If you visit The Merrell kindergarten on a Friday, chances are you’ll be invited to share a cup of home brewed Chai. “Suman and Serita taught us how to make it from scratch” says NS Rebecca “Everyone who comes here makes their mark, it’s really special. And a lot can be sorted out over a cup of tea!” 

The Merrell team Tuti, Suman, Serita, Susie, Nithiya and Rebecca, are big believers in the power of communication. “We talk through everything. We reflect constantly, and conversation is the key” Rebecca reflects. “We’re all here with the same goal and know how to say sorry and not sweat the small stuff.” 

And based on the energy in this busy and creative kindergarten, the team’s approach is working. This is a space to play, learn and grow. 

“We accept that we don’t know everything which means we never stop learning and reflecting. I go to work happy every day because I know I’m going to learn something new.” And that might include learning new words from Tuti. “As well as English, she speaks Mandarin, Cantonese, Bahasa, Japanese and now Korean – we call her the Multilingual Superstar!” 

Practice Coach Melissa Dann says the team’s great dynamic is the result of clear communication, empathy and creativity. “They’ve welcomed two new team members this year. They take the time to get to know one another, listen and learn from each other. There’s a huge amount of respect for the different qualities, cultural knowledge and life experiences each person brings. Rebecca supports this by creating space for respectful reflection and conversations.” 

Rebecca says the team looks for the best in each other. “We’re supportive and share all the jobs, no matter what our title is.” The children see the way the team interacts, and model these respectful relationships. “We’re on the same level. At the end of the day, we’re all Merrell People, whatever our age or designation.” 

About us: The Merrell is a thriving single room 3- and 4-year-old kindergarten in the eastern suburb of North Balwyn.