Pachamama Senior Management Team

Kristen McPhail

Director

After 35 years of senior management role in finance and marketing, Kristen dedicated her life in 2012 to co-creating what has become the award-winning Pachamama. Born in New York, Kristen’s passion for the wonders of Mother Nature began with childhood Summers immersed in the beauty and nature of Wisconsin’s deep woods and Minnesota’s 'land of 10,000 lakes'.

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Through extensive travels, Kristen developed appreciation of rich cultures and an understanding of the potential for compassion and vitality in groups featuring diversity.

Her unwavering attention to detail, dedication to excellence and desire to inspire other women has resulted in Kristen being a two-time finalist (2001 and 2019) of the Telstra Business Women’s Awards.

Kristen holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and a postgraduate degree of Masters of Teaching (Primary).

Kristen's education and business experience ensures the Perth Hills' children can access world-class early education for the best start in life.

Kristen is proud that, as one Approved Provider, Pachamama operates two childcare services across three properties abutting four street fronts showcasing 6,000 m2 of naturally undulating landscape quite unique in the sector of early education. She is delighted that her tireless work is deeply benefitting 350 families and 700 children every year.

The desire for Kristen to co-create Pachamama was sparked by her grandfather (a property developer), her grandmother (an early childhood teacher) and her great aunt (a missionary to Taiwan), who also dedicated her later years to establishing a school to improve the prospects of local children. Kristen would like to acknowledge the special impact made by these souls before her and their inspiration to create this new paradigm of early education observed by 150,000 followers around the world.

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Andrew White

CEO

Andrew’s deep understanding of natural environments created the very essence of what Pachamama has become - a home away from steeped in nature, creativity and diversity.

Supporting Malaguzzi’s philosophy that the environment is the third teacher (Gandini 2012), Andrew has created Pachamama’s unbelievably unique learning spaces through the intersection of his forestry experience and his teacher training.

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Andrew holds a Postgraduate Masters degree in Teaching and a Bachelor of Science in Forestry.

With a life before Pachamama grounded as a Professional Forester, Andrew worked extensively throughout Australia and internationally, particularly in Central and South America, in the forest and forest products industry.

He grew to understand the connection between sustainable communities and their local natural environments.

Now focusing on nature as being a powerful influence to young lives through helping to shape their identity and heal inner wounds, Andrew cherishes this teaching aspect through his daily work at Pachamama.

“Children need to be connected to their environment physically, socially and spiritually to help them find their healthy place in the world. Pachamama has unbelievably unique spaces for children to explore that enhance their day-to-day learning experiences.”
Andrew understands that participating in challenging nature play contributes to children's autonomy and self confidence. Their awareness is enhanced through the wide variety of sights, sounds and textures presented in natural environments.

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Rocky Beaton

Centre Manager

Rocky was born in England and believes that being an ‘only child’ influenced her deep innate passion for every child's happiness. She moved to Australia with her family a few years after earning her initial qualifications from Bedford College when she was only 15 years old. Rocky describes the happiness of discovering a new life here with 'endless opportunities'.

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Rocky's long service to the early education and childcare sector is now exceeds twenty successful and rewarding years.

Believing that childcare is a wonderful place for children to learn life skills and make friends, Rocky pursued her Diploma in Children’s Services in Perth. She achieved her long term goal of serving the community as a Centre Manager at Pachamama in 2015.

Rocky is passionate about children developing strong social and emotional skills in the loving environment Pachamama provides on so many levels.

Under her stewardship, Pachamama has enjoyed significant and consistent growth with ratings ‘Exceeding’ the standards of both the 2012 and 2018 National Quality Frameworks. Rocky’s dedication has contributed to Pachamama deemed the 'centre of choice' by many families involved with the Perth Hills. .

“My deep values are steeped in loyalty, honesty, kindness and compassion. I aim to be my best in my personal and professional life, as well as a positive and loving influence on my own children’s lives for their happy and successful future.“

It is evident that Rocky is deeply proud of her two children who attend Pachamama, and her older stepson she believes is 'a wonderful brother to his younger siblings'.

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Kerry Gordon

Office Manager

Kerry’s success can be attributed to her conviction that 'all things are possible through the eyes of a child' and her achievement at applying this to her own life.

Having commenced her career as an Educator at 16 years old, Kerry is now Pachamama’s longest serving employee. Her commitment to the Pachamama family is unparalleled as demonstrated by her willingness to travel up to two hours per day to serve the Perth Hills community.

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Kerry and her husband live in a house they built together in Ellenbrook when she was only 19 years old.

Raised by her beloved grandparents from the age of four, Kerry explains their influence has helped her develop patience, understanding and resilience. She is thankful they encouraged her to express her creativity and kindness. Kerry often talks of her grandparent's love and undying support and how they have encouraged her strength, stability and a deep compassion to serve others through her own mentoring and coaching role at Pachamama.

