The Learning & Play Team

Everyone working at The Nature School has very special and diverse skills. The usual team member has experience in a variety of industries and most importantly is passionate about nature, the environment and has the skill to spread the magic to children and adults alike.

 

Educators, volunteers, children, board members, co founders and families are all part of The Nature School team. Everyone is equally valued and is essential to make the organisation successful.

Jacqui Leach - Head of Early Learning & Play

 

Jacqui has been in the industry since 2013, holds a Diploma of Education and Care, and is currently studying an Early Years Bachelor of Education. She has always been around children, teaching Tae Kwon Do and as a motocross coach. In 2017, Jacqui began working at a preschool at Laurieton, where she developed an off site Forest School program. Jacqui is strongly passionate about the inclusive and therapeutic benefits of nature for all children. She loves that nature allows each child to learn and thrive in the way they need, making everyone feel like they belong. She loves music, and enjoys playing the trumpet and piano. Jacqui loves any time outdoors, either in the bush or at the beach, and especially likes bush walks with her family, including her 2 children (8&5). Jacqui's hobbies include trail running, mountain bike riding, gardening, motocross, triathlons, and anything else that gets her outside with friends or family!
 

Yvonne Brown 

 

Yvonne has been working in early childhood for over 20 years. She has worked as a director of a community preschool and in long day care centres. Also engaging children in physical opportunities through teaching of swimming, gymnastics and kindy gym. She has been involved in a large number of volunteering, fundraising projects and special events. Yvonne has a natural affinity with the land and likes to give everything a go, favourite things include meditation, yoga, bush adventures, surfing, snorkelling, swimming, gardening, and restoring old things to new, creating crafts from the garden or the beach. Yvonne is currently studying Gumbaynggirr language her local indigenous language. She lives at Scott’s Head with her husband and has 3 children who have grown into 3 adventurous adults.

Julie-Anne Thompson

 

Julie-Anne has been teaching dance for over 20 years in schools and studios around Australia including her own successful studio in Sydney for 12 yrs. She danced professionally in many styles including Hip Hop and Break. Julie-Anne also gained certification as a Personal Trainer as she is interested in fitness and good health. Following this busy period her husband and her craved a return to a simpler life and camped their way around Australia thus beginning her love affair with nature! They now have 3 boys, Cedar, Dash and Perri and Julie-Anne has recently extended her teaching to working in Education Support working with special needs children which she loves. Julie-Anne's love of nature and love of teaching has made the perfect combination for The Nature School and she is filled with gratitude that she has been given the opportunity to work for what she believes to be an essential part of any child's education and development. Julie-Anne look forward to the future with great anticipation!

Belinda Castle


Belinda has been involved with TNS since the Early Years pilot program, which her elder daughter attended and who is now in Year 1 at TNS Primary. Her younger daughter has been actively enjoying playgroup and the Early Years Program for the last couple of years. Belinda is a trained children’s services educator with over 12 years experience in the professional early childhood sector. She grew up locally, training in music and performing in eisteddfods and musical theatre productions before ‘settling down’ in Port Macquarie. Being an avid reader, Belinda loves to escape on adventures both fictional and real. She has scuba dived all along the northern NSW & southern QLD coast, as well as around Vanuatu gaining more than 50 dives - including night dives and wrecks - in her ‘pre-children’ days. Family life with her music teacher husband and very active daughters keeps her busy, but regular yoga practice, and of course getting back to nature, are weekly priorities keeping Belinda passionate and motivated!