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 early childhood sector, 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.  I am completely committed to quality improvement and best practice. Especially with a focus on building children’s 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. She has been working in the Early Childhood field for 27 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.

Mandala initiated the creation of the Bush tucker Living classroom in 2014. Mandala has been the Director at Federal for the past 10 years.

Linda Watson –  Educational Leader/ Assistant Director

Linda has a Bachelor of Education ( Early Childhood) and Master of Education, both from Sydney University. She has teaching experience across the lifespan from long day care, preschool, primary, high school and Lecturing at University Sydney in Early Childhood Education.

She has adult daughters and enjoys surfing  with her husband and running. Linda excells in providing a rich Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) aspect to the program just completed an article based on `Spirals’  for the Early Childhood Association journal.

Linda joined our team in May 2019.

Melinda Flower –  Casual 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. When I received a nomination award for Child Care Worker of the year in 2018 . 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.

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.

Chloe Phan –  Educator

Chloe recently joined our team in late 2021 which we are so excited about. She has completed her Certificate 3 in Education and Care and is committed to professional development. She has a gentle professional approach and has quickly become a dear member of the team.


Monique Finlay – Educator

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 15 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.

Clare Ackfield –  Educator

Clare has been at our centre on and off over the past 6 years and has over two decades of experience. This year Clare is working with Tanya and Monique in the toddler room and ensures children are provided with a nurturing environment and supported to build on their sense of independence in a safe and loving environment. Clare has an Diploma in early Childhood Education and Care.

Saba Beard  –  Co Administrator

Saba joined our team in 2020 and has assisted in streamlining the admin. Saba has worked in accounts for the past 13 years and has ample experience in the not for profit sector. She provides attention to detail and works in liaison with the Director and families to  ensure that our service provides families with the best options to meet individual needs. eg. preschool, Long day care, ccs support etc.

Erin Kiem- Co Educational Leader

Erin has been working in early childhood education for over ten years and is currently the coordinator of an after school and holiday program in Lismore. Erin joined our team in late 2021.

Erin has a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education and Care and is very  excited to be get to know all the lovely children and families at Federal.

She grew up in this area and is happy to be back and working with families in this community.

During her spare time she enjoys taking photos, making earrings and spending time with her family and pets.

Hiroi Sakuyama- Casual Educator

Hiroi holds a Certificate 3 in Early Education and Care. The children’s wellbeing is Hiroi’s main concern and her gentle approach is a delight to observe. Hiroi has worked at numerous centres locally. She brings the gift of Japanese culture and language to our centre.


Jayne Dean- Bush Kindy educator and casual

Jayne has vast experience in Early Childhood education and care and has been part of the centres team for the past 4 years.

Jayne is passionate about nurturing uninterrupted play and building on children’s connection to country. Through the Bush Kindy  program she will teach holistically through the engagement of hands heart and mind alongside nature to develop the whole learner, cognitively, socially, and physically as well as having fun.

Jayne has a Bachelor of Early Childhood Studies degree and a Bush Kindy Learner course certificate.


Bettina Hartmann –  Finance officer

Bettina has gained extensive experience in administrative, bookkeeping, accounting and HR services by working as an accountant, bookkeeper and HR coordinator in small to medium-sized businesses for the past 18 years. She provides a high stand of professional work and has previously worked for schools and not for profit organisations. Bettina joined our team in 2019

German Mtonh- Gardener

German has a background in gardening from Tanzania in Africa. His regular fortnightly visits help nurture a love for gardening amongst the children.