Pachamama’s nature based philosophy and commitment to excellence are highly valued by Kerry. She feels great joy in her capacity to be innovative and progressive in her professional role that ultimately benefits the local community and the lives of the Pachamama kids.

“It is an absolute pleasure to be part of an exceptional centre that continually strives to redefine childcare.”
Kerry's role at Pachamama is wide and varied due to her significant knowledge and skills. While her main duties involve rostering and accounts receivables, Kerry often serves as a mentor to other Managers and Educators. Her genuine caring and giving nature shines through every day.

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Robyn McDowall

Senior Operations Manager

Born in Sydney to young parents, Robyn moved to Perth at the age of two. She believes her unsettled childhood attending 11 schools in 12 years created within her a deep appreciation of connection to community, nature and oneself. She believes that Early Childhood Educators who genuinely feel valued can have a significantly positive impact on children's lives.

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To the considerable benefit of the Pachamama community, Robyn is well experienced in building supportive relationships that foster self worth, self esteem and enhanced learning opportunities for both Educators and children.

Robyn commenced her career in early education at the age of 17, subsequently obtaining her Diploma qualification at the Australian Childcare Academy. She has more than 30 years of experience at all sector levels from being an Educator at a ‘micro' family daycare to Senior Management with large conglomerates.

In 2018, Pachamama was fortunate to employ Robyn thereby benefitting from her extensive 10 year career at Centre Director level with two national service providers.

"Through unique natural environments, children learn to question, explore and build positive relationships. And helping children feel confident and belonging to a community is my life goal.

Robyn explains that our Pachamama is her ‘forever home’ and supporting our Educators to further develop their passion for stimulating and engaging environments is a role that she particularly enjoys.

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Dee Fontaine

Operations Manager

Born in New Zealand, Dee moved to Australia at the age of two. Her childhood was steeped in nature playing 'hide and seek’ in the Australian bush, riding bikes around the countryside and engaging with a diverse range of farm animals.

Dee believes that growing up on a farm instilled within her an understanding that mother nature's world is the best playground for children.

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“Take them outside, ignite their senses and help them learn,”

Married at a young age, Dee dedicated her life to her family. She and her husband have three children, including a set of twins.

Dee attained her Certificate III as an Educational Assistant in 2006 and homeschooled her children for five years while also working part-time in a school. Now a grandmother, Dee is in the final stages of her Bachelor of Teaching (Primary).

Dee explains that Dr Ian Wilico and Dr Bill Rogers have helped shape her personal philosophy of learning. She believes that schooling does not always need to occur inside sitting quietly in an artificial environment.

Her experience is that children develop most effectively when engaging with the great outdoors and getting dirty. Her teaching strategies include building an ownership of the learning environment and engaging non-confrontational behaviour management strategies.

After working at Guilford Grammar for seven years, Dee attended a Pachamama Open House for Educators.

"I was amazed at what I saw during my first visit to Pachamama and I fell in love!"

We welcomed Dee into our Pachamama family in early 2019 as Operations Manager of our Pachamama Activity Centre for school-aged children. Dee also believes she has found her ‘forever home’.

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Vivi Lau

Operations Manager

Vivi’s drive and passion adds another dimension to our diverse international team.

Her career in education commenced in Hong Kong when she used her Taekwondo black belt to coach children. She moved to Perth in 2015.

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Vivi worked hard to attain both her Certificate III and Diploma in Early Childhood Services in only two years.

She joined Pachamama in 2019 as our Operations Manager of Kirtlewest building. As the youngest member of our Senior Management Team, Vivi is responsible for all aspects of our operations with respect to Pachamama's older school-aged children.

“I feel so lucky and excited every day at Pachamama ... it is like utopia for me!! Pachamama presents a mini jungle with flowering trees, tropical gardens and lush plants as well as life-sized sculptures at every turn. What a lovely and unique place that ignites my passion to assist children learn! I am very happy and appreciate Pachamama offering this dream-like opportunity to me.”

Outgoing and energetic, Vivi’s positive outlook and strong dedication results in her easily learning new skills and accepting new challenges.

Born in Guangdong, a coastal province on the north shore of the South China Sea, Vivi moved to Hong Kong with her family when she was ten years old. Although her three siblings and parents remain focussed on continuing their lives in Hong Kong, Vivi and her fiancé are dedicated to making their future together in Australia. Vivi fluently speaks English, Mandarin, Cantonese and Korean, a useful skill for our Chinese families

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David Lulunken Lenku

Coordinator, Urafiki Projects

As a young boy, David grew up in a mud hut with no running water or electricity power in Amboseli, Kenya. As a young child, he looked after his parent's cows in the forest until the age of 7 years when he joined primary school. David walked to school in groups for 20 kms learning how to dodge wild animals like buffalos, lions and hyenas.

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With a diet of mainly meat, milk and porridge, David and his family would often go to bed with empty stomachs. He explains that he got used to the hunger and barely cried when his parents couldn't afford to make him and his younger siblings comfortable.

After David completed high school, he didn't have the financial strength to join a university. He started a business walking between markets to buy and sell goats, later advancing cow trading. He would travel to the nearby country of Tanzania to buy low priced oxen and aim to sell them at a higher price in Kenya's markets.

When David’s father passed away, as the firstborn, he became responsible under Maasai tradition to assume care for his mother and four younger sisters. It was then that Pachamama came to his life and impacted it forever.

David attended one of the best universities in Kenya on a full scholarship and living expenses from Pachamama to pursue a Bachelor Degree in Information Technology. He subsequently secured a job in the Local Government of Kajiado as a Payroll Officer. David is now studying a Diploma in Human Resources.

“I am dedicated to work with the Urafiki initiative to improve the life of my community. I travel to Australia to give back to the Pachamama family for the great work they have done for us. I am living an exemplary life for my kids because I want to be a beacon of hope and promote diversity to the current and future generations.”

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Pachamama Leadership Team

Jessica Nguyen

Room Leader – Toddlers

Born in Vietnam, Jessica moved to Australia at the age of 15 with her parents and 3 younger siblings to begin their next chapter on a farm in Carnarvon. Jessica helped her parents grow tomatoes and watermelons when not studying.

With little understanding of English as an adolescent, Jessica's most significant challenge was the language barrier.

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Not withstanding her lack of English skills as a 15 year old, Jessica graduated Academic Dux of her school due to her signature personality traits of dedication, perseverance, and passion to succeed.

Jessica commenced her career as an early years educator in Carnarvon, moving to Perth in 2020 to support her younger sibling's schooling and join the Pachamama family.

Her aim is to provide children and families with a safe, secure, and nurturing environment like home. Jessica receives great satisfaction when families are pleased with the care she provides, serving as a continual affirmiation for her that she is on the right career path.

Jessica explains her initial attraction to Pachamama was to the beautiful natural play learning environments steeped in nature, creativity, and sustainability. She felt privileged to be welcomed into our family by everyone. and her cheery nature has helped to quickly build close relationships.
“It is such an amazing and rewarding feeling to know that you are supporting children through some of the most important years of their life.”

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Viv Downie

Room Leader – Nursery

Originally from Kojonup in the Great Southern Region of Western Australia, Viv and her husband traveled across Australia for many years before settling in Perth to establish a family.

Keen to assist other young families, Viv managed a family daycare in her home for five years while her children were growing up.

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Play was the work of children.

- Jean Piaget

Over the past ten years, Viv obtained her Diploma in Children's Services and helped children develop in the long daycare environment.

Viv explains that she was initially attracted to Pachamama by its outdoor environment due to her strong passion for teaching children about gardening and nature.

She believes that children need to be nurtured and in a relaxed, enjoyable, and safe environment to grow and develop to their full potential and develop an appreciation for nature and everything outdoors. Being able to introduce this to the children and see where they take it is wonderful to watch.

Viv encourages children to explore and investigate the basics of simple science appropriate to their age.

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Katie Rutherford

Teacher – Kindy Room

Raised on Perth, Katie developed a strong passion at a young age to work with children.

During her extensive 14 year career with roles in a variety of early childhood settings including both childcare and public schools, Katie deeply understands the benefits of play-based learning.

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"Play is the highest form to research"

- Albert Einstein

Katie completed her Bachelor of Early Childhood Education in 2016.

It is delightful observing Katie supporting our Pachamama children as they discover the world around them, creating meaning and finding their identity.

Katie says,

"It is a priviledge to work with the highly experienced team at Pachamama in such an extraordinary learning environment at he children love."

With two young 'bundles of joy' herself, Katie is putting into practice at home now all her early childhood education skills fine-tuned over the years.

Saying that, she still enjoys her time further developing her team and being with all the children and families at Pachamama as they learn and grow together .

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Nicole Rouse

Room Leader – Junior OSHC

Having lived in Australia all her life, Nicole's says her fondest childhood memories involve making sand cakes and mud pies for her mother playing in the great outdoors.

Because of these experiences, she can relate to the value of play in children's development.

Nicole achieved her Certificate 3 and 4 in children's services at a young age, and is very proud to be using her skills as a part of the Pachamama family.

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"Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning"

- Fred Rogers
She believes that children learn best through play and need to be given opportunities to direct their own play experiences and take risks in a safe and nurturing environment.

Nicole is clear that her passion is working with school-aged children providing them with meaningful age appropriate activities and resources to help them grow, learn and prepare for their next stage in life.

Initially attracted to Pachamama's unique environment and educational philosophy, Nicole is convinced that it is her 'forever home.' As a mother, Nicole is thrilled her son Riley has the opportunity to grow and thrive at Pachamama too!

Nicole says she also enjoys sharing her knowledge and passion with other educators, growing together in their ability to positively impact of children's lives forever.

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Pascale Frischot

Manager – Kitchen

Pascale was born and grew up speaking French on the picturesque island of Mauritius situated in the Indian Ocean. In 2007, she and her husband moved to Perth to spend time with their grandchildren.

She explains that her beautiful and multi-cultural homeland gave to her the great diversity of delicious and uniquely prepared cuisines. It was responsible for inciting her love of cooking.

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Cooking has always been Pascale's first passion, with sewing a close second. Pascale obtained her commercial food preparation and cooking qualifications from TAFE and dedicated her career on ensuring children have tasty and nutritious food.

A local of the Lesmurdie hills community, Pascale one of the most longest standing employees having joined the Pachamama family in 2013.

“We have a great team at Pachamama that supports and values each other while also valuing our unique differences.”

Pascale cherishes working among the focus of educating children in a beautiful natural environment. It reminds her of her childhood living in the beautiful countryside of Mauritius.

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Maia Summer

Room Leader – Junior Kindy

Maia was born and raised in Nanyuki, Kenya in Africa.

She moved to Australia with her family in 2008 and joined Pachamama 8 years later as a student trainee apprentice at the age of 16. Because her Mum and Aunty were also employed at Pachamama, she has always felt like it was a home away from home.

Maia became full time after completing high school and continued her education studying her Certificate 3 and Diploma in children's services.

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Maia's goal is for all children who attend her care to feel a sense of belonging to Pachamama while in a safe and supportive environment that contributes to the development of their identity as they grow.

“We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.”

- Franklin D Roosevelt

Maia explains that she looks forward to meeting and engaging with families and their children because she enjoys creating lasting relationships.

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Rachel Jones

Room Leader – Infants

Born in Vietnam, Jessica moved to Australia at the age of 15 with her parents and 3 younger siblings to begin their next chapter on a farm in Carnarvon. Jessica helped her parents grow tomatoes and watermelons when not studying.

With little understanding of English as an adolescent, Jessica's most significant challenge was the language barrier.

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Not withstanding her lack of English skills as a 15 year old, Jessica graduated Academic Dux of her school due to her signature personality traits of dedication, perseverance, and passion to succeed.

Jessica commenced her career as an early years educator in Carnarvon, moving to Perth in 2020 to support her younger sibling's schooling and join the Pachamama family.

Her aim is to provide children and families with a safe, secure, and nurturing environment like home. Jessica receives great satisfaction when families are pleased with the care she provides, serving as a continual affirmiation for her that she is on the right career path.

Jessica explains her initial attraction to Pachamama was to the beautiful natural play learning environments steeped in nature, creativity, and sustainability. She felt privileged to be welcomed into our family by everyone. and her cheery nature has helped to quickly build close relationships.
“It is such an amazing and rewarding feeling to know that you are supporting children through some of the most important years of their life.”

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Angela Chaytor 

Room Leader – Kindy

Angela is known to her friends and family by her last name of Chaytor. She is a ball of energy, an enigma of sorts.

A true blue country kid, Chaytor grew up in the town of Karratha located in WA's northwest, more than 1,500 km from her birth town of Busselton at the other end of Western Australia. She moved to Perth at the age of 17.

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Chaytor's pedagogical philosophy revolves around stimulating children's learning through fun and vibrant experiences. She provides options to children and respects their choices.

More often than not, Chaytor is found getting her hands dirty with the children. She engrosses herself in their experiences, role modelling through active participation.

“Today you are you. That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!” - Dr Suess

Chaytor is known to be a team player at Pachamama. There is never a dull moment and always a smile.

She believes in self-expression and always strives to give children the confidence to be who they are without self-doubt.

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Gaby Manjabosco 

Room Leader – Senior OSHC

Born in Vietnam, Jessica moved to Australia at the age of 15 with her parents and 3 younger siblings to begin their next chapter on a farm in Carnarvon. Jessica helped her parents grow tomatoes and watermelons when not studying.

With little understanding of English as an adolescent, Jessica's most significant challenge was the language barrier.

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Her aim is to provide children and families with a safe, secure, and nurturing environment like home. Jessica receives great satisfaction when families are pleased with the care she provides, serving as a continual affirmiation for her that she is on the right career path.

Jessica explains her initial attraction to Pachamama was to the beautiful natural play learning environments steeped in nature, creativity, and sustainability. She felt privileged to be welcomed into our family by everyone. and her cheery nature has helped to quickly build close relationships.
“It is such an amazing and rewarding feeling to know that you are supporting children through some of the most important years of their life.”

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The Pachamama Activity Centre Team

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