About Us

Our Teachers

Our Staff

Our Educational program is run by qualified Early Childhood Teachers with a wealth of experience in Early Childhood Education.

Mel Wise – Director/Teacher

My name is Mel Wise. I am the Teaching Director at Koala Playschool.

At Koalas I aim to create a vibrant, child-centred, play-based learning program that the children love to come to each day!

I have been an educator for many years, working in playschools, preschools and several cultural institutions. My passion is working with young children and their families and developing strong reciprocal relationships with both my students and the broader community. I love instilling in our youngest learners a sense of wonder in the world around them and to inspire them to be curious and creative in their approach to their learning.

I have two (adult!) boys that attended Koalas many years ago. In my spare time I enjoy hiking, diving and snorkelling, travelling, caring for wildlife (I often have baby possums in my care) and catching up with friends and family. I love a good adventure – be it swimming with whalesharks, hiking the Overland Track or a safari in Africa!

Kristine Price

I recently completed my Certificate 4 in Education Support and have been so lucky to have the opportunity to work at Koalas Playschool with Mel. I absolutely love working at this beautiful school.

I used to own and run a tennis business in Kaleen where I coached all ages – including Mel! I love tennis and coaching however the family juggle was hard with both myself and my husband – Nathan, having late nights on the court. I have 2 boys – Billy and Eddie who are in year 4 and year 1 respectively. They both came to Koalas and loved it.

I now own and operate an advertising business called Holiday Happenings.

In my spare time I love going to the gym, playing tennis with my boys and hanging out with my friends.

I love working at Koalas.

Lucy McDevitt

I became passionate about early childhood education and care in 2011 when my eldest son attended Wombats Playschool in Page. It was here that I first met Mel, one of the early childhood teachers. My experience of Playschool was so positive that I went on to complete my qualifications in early childhood education and care. I feel playschools provide a wonderful foundation for children to begin their schooling journey. I continue to be inspired everyday by our amazing teacher, Mel.

I have also completed my group fitness qualifications and work as a fitness instructor at Fernwood Belconnen. I teach the older ladies as well as classes for new mums and their babies. I love this too as I am passionate about helping women with their physical and mental wellbeing through exercise. Prior to working in fitness and children’s education and care, I worked as an Occupational Therapist in a variety of healthcare and workplace settings.

I am a mum to 4 very busy and noisy boys ranging in age from 7 to 14.  I also have a male cat and dog and a husband, so I’m very outnumbered on the female front!

In what little spare time I have left, I enjoy catching up with friends, going to the gym, outdoor exercise, and browsing around an op shop or two!

I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to build relationships with the beautiful children and their families at Koala’s Playschool. It is very rewarding to watch the children grow and develop and become ready to make the transition to Preschool.

I love working at Koalas!

Our History

Koala Playschool was established by the community for the education of three year olds in 1990. Founded by Marjory Pashley, Koala Playschool addressed a rising need for structured activities for three to four year olds. Initially the program was run at Aranda Preschool.

From 2007, Koala Playschool operated from both the Page Preschool and Aranda Preschool sites until we were successful in obtaining the old Cook Preschool site as our permanent home from February 2010. All sessions run from our newly refurbished premises at 8 Rowan Street, Cook.

Sally Black was the Teaching Director at Koala Playschool for 23 years. Her passion for early childhood education and her vision to create a vibrant, engaging learning community with a strong focus on a nature-based program, has seen Koala Playschool become an intrinsic part of many families’ lives.

Mel Wise took over the Teaching Director position in 2019. She has developed strong reciprocal relationships with the Koala Playschool children and families, strengthening the sense of community that makes Koala Playschool a unique a special place for children, a ‘second home’. After two years navigating COVID challenges, pivoting to provide online learning, a website of resources and a collection of songs, stories and dances to share with the families, Mel is focused on further developing and enhancing Koala’s learning environment. We have updated our gardens to include an outdoor classroom, bee garden, balance beams and a new shed to store loose parts. Mel delights in the privilege in playing a significant role in children’s lives and in making Koalas a place that children love to come to.