Caring for your children

Our team is a group of professional, compassionate and skilled people with a variety of experiences in children’s services and the early childhood field. We pride ourselves on our team of passionate educators who work hard to continue to further enhance their own education in order to stay abreast of the latest advances and philosophical and cultural changes of the industry, so that they can impart this knowledge when working with children in the community. FCCC provides opportunities for further education and training for staff development and involvement in practical based training. We encourage excellence, innovation and service improvements from all staff, and our culture of caring and compassion make for the provision of quality education and care in a positive working environment. Our staff:child ratio is optimized and well above required levels to increase the opportunities for more individual focus and increase the overall service quality.

Meet our staff


Mandala Diehl – Director and Educator

Hi, I am passionate about providing children with the highest quality care and education in a nurturing setting. As research has proven the early years of our lives are the foundations for our future and ensuring the children in our care have a positive sense of identity and wellbeing so that they can achieve their highest potential in life. I love to spend time in nature and enjoy my work immensely. Mandala has a Diploma in Children Services and is currently upgrading to a Bachelor of Education. She has been working in the Early Childhood field for 20 years. She has had extensive experience with Aboriginal Communities and in particular on the Tiwi Islands. Her experience includes Family Services Manager of a multifunctional Child and Family Centre, Director of a Long Day Care, Nutrition Program Manager, Teachers Aide and Early Childhood Educator. Mandala received a nomination for Inspirational Teachers in 2013 and was one of the National Finalists. She has also received a National Tidy Town Citizen of the year Award in 2004. Mandala has been a key speaker at the National Early Childhood Association Conference and presenter at the Honour Children Honour Equity Conference in Melbourne.


Donna Grey – Assistant Director/Educational leader

Donna has been teaching on and off for more than 20 years in Early Childhood, Secondary and Adult Education environments. She has taught internationally for a number of years, in Japan and Africa, has directed and choreographed dance eisteddfods and managed many of our local festivals kids spaces with current and natural learning programs including Uplift, The Living Food Festival and the Rainbow Coroborees. She was a Department of Sport and Recreation Instructor for many years, instructing in activities, such as; camping, abseiling, archery and swimming with children and families all over Australia. She is currently writing a children’s metaphysical children’s book series.  She is the President of Freedom of Choice in Australia.  In everyday we have another thousand plus moments to be present to giving us plenty of time to enjoy life if we choose to.


Melinda Flower – Toddler and preschool educator

Mel is an award winning artist originally from Sydney, where she has run art classes for mothers and preschoolers. Her qualifications include a Fine Arts degree and a Child Care Certificate which is equivalent to the Diploma in Children’s Services. This year I received a nomination award for Child Care Worker of the year. It required a written personal philosophy on the role of an educator. It goes as follows … Whether in the setting of a home environment in Family Day Care , a Preschool or Long Day Care , I strongly feel that the role of an educator is paramount to the child’s outlook and attitude to learning . Firstly the educator must provide a safe, nurturing environment where the child feels safe and supported. Through close observation of the child the educator can then provide learning opportunities that can enable the child to explore, discover and further develop their areas of interest , which in turn builds confidence and a love of learning for the child . The educators role heavily influences the direction in which a child’s outlook and sense of self develops within a learning framework.

Mel provides the centre with amazing planned activities and  is an inspiration to all educators.


Julie Furze –  Educator

Hi my name is Julie Furze and I have a Certificate 3 in Childcare and a Bachelor in Visual Arts. I have been working at Federal Community Children’s centre since 2006 and continue to enjoy doing so. Childcare was a change of direction for me after working in Visual Art related fields like community mural painting and teaching printmaking. I particularly enjoy working in our art and craft room with the children and seeing their spontaneous creations. I have completed extensive study into how to nurture children’s creativity and the development of drawing in the early years.

Julie provides a loving stable environment at the centre. Her attention to detail is



Tanya Dalton – Toddler Educator

Hi my name is Tanya. I hold a diploma in Children’s Services. I have been employed as the toddler educator since 2011. I have worked in the childcare industry since 1992 which included running a family Day Care Service and at centre based care. I have cared and educated children from 3 months to 7 years of age. I enjoy working with children and assisting them to become young independent children with imagination, empathy, creativity and respect for themselves, others and their world around them. I am married with two adult children. I enjoy spending time in the garden and being with my family.

Tanya’s Family Day care experience provides the centre with a wealth of knowledge on all aspects of maintaining professionalism.

Nikki Farrell- Assistant Director and Educational Leader

My name is Nikki Farrell. In 1993 I completed my studies in a Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood) and have worked in various roles in early childhood education and care since. Some of these roles include being a child care director, working with Ballina/Byron family day care and spaghetti circus. Most recently I have worked in Vanuatu as a kindergarten and then preschool teacher at Port Vila International School. I have also travelled to China as an early childhood consultant. Throughout my career I have always been passionate about the importance of the early years. Children are our future.

Nikki is dedicated, caring and a great inspiration to her fellow team members. We feel blessed she has joined us this year.


Monique Finlay – Educator and Transition to School Program Coordinator

My name is Monique Finlay and I work at FCCC as an educator. I have a Diploma in Teaching and a Certificate 3 in Early Childhood Education. I have lived in Federal for 13 years with my 4 children, 2 of whom attended FCCC. I love being a part of the Federal Community and I have been very actively involved in a variety of community sports. Working with the children and watching them develop and grow in confidence is something I treasure. I feel privileged to be working in such a wonderful centre.

Monique is a dynamic member of the team and provides a wide variety of sports activities. She brings with her a wealth of experience and particularly specializes in school readiness.

 kylie photo

Kylie Barlow – Educator

Hi my name is Kylie Barlow, I hold a Certificate 3 in Children’s Services and am blessed to be on team at Federal Community Children’s Centre. I have been working in the Child Care industry since 2012 and I enjoy seeing the Children grow and learn new things. I have a passion for humanitarian aid and the rights and dignity of children from all nations. Recently I went to Cambodia with a team for two weeks to bring aid, relief and joy in whatever way we could. One of the highlights was playing games and singing with the children and seeing their faces light up. I love arts, crafts, singing, dancing and playing.

Kylie adds spark to the centre and is always considerate of the children’s individual needs.


Lorraine Eastwood – Administrator

Hi, my name is Lorraine Eastwood and I am the administrator for Federal Community Children’s Centre. I have had many different careers over the years mostly with administration and finance and have worked all over Australia. I am a qualified BAS agent, with a Cert IV in bookkeeping. I ran my own bookkeeping business in Broome for over 15 years, have been a legal personal assistant, have worked in mining, entertainment, health, I’ve helped to organise national aboriginal health conference, have assisted with community festivals, worked with most of the building trades and did a 5 year stint as financial counsellor for a community based organisation. I love paddle-boarding, gardening and painting. It’s such a pleasure to work in the childcare industry – child care workers would have to be some of the nicest people to work with and being surrounded by happy children in my working day is a lovely soundtrack to work to.


Ashlee Kinghazel Payne- Educator

Ashlee recently completed her Diploma in Early Education and Care and is passionate about the Early Years Learning Framework. She has a calm influence on the centre and great thought is put into the activities she plans for the children. We are working together to fulfil her dream of being a room leader in the Toddlers Room in 4 years.

Ashlee is extremely creative and always adds that little something special to the day with her creative set ups and thoughtful programming.