Our Team are ready to welcome you to our fabulous space and will ensure that your Little One enjoys learning and playing at Small Friends as much as we all love working here!
Each of us is fully qualified having achieved either a Certificate lll or Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care, or Teaching degrees, and our years of experience and passion for working in the world of education is what makes Small Friends an awesome place to learn and play!
We all love working in our amazing space and all of us have been working as part of the Small Friends team for quite a while. Our working lives at Small Friends start back as far as 2001 through to 2018, so our team has plenty of experience in making sure our Small Friends grow to become confident Little People not only at school, but in life!
Our Owner & Teacher
My name is Natassja Hannay and I am the Owner, Teacher and Educational Leader here at Small Friends. My husband Duncan and myself have been the owners since March 2013, and while Duncan commits his time to his corporate day job I’m the lucky one who gets to be part of the Small Friends world everyday!
I have a Bachelor of Arts Primary Education and a Bachelor of Education in Special Education, degrees which gave me the opportunity to work as a teacher of children with disabilities for 18 years. My first position for 2 years was at Castlereagh School in Willetton as the Music and Drama Specialist, which I loved every minute of because I certainly don’t mind being part of anything that has to do with ‘song and dance’! I then worked for 16 years at Malibu School in Safety Bay as a classroom teacher, Acting Deputy Principal and for the last 12 years I was the IT Specialist. My career was always busy and exciting as I was offered career opportunities that many teachers in Education Support may never experience, as I got to work alongside children aged 4 to 18 challenged with severe and multiple disabilities that brought hurdles in life that many of us would never experience.
Working in the world of special needs always challenged my knowledge and skills because as a teacher my job was to ensure that all of the students I taught could learn with the challenges their disabilities put before them. I was reminded on a daily basis that in life we often take it for granted that many of us are born with the ability to learn, but the children I had the privilege to teach needed someone to help them to work out 'how' to learn first. And even though the goals we set together sometimes seemed unreachable, when we reached those goals, the smiles and sense of achievement were amazing. For me the smile on the face of a child who realises that they can do something... is worth everything.
I loved my career, and was privileged to work with many fantastic students and families during my years of teaching. However I always wanted to something of my own and I made the decision to look for a change...but what to do? Luckily for me, Small Friends came into my life!
When my son Stirling was 2 and half I found myself at the door of Small Friends Playschool in Singleton, and as soon I stepped into the foyer I knew that it was the place for our little boy. And as we all do as parents, we ‘critique’ the space and people that will be working alongside our kiddies. As a Mum, I got ‘that feeling’ that everything would be alright for Stirling, and that he would love to become a Small Friend. As a teacher I felt I had found a space that would not only inspire him to learn, but would do it in a way that many children would never get the chance to experience, and I wanted him to have that experience! He loved his time as a Small Friend as did his little sister Elora when she joined our family.
From Stirling's first day our family were well and truly Small Friends fans and over the years we had the honour of getting to know Jane Field, the original owner of our Small Friends in Falcon. In 2012 Jane paid me the biggest compliment I have ever been given when she told me that she believed I was the person who had the passion and the heart to take over her Falcon playschool. My career path changed direction and I retired from teaching in February of 2013, and although I miss my life at Malibu I still get to use all of my teaching skills and knowledge to work with my fabulous team, and all of the little ones who ring the bell at Small Friends.
Since taking on the business I have completed a Diploma of Early Childhood Care and Education, and as the Early Childhood Teacher of our fabulous playschool I have the pleasure of making sure our program and spaces reflect all the awesome aspects of the Early Years Framework, where play based learning is helping our Small Friends to become social and connected little learners.