Jess Forth joined Kerry Street in the middle of 2020, and is currently Kerry Street’s Kindy/Pre-Primary class teacher.
Jess holds a Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood & Care) and has taught in a variety of school contexts. Jess’ passion for alternative education grew through discovering her personal teaching beliefs and pedagogy in her first few years of teaching.
Jess’ teaching philosophy encompasses play-based and Inquiry learning. She believes it encourages creativity, curiosity and engagement in meaningful learning experiences. Jess uses the learning environment as the third teacher and ensures that her classroom is set up with provocations that engage student’s interests. Her classroom has a calm, welcoming atmosphere in which children are nurtured and supported holistically.
Jess and the K/PP students are often found outside in the front yard and wilderness area, exploring the wider school environment, observing, questioning, and learning through play.
“I believe the early years are crucial to a child’s holistic development and, through play; children develop foundational skills for life-long learning.”Jess Forth
Tom Francas has worked at Kerry Street since 1998 in a variety of roles and classes, mainly in the Early Childhood years. For six years, beginning in 2014, Tom ran our Kindy class in our Hall, prior to the Pre-Primary and Kindy class joining together. The hall has since been named the “Francas Ruckus Hall” in his honour. Tom is currently the Education Assistant in the Kindy/Pre-Primary class, and also teaches drama and music one afternoon a week
Our past and present students know Tom as the funny jokester, and our parents know him for his nurturing, caring and loving personality. Many parents say that Tom makes them feel welcome, and offers security during those daunting first few weeks of school.
Tom is an advocate for play-based learning, and also utilises the outdoor environment for engaging childrenin student led learning. Tom always joins in on games as much as possible, which enables him to guide, influence and be a good role model, as well as have some fun.
“I am – and have always been – a big believer in play-based, hands-on, FUN education… especially in the early years. I use humour, silliness, wordplay, games and imagination to encourage creativity and self-expression.”Tom Francas
Tom craves an Inquiry-based environment in which children strongly influence games and activities. It encourages independence and self-regulation and provides opportunities for the children to play, play and play some more. (Just don’t tell them they’re learning!)
“My daughter went to Kindy here because Tom is the King-of-Kings of teachers! And all my family agrees.”Tlalit (former parent)
Tiahn Fitzhardinge joined our team as K/PP Education Assistant whilst Tom is on well-earned Long Service Leave.
Tiahn is currently studying a Bachelor of Education and completed her professional practice in the K/PP class in Term 2 of 2021 alongside Tom and Jess, which assisted in a smooth transition as she took on the role of K/PP EA in Term 3.
Tiahn loves all things outdoors, particularly by the ocean as she grew up surfing, sailing and diving. Her personal philosophy reflects this love of the outdoors, and also the development of meaningful relationships making her an asset in Early Childhood Education.
Caroline Colliss fills the K/PP Education Assistant role on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings. Caroline also maintains the role of Italian and Art Specialist throughout the school. To read more about Caroline, please visit our Visual Arts Program page.
Eve Watson works as an Education Assistant on Tuesday and Thursday mornings in the K/PP class. Eve has qualifications as a pastry chef and yoga teacher, and is currently working towards her Bachelor of Education. Eve also fills the role of EA on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons in Year 5/6. Read more about Eve on our Year 5/6 page.