Shannon Exner 

Centre Manager - Manly Vale Early Learning Services


“I believe that children should not just be a number in a system but should be viewed as a unique individual who is valued for who they are.”

I began my career in early childhood education and care in South Africa in 2010 while I was still studying my degree in early childhood. I worked in a private school where I was a classroom assistant as well as a relief teacher. I have a degree in Early Childhood education and an honours degree in educational psychology. I have many years of experience which range in a variety of age groups but have found that my passion lies with the early years. I have an up to date First Aid and CPR certificate and have completed beneficial courses that have assisted in my growth as and early childhood educator. I am also trained in the Reggio Emilia teaching approach and was incredibly lucky to attend their annual international conference that is held in Italy. 

I will never forget my schooling days and how much I disliked having to attend school daily. I was quiet and reserved, the teachers did not know me and very few of them believed that I would not amount to anything in life. It was due to this that I chose to become a teacher. I wanted to change the way teaching was done and the way children are treated. I believe that children should not just be a number in a system, but should be viewed as a unique individual who is valued for who they are, and are encouraged on a daily basis to be the best version of themselves. It is my passion to change the perception that children have of school and learning. Learning should be fun and interactive and a process of enquiry. I would like children to be excited and passionate about learning. I want to encourage children to always strive for their best, and to never give up. I feel it is our duty as teachers to find an area of strength in every child and encourage the children to focus on these strengths, and how to develop this into its fullest potential. In the words of Loris Malaguzzi – ‘the wider the range of possibilities we offer the children, the more intense will be their motivations and the richer their experiences.’ I feel children should be given opportunities to learn and discover to ensure rich experiences take place in their lives. All children deserve teachers who encourage them, believe in them, support them and nurture them, no matter what!

Here at Manly Vale Early Learning Services, we follow the early years learning framework through an educational program that is child specific. We cater for different learning areas which focus on the child as a whole. Children are encouraged to participate in this program, however if they choose to follow their own learning choices the team members support this. Our program is focused on play-based learning where we feel that learning through play is incredibly beneficial to the children. We help children develop their self-help skills which will later benefit them when they get to school. We have dedicated early childhood teachers which work in our preschool rooms to ensure the children are meeting their learning needs which will set them on the right path for school. Each of our rooms ensures that the children’s interests and passions are catered for, and therefore the rooms all have their own provocations/field of interest (themes) that they focus on weekly. We do encourage families to participate in the child’s learning and to share information about their interests with the team. 

We have a team that is incredibly dedicated and passionate about what they do. They are all here for the same reason, and that is a passion for children and helping them learn and grow. Many of our team members have been here well over 5 years and some of them are even reaching the 15-year mark. Our team represent a multicultural environment and represent many countries from around the world. The team are committed passionate and positive about their roles here at the centre. We are all here to help the children succeed and grow into the best versions of themselves. They create an environment that is a home away from home for the children and ensure the children feel love and are supported. Many of our team members have children of their own which allows them a deeper understanding of children. 

The health and safety of the children and teams is very important. We ensure that all health and safety practices that are outlined by the department of education and G8 Education are implemented in our daily practices. We ensure that our learning environments are safe for the children and free of any hazards. We let families know when their children have had accidents at school by a personal phone call. Team members have up to date First Aid and CPR certificates that are updated yearly. During the COVID pandemic staff members where trained and followed extreme caution to ensure minimal risk of the spreading of germs. 

The team all have great relationships with the families and ensure that families feel settled and welcomed. We allow for families to ‘play-visits’ with their children before they begin at the centre. This allows for both the children and parents to get to know the team properly before they begin. 

The team support the families daily. They understand that life can be chaotic and at times overwhelming. We always have a listening ear and try to assist as far as possible. For special occasions during the year we try and bring our families together by having special events (eg, Father Day breakfast).  

The team and myself understand that sending your precious bundles to care for the first time (or to a new centre) can be incredibly overwhelming and at times this process is often more difficult for the parents than it is for the child. We are all you to support you in your journey of childcare. This can be done through the enrolment process, play visits, sharing tips and tricks to help with the child’s development and just having a listening ear. 

A fun fact about me is that I have two fur-children. One is a Jack Russel cross Bull Terrier and his name is Moe, and the other is a Staffy cross Foxy and her name is Maxi. They are exactly like little toddlers and have the best personalities. 

We look forward to welcoming you at Manly Vale Early Learning Services.

Call to enquire 1800 413 885