About us

About Us

Our Philosophy

The Learning Cottage is founded on our holistic approach to learning, meaningful relationships and a safe, home like environment. We believe all children should be treated with equality and their linguistic diversity should be embraced and acknowledged. We encourage each child’s uniqueness and strive to provide an environment where children’s interests, creativity, curiosity and sense of agency is provided.

We work closely with our children, families and community to create a program that is meaningful and relative to the children’s interests, strengths and areas of development. Our educators acknowledge this and ensure The Early Years Framework is implemented through quality practices and guidance for your child’s learning. Our team upholds a professional and nurturing approach to early education, using critical reflective practices and strong communication between our children and families.

We’re very passionate about sustainability and educating children on the importance of taking care of our bodies, land, water and other living beings.

We utilise local resources, organisations and events to further our services involvement within the community. Our team will continue to seek opportunities to extend on our existing knowledge of our surrounding land and people, sharing this within our service’s discussions, programs and environments. The Learning Cottage is proud of Lismore’s & Wollongbar’s identity and we strive to celebrate and nurture it’s unique community.

Environment is Central

Children are provided with a balance of active and quiet activities, and rest time is provided each day. Balances of indoor and outdoor experiences are incorporated into our daily routine through our indoor and outdoor programs.

We make sure your child is surrounded by the care and warmth they require to grow, in a safe and nurturing environment.

Relationships are Key

Families are encouraged to share their culture, language and home experiences with our centre. Our emphasis is on partnerships with families and the greater community. Families are encouraged to participate in the centre and share in decision making as they are recognised as their child’s first teacher. They are included in centre activities through our calendar of events and open-door policy.

Enriching activities

Children are provided with a balance of active and quiet activities, and rest time is provided each day. Balances of indoor and outdoor experiences are incorporated into our daily routine through our indoor and outdoor programs.

Positive behavioural encouragement

Positive encouragement and reinforcement are used as tools at The Learning Cottage to direct and promote behaviours. Through positive encouragement and experiences, we aim to build high self-esteem and self-worth in the children and staff role model positive behaviour and communication skills.

Our program is inclusive of children with special needs. Programs and plans will reflect the individual child’s needs. Where appropriate, resource workers will be utilised.

The Munch & Move initiative

This Munch & Move government initiative advocates for and supports healthy development of children of up to five years of age. The movement endorses a balance of physical activity, a healthy diet and minimal TV/tablet time to instil healthy lifestyles from a young age. The Learning Cottage supports the New South Wales government’s priority of decreasing childhood obesity; healthy habits start at birth!

For more information on their programs, click here.

Julie Oatley

Director of The Learning Cottage, Lismore

Hi, my name is Julie Oatley I am the Director at The Learning Cottage Lismore. I hold a Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood ) teaching degree and I have been working in the Education and Care Industry for almost 20 years in a variety of roles.
At The learning Cottage, as team leader, I will ensure we provide excellent education and care for your children, In a safe and secure environment whilst maintaining respectful relationships with all centre and community stakeholders.
My understanding that early childhood is a time of growth and change means I encourage an atmosphere that promotes positive development and supports children by providing guidance and positive experiences through a play based program. Using the Early Years learning Framework, National Quality Standards and Child Care Regulations as the foundation of the learning and curriculum. I abide by the Early Childhood Code of Ethics and recognise the Rights of Children.

Please feel free to stop and chat I am happy to answer any questions you may have and please let me know of any events happening with your child/family.

Rachel Brentnall

Director of The Learning Cottage, Wollongbar

Hi. I am Rachel Brentnall, Director of The Learning Cottage, Wollongbar.
I am very fortunate to lead the fantastic team of educators here and offer the community outstanding care for their children in an incredible learning environment.

Our mission at The Learning Cottage is provide high quality, inclusive and stimulating early childhood education in a safe, comfortable, and inspiring environment. I have worked in this centre for the last 20 years, leading both the babies’ room and the centre, and have formed firm and lasting relationships with many families from Wollongbar and its surrounds. I truly feel a part of this community and I work every day to deliver a service that benefits the children in our care, their families, and the wider community. Together with every one of our dedicated educators, we aim to form strong relationships with the children and families we work with, and provide a program and space that inspires everyone who enters our centre to want to join in and learn all they can and have fun.