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 8 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 – 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. Julie attends once a week on a Thursday.

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.

Rose Rath-  Educator

Rose joined our team mid 2013 and has a wealth of experience working with children. She has 30  years of experience working in a mixture of Long daycare centres, preschool, schools and OSHS services. Her passion is music, songwriting, singing, dance and creative expression.

She has a close connection to the Bundjalung elders and country. Rose shares her knowledge of Bungalung language and culture that has been passed on to her.

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.

Edwina Ditchfield –  Educator

Hi my name is Edwina, I hold a Certificate 3 in Education and care.I aim to contribute positively towards creating a supportive learning environment that meets the individual emotional, social, developmental and well-being needs of all the children.

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.

Ashlee Kinghazel Payne- Educator

Ashlee holds a 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.

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

Hiroi Sakuyama- 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. Hiroi works collaboratively with Tanay and Mel to ensure that the toddlers receive the highest quality of care and education at all times.

Madelaine Shum- Co-Educational leader

Maddy graduated in 2017 and completed a Bachelor of Education in Primary and Early Childhood. She is passionate about children learning through play and highly regards building their sense of self; assisting them in becoming confident and strong individuals. In addition, Maddy is a key advocate for developing and implementing an effective program for transition to school. Maddy has five years of experience in the Early Year sector of which she working closely with children who have experienced childhood trauma.

Maddy joined our team in 2021.

Bettina Hartmann –  Co Administrator

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.