About Us

Child Care for Lake Macquarie and Newcastle

We’re devoted to providing a better tomorrow for all children.

Sustainable Play Preschool is a new child care centre, opened this May 2021 in Barnsley, NSW.

We are proud to provide high-quality child care for preschool aged children, 3-6 years, in the Lake Macquarie and Newcastle area. We are a small day care centre with sustainability at the heart of our mission, teaching children environmentally friendly and regenerative routines through our play-based, child-directed curriculum. We encourage nature play and connection with the natural world through garden lessons with our Garden Educator as well as connection with our food through cooking classes with our Preschool Cook. We invite children to spend time outdoors both in the large outdoor nature areas at our centre and through our bush kindy program. Meals and snacks are included in our daily fees and follow a nutritious, colourful, dietitian approved plant-based menu.

We’re passionate about early childhood education and sustainability, and want to make a difference in the world. We want to encourage children that they can too. 

Our location

40 Nelson Street, Barnsley NSW 2278

We are located just north of Lake Macquarie and just west of Newcastle in Barnsley, NSW. Visit us by scheduling a preschool tour on our easy online booking page.

About us

Sustainable Ideology

Sustainable ideology lives at the heart of our service. We utilise rainwater tanks and rooftop solar panels, maintain a vegetable garden, purchase Australian made and recycled products, and support local businesses and farmers where possible.

Play-Based Learning

Our curriculum has a strong focus on fun, play-based learning experiences, guided by the Early Years Learning Framework. We take a holistic approach to education and child development. 

Plant-Based Meals

Children rely on the right balance of nutrients for healthy growth and development. Our plant-based meals and snacks are dietician-approved and made fresh, daily onsite by our cook. Delicious plant-based food is included in our service fees – one of the perks in choosing our centre! View our menu here.

Water and Energy use

We use water and conserve energy to conserve resources, operate efficiently and save money. With solar panels and rainwater tanks installed, we reduce our dependence on mains water and energy, use the recycled water for our vegetable garden, and teach children about the social and environmental benefits! 

Supporting Local Businesses

We buy Australian-made products where possible to support local businesses and farmers, minimise the distance the products need to travel, and to provide the freshest produce possible!

Bush Kindy

Our ‘bush kindy’ program focuses on connecting children with nature, building coordination skills to navigate terrain, identifying plants and animals, and learning basic survival skills. We are fortunate to be able to take a short walk down our quiet street and into the bush – an area with trails and many opportunities for experiences in nature. We host a Bush Kindy Playgroup on Mondays at 10am where we welcome families from around the area to explore the bush with us (registration required)! 

Eco-friendly

With a focus on eco-friendly practices, we hope to encourage children to develop an appreciation of the environment.

Qualified and Passionate Educators

All of our trained educators are passionate about working in Early Education and hold a strong interest in sustainability, plant-based nutrition and/or eco-friendly practices.

Community

We add value to the community by hosting workshops, a bush kindy playgroup and events. We’re passionate about involving the local community! Coming soon: the Sustainable Play Community Seed Library!

Our Team

Are you passionate about early childhood education and sustainability? Get in touch to find out more about job opportunities in our new centre.
Kirsty Parker
Kirsty Parker
Preschool Director

An advocate for children’s education and sustainable living, Kirsty has worked in Early Childhood Education since 2009, with 6 of these years as an Educational Leader.

Kirsty believes that every child has the right to access a quality education where they feel safe, secure and supported to learn and develop. She supports play-based learning and believes that positive learning experiences in the early years sets up the foundation for a life-long love of learning.

As the Preschool Director, Kirsty believes in leading by example and treating others with respect, encouraging educators to work to their strengths and support them in developing their capabilities with mentoring and guidance.

At home, Kirsty and her family enjoy growing and harvesting produce from their own gardens, spending time outdoors with their dogs, and being active. Their house is equipped with solar power, rainwater tanks and a large worm farm to recycle food scraps and feed their gardens.

Kirsty couldn’t pass the opportunity she saw in working for Sustainable Play Preschool, creating a better future for all by educating the next generation of future leaders.

Jess Dopper-Williams
Jess Dopper-Williams
Garden Educator

Our Garden Educator Jess has experience and education in both early childhood and horticulture. She gained her early childhood qualifications during her 14 years in the sector. Her lifelong love of plants and desire to protect biodiversity led her to study horticulture and gain her diploma. Jess’s passion for learning about the natural world is something she hopes to share with the preschoolers as they all learn together in the garden.

Jess has a particular interest in native plants and providing habitat, shelter and food for local wildlife. She plans to teach children to be gentle as they work in the garden ecosystem, as it is the home for many creatures, more than just our intentionally planted fruits and vegetables.

In her free time, Jess enjoys good food, op shopping, spending time with family and going to the lake with her wife and two dogs for picnics, walks and bike rides. She feels at home with the Sustainable Play team and hopes that children and staff alike will be drawn to the garden for comfort, peace, exploration and something fresh to eat!

Llewellyn Jones
Llewellyn Jones
Company Director

Llewellyn started his career in the construction industry, passionate about sustainability but discouraged by the waste and practices he observed.  Working in the industry exposed him to how significantly all systems needed to improve to keep a healthy planet.

Inspired to contribute beyond the construction industry, Llewellyn gravitated toward early education and began working as a trainee educator. This affirmed his belief that early education is of the utmost importance to the development of children and a perfect environment to strengthen sustainable and ethical values in children and the community.

Knowing he could not bring together his vision for Sustainable Play Preschool alone, in 2017 Llewy began putting together a team of passionate people with diverse professional experience and industry backgrounds.

Tammy Carlin
Tammy Carlin
Diploma Educator

Tammy is our colourful Newcastle native who loves working with children. She began her childcare career in 2007 at a centre in Cardiff as a Certificate III Trainee, and continued working as she received her Diploma – working for the same centre for 14 years! As a Diploma Room Leader she spent time in all age groups and loves them all.

With her interest in sustainability, she was elected “Sustainability Officer” at her last centre, which involved setting up and maintaining the vegetable gardens, worm farms and compost, while working on initiatives to reduce waste.

She is a big animal lover and became vegan for animals in 2017. Tammy has remained vegan for animal welfare first, but now also for personal health and the health of the planet. In her spare time, Tammy is a fitness fanatic – enjoying boxing, Kempo jiu-jitsu and holds her Certificate IV in Fitness with the Australian Institute of Fitness.

Tammy is pleased to join the amazing team at Sustainable Play Preschool and to help shape the future for our children, the animals and the environment.

Suzie Brown
Suzie Brown
Marketing Coordinator

Suzie has always loved working with children and graduated from Boston College’s School of Education with a Bachelor’s in Human Development/Applied Psychology and Communication. During university she worked as a graphic designer and marketing coordinator for multiple organisations.

After graduating, she worked on farms in America’s Northeast region and found great joy in running Farm Camp, combining her love of education with growing food. She went on to assistant manage a flower and herb farm, then later worked as a Garden Educator with Island Grown Schools for 3 school years on Martha’s Vineyard. It was also on Martha’s Vineyard that Suzie started a biodegradable cosmetics company, Suzie Sticks, where she made all natural lip balm, deodorant and mineral-based sunscreen in compostable recycled paper tubes.

Since having her first child and moving to Australia with her husband, Suzie has been glad to get back into Digital Marketing at Sustainable Play Preschool where her values in sustainability, education and care for the natural world all come together beautifully. She’s been loving the amazing team at Sustainable Play and can’t wait to send her son Bear when he turns 3! Suzie is expecting her second child in September 2021.

Jodi Dean
Jodi Dean
Assistant Director

Our Assistant Director Jodi has worked in Early Education for 25 years and is excited to join the Sustainable Play team, to care for your child and to become a part of your extended family – watching your child learn, play and grow during their time here at Sustainable Play. Jodi has worked in the Newcastle/Maitland area, Liverpool, England and has recently returned to New South Wales from working in the Northern Territory.

In Darwin, she was the manager of a child care centre for 3 ½ years, before transitioning  to Inclusion Support with Early Childhood Australia where part of her role was to fly into Indigenous communities to mentor the educators on engaging with our First Nations children, ensuring every child felt valued and was included in the program and environment. There she learnt so much about the Aboriginal culture, their stories, values, beliefs and wants for their children. She aims to share this knowledge with the preschoolers at Sustainable Play, through our programs and bush kindy experiences. Jodi is thrilled to learn more about sustainability from working here, and to put new routines into practice both at the preschool and at home.

When she’s not at the preschool, Jodi spends time with her husband and two adult children, Sam and Tasha. She loves relaxing on the beach with a good book and being with family showing her competitive side over a board game with lots of laughs. Jodi is currently studying her Degree in Early Education, so life is a little busy, but she enjoys the challenge. 

Jodi looks forward to getting to know each and every one of you and to being a part of the incredible Sustainable Play Preschool team.

Brooke Ravenscroft
Brooke Ravenscroft
Preschool Cook

Brooke is a mother of two young children and a lifelong lover of the plant-based lifestyle for the children, the animals and their future. Her past career in event management involved much work with caterers and their discouraging plant-based options, which along with her growing children inspired her career change to train as a plant-based chef with a focus on wholefoods and nutrition. Brooke has attended cooking schools in Sydney, Thailand and Mullumbimby.

She loves expressing her creativity with fruits and vegetables and sharing the life changing health benefits and positive impacts of a plant-based lifestyle.

Brooke has proudly developed Sustainable Play Preschool’s plant-based menus with home made, colourful, fun, nutritious, delicious and dietitian approved meals and snacks that are different to the more processed and ‘convenient’ foods of most daycare service menus. She hopes to inspire other centres, schools and families to “be the change we wish to see in the world” and join us in developing a positive food system.

In her free time, Brooke talks about food, reads about food, cooks food for family and friends and wonders what food she will make next! She’s honoured to be part of the team at Sustainable Play and looks forward to sharing her love of beautiful plant-based food with the staff, children and community.

Anneliese Wild
Anneliese Wild
Trainee Educator

Anneliese began her career in graphic design, both studying and working during University. Post-graduation, she transitioned her cheery passion towards the field of sustainability, working in bush regeneration, organic farming, vegan cafe hospitality and regenerative agriculture. Her travels took her all the way to Japan, where she taught preschoolers English. She returned in 2020 and is thrilled to pursue a career in Early Childhood on home soil with the passionate folks at Sustainable Play.

Anneliese is fascinated with learning ways to grow, preserve, share and celebrate food in sustainable ways. She believes the many dimensions of food provide a perfect approach for engaging young learners in the concepts of respect, ecology and care for the Earth.

In her spare time, she loves to potter ‘bout the garden, spend time with her nephews (3 & 5), go for an ocean dip, mend clothes, knit socks, volunteer, search for Newie’s best toastie, rollerblade, and tend to her cupboard full of ferments.

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