Our Team


Our experienced and long serving educators have worked together for many years at Alchester Village Pre-school.
New staff, embrace our team dynamic. We are supportive, understanding of, recognize and utilize each other’s strengths and skills. All staff are adaptive and responsive to changes in the early childhood field that we feel reflect our kinder community’s needs.

Mrs Effie Papailiou

Diploma of Teaching (Early Childhood)
4 year old group educator

Effie has worked in early childhood for over 35 years. During this time she has worked in many different settings around Melbourne, including long daycare, 3 and 4 year old programs. This has given Effie great insight into different methods, styles and more importantly, given her the ability to adapt and adjust to change.

Effie has been at Alchester Village since 2001 and she loves the kindergarten, the other staff and the community. Effie holds a Diploma of Teaching (Early Childhood) and is continually updating her skills through various methods of professional development. She enjoys the constant challenges of introducing new styles and methods into the kinder setting.

Effie has a husband, John (who works in Graphic Design) and two adult children. Her son recently moved back to Melbourne after 8 years in Sydney.

He has 2 young sons, making Effie a doting and proud grandmother. Her daughter lives close by in Boronia.

She lives in Bentleigh East and despite the distance, still enjoys driving to Boronia and watching the sunrise each day. 

Effie enjoys all sports (as a spectator!) and loves sharing this with the children, especially world sporting events. She also enjoys going to the gym, going on long walks, drives on the weekend and catching up with friends over dinner and coffee.

Mrs Penny Conduit

Graduate Diploma in Teaching & Learning (Early Years)
Bachelor of Physical Education
3 year old group educator Wallaby group

Penny has been working in Early Childhood for 16 years, nine of those as an Early Childhood Teacher.  While completing her Bachelor of Physical Education, Penny worked in a variety of childcare settings with children aged 0-5 years.  After completing her Bachelor degree she wanted to further her skills and knowledge in order to teach younger children and completed a Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning (Early Years) which allows her to teach in Kindergartens and Primary Schools as well as Secondary schools.    

For the past 9 years Penny has worked as an Early Childhood teacher, beginning in Upwey, followed by Heathmont and now here at Alchester Village Pre-School where she began in 2021.  During this time she has mainly worked in 3 year old programs but has spent a couple of years team teaching in the 4 year old program as well.  Penny loves to watch the children learn and grow in all aspects of their learning and development and she also loves to incorporate Auslan sign language into her program.  Penny also works casually at some local primary and secondary schools on days that she is not at Alchester Village Pre-School.      

Penny has young twin girls who attended the 3 year old program here at Alchester Village Pre-School in 2018.  She lives locally with her girls and her husband.  In her spare time Penny enjoys watching and playing sports, especially Basketball and spending time with her family and friends.

Mrs Andrea Godwin

Certificate in Children’s Services
4 year old co-educator

When returning to the workforce after having children, Andrea decided on a career change and has been at our kinder since 2003. She holds a Certificate III in Children’s Services and also all current first aid, anaphylaxis and asthma certificates. Prior to kinder, Andrea worked in Long Day Care and for Connections which specialises in working closely with children who have additional needs. This gave her great experience in working collaboratively with other disciplines such as occupational therapy, physiotherapy, psychology, audiology and more.

Andrea is married to Peter (CSO Ambulance Victoria) and has three children who all attended Alchester Village Pre-School. Her eldest daughter Jessica is aHand Therapist, Katherine is a Psychologist and a music teacher and Cameron is completing an Arts Degree whilst he decides on his future.

Mrs Christine Ruff

Diploma in Education (Primary)
Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care
4 year old co-educator

Chris has a Bachelor of Arts with a Diploma of Education (Primary)
and a Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care. She taught
in primary school (specialist LOTE and classroom teacher) for eight
years until she started her family.

Chris and her husband have two adult children. They both attended
Alchester Village Pre-School many years ago.
Chris assisted on the Kinder committee and then began work as an assistant in 2007 and has worked as a 3 and 4-year-old group co-
educator for the past 16 years. Chris loves working with and being part of the Kinder community and watching the children develop.

She heads off to the beach with her family most holidays and loves
swimming, downhill skiing and walking in the bush.

Mrs Heidi Preston

Certificate III in children’s service
Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care
Co-educator for both Wallaby & Cockatoo in 2023

Heidi has been the 3 year old group Co Educator (Wallaby and Wombat) since 2014. She enjoys doing craft with the children and watching the children develop throughout the year.

Heidi and her husband have two children who also attended Alchester Village Preschool.

Heidi enjoys playing netball, gardening, spending time with family and friends and going away caravanning.

Mrs Lioba (Lio) Schmidt

Bachelor of Science (Mathematics)
Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care
4 year old group co-educator

After finishing her University Degree, Lioba migrated to Australia from Germany and lives with her husband. Lioba has always enjoyed working with children of all ages and decided on a career change after having her own children.

In her free time, Lioba enjoys camping and 4x4ing with her family and swimming and baking


When can my child start kinder?
  • Children need to have turned three before April 30 to begin 3 year old kinder at the start of the year
  • This means they cannot attend until their 3rd birthday. (impacts on Educator/child ratios)
  • If this is during term 1 you will still need to pay the term fee to hold the position open
  • We do not accept children who turn three later in that year
  • We encourage careful consideration of whether it is appropriate to have a child commence at a younger age. Evidence/experience, parental feedback all support, deferring entry into pre-school
What is the difference between “sessional” and “Long day care”?
  • With sessional kinder, the children come at set times, a few times per week, with the same staff
  • We follow the school term dates
  • They bring their own snacks to eat
  • Long day care, they attend for longer hours, may have several staff members throughout the day, have meals prepared. They operate during holiday breaks
Do I have to do “family kinder duty?”


  • We recognize that families are busy with work and /or other commitments
  • We welcome our families to attend at any time to see how the sessions runs, how your child participates. as well as talk to staff about any concerns. There is a duty roster put up for you to complete however you are able to attend at any time for as long as you like
  • Added help does enable more specific activities to be planned
  • Please note: We require parent helpers to have a working with children check, (volunteer cards are free)


What do I need to bring?
  • A bag is necessary for the children to take all manner of creations home. A large handled, durable bag (easy to open by your child) is preferred with your child’s name clearly marked on it. Please make sure it is big enough to fit a spare change of clothing and their lunch/snack box
  • Snacks for the children should include fresh fruits or vegetables (this applies to the 3 and 4 year old program)
  • Due to the longer session times of the 4 year old program, snacks could also include healthy sandwiches, cheese, wraps, yoghurt, dips and crackers. We strongly discourage chips, chocolates and cakes being eaten at kinder
  • Please try to keep packaging and processed food to a minimum or NOT at all
  • Children will be encouraged to eat nutritious snacks, emphasising it is only meant to be a snack. Fruits/vegetables may be cut at home, however, we will be able to do this at kinder during their snack time. It is also good practice to learn to bite into fruit and chew and this is a necessary part of developing their muscles used for speech
  • As a further extension of our healthy snack policy and promoting the drinking of water when thirsty, the children will be required to bring a drink bottle with their name on it. This will be placed on a trolley as they come in at the beginning of the session. They will have access to this, at all times during the session. They will be taken home daily. Please ensure that ONLY water is put into the drink bottles
  • Please make sure lunch boxes/containers are named (bottoms and lids) and are user friendly. Children get very frustrated when they cannot open them. Parents should feel free to speak to kinder staff if they have any questions or concerns about what spare clothing, as children feel more comfortable in their own clothing in cases when they get wet, messy in play, or have a toileting accident
When does kinder commence?
  • We follow the school term dates
  • However the beginning of each year is slightly modified to allow for interviews with all families
  • You come at an allocated time share information with your Educator, complete necessary forms, including any medical forms ie allergy, asthma plans
  • Children choose their pictures both in the foyer to hang up bags and in the bathroom to hang up hand towels, as well as get to know staff
  • There is a week or two of modified times the children will attend for a shorter times and in smaller groups as they adjust to coming to our pre-school


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Alchester Village Preschool acknowledges that we are on the traditional land of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We acknowledge their stories, traditions and living cultures and pay respect to all Elders, past and present.