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 0-8 years) 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 children in 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!)
Simonne works as an Education Assistant in the Kindy/Pre-Primary room or Bindi-bindi Mia. Before she began working at the school, she was first a parent. She was drawn to the school because of its strong community focus, its commitment to Inquiry and Play-Based learning, the acceptance and respect that the staff have for the children, its eclectic philosophy and approach to teaching, the freedom that the children have to express themselves and the support that they receive as they develop their sense of self in the world.
Simonne is very excited to be working in Bindi-bindi Mia and brings with her over 15 years of experience working with children in a range of settings. She has studied early childhood learning and development in both New Zealand and Australia and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Design and Photography and is a qualified New Zealand Playcentre Educator. She believes that forming positive relationships is the most important element of her role and is committed to building connections with the children so that they feel safe, understood and loved as they begin their learning journey at Kerry Street.
“Witnessing and supporting children as they form relationships, play, grow, learn and create magical memories together, is what brings me joy.”Simonne Hamman