we move their hutch around the playground and the veggie patch – it also helps mow our lawn!!

All our small animals have the opportunity to breed so the magical experience of babies happens quite regularly at preschool.  There are also occasions where we are searching for foster homes for the animals over the holidays and many families love the chance to provide these loving sleep overs for our critters.

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As we listen closely we discover so many ways to connect. Ways that are playful, collaborative, multi-layered, creative, respectful, critical and lasting. Our connections take us to places that are familiar, warming and safe, as well as to places we have never been before; which are new and can be challenging.
We explore our abilities to research what we want to know, enriching our shared knowledge and constructing understandings.
We reflect on what has gone before and what may happen next - new ideas and new possibilities.
Our path of critical thinking enables us to live and function within the changing world with an empowerment of morality and ethics based upon a strong sense of generosity, empathy and social justice.
We responsibly communicate our thoughts through many pathways to ensure that we maintain freedom to believe in ourselves and each other with respect, strength and altruism.
We act with the knowledge that everything has rights and we have responsibility.

Our Rules

Written by children



"Do you know Katie that this is probably the best school ... it's number one ... it's got the best dog ... and great teachers and the kids are best too."  Mikarl age 6 (past student)

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