About The Network

Between September 2020 and June 2021, the NSW Department of Education funded the creation of a new Early Education Leaders Peer Network for professionals in early childhood education under the Sector Development Program.

As the peak body for early education and care in NSW, Community Early Learning Australia (CELA) was appointed to establish and now lead the initiative.

The Early Education Leaders Peer Network is:

  • A community of practice connecting a group of people who share a concern or a passion and helping them to learn and enhance practice together.
  • A space to support leaders with peer connections, topic forums, information sessions and downloadable resources to undertake their role and improve their practice.

Why has the peer network been created?

We know that early childhood professionals are dedicated to the future of Australia’s children, often working long hours in sometimes stressful situations to educate and care for Australia’s most precious citizens. Many early educators feel isolated. Worse, some are leaving the sector due to factors such as burnout, stress and lack of support. Through research, early educators