pre primary students


Jessica Forth

Hello! I’m Jess and I teach the Kindy/Pre-Primary class on Mondays to Thursdays.

I started teaching at Kerry Street at the end of Term 2, 2020. I love how supportive the school this community is, I feel at home already!

I hold a Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood & Care) and have been teaching for three years now, in a variety of school contexts. In 2019, I had the good fortune to teach in a small school in Albany, which proved to be a wonderful learning experience. 

My teaching philosophy is centred around play-based and Inquiry learning as I believe it encourages creativity, curiosity and engagement in meaningful learning experiences. I am a firm proponent that the learning environment is the third teacher and has an important role in engaging student’s interests. My classroom by design has a welcoming atmosphere in which children are nurtured and supported holistically. I also think the outdoor environment provides wonderful opportunities for students to explore, task risks, problem solve and develop relationships with their peers, which is why I find Kerry Street’s wild space so exciting. 

I can’t wait to see what my future at Kerry Street brings and am really looking forward to collaborating with parents, staff and students!

Tom Francas

Hi! I’m Tom. I graduated from Edith Cowan University in 1993 with a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education. After four years of relief teaching and daycare, I found my perfect job at Kerry Street. I have been teaching here since 1998 in a variety of roles and classes, mainly in the Early Childhood years. For six years beginning in 2014, I ran our Kindy class in the hall, which I am privileged to now have named in my honour. I am currently the Education Assistant in the Kindy/Pre-Primary classroom, as well as teaching drama and music one afternoon a week.

I am – and have always been – a big believer in play-based, hands-on, FUN education… and especially in the early years. I use humour, silliness, wordplay, games and imagination to encourage creativity and self-expression. I join in on games as much as possible, which enables me to guide, influence and be a good role model, as well as have some fun. I crave 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) 

Outside of school life, I have spent many years travelling the world, being a semi-professional musician, dad joke specialist, keen Dockers supporter, home renovator and motorcycle enthusiast. I listen to and play bluegrass music (I’m obsessed!), particularly the five-string banjo. I regularly organise and run bluegrass jam sessions in the community at community centres, cafes, parks and music festivals. I have written and published two books and play social soccer twice a week. I love life!

Melissa Kennedy
Melissa Kennedy

Hi! I’m Melissa, Kerry Street’s Principal. I teach the Kindergarten/Pre-Primary class on Fridays.

I started at Kerry Street in 2014 and absolutely love the community atmosphere and culture of sharing and support we have here. 

I really enjoy working with Early Childhood students because, at this stage, children progress in leaps and bounds. It is absolutely wonderful to see them grow and acquire new skills, language and knowledge.

My personal and professional backgrounds are in Indigenous education and community schools. I was incredibly lucky to spend the first four years of my career at an Indigenous community school in North East Arnhem Land. In that context, I learnt a lot about working with children and developed some treasured connections with Indigenous families. While I experienced many challenges working in a remote location, it was all completely worth it; I reaped amazing rewards, including seeing children make significant progress in their understanding of new concepts and development of skills. 

In the K/PP classroom, we spend much of our day working in different groups, including similar and mixed ability groupings, and groups where students take on roles like recorder, presenter or reader, and those in which a student expert is teaching their peers a specific skill or strategy. 

Our days include time spent learning skills and concepts across curriculum areas as well as working on whole class or small group projects which stem from students’ own interests or a problem presented to the class. We often use a stimulus or issue, such as upcoming events or something the school as a whole is working on, to integrate all areas of learning and to complete meaningful tasks that students investigate at their own level of ability.  

I aim to make our classroom inspiring and engaging for children’s play and exploration. We have ever-changing provocations in our room that reflects our students’ interests at the time and the various projects we are working on in class. We also dedicate time almost every day to play-based investigations whereby children are given the chance to explore and engage with activities around the indoor and outdoor classroom, and an opportunity to see through individual projects and consolidate their learning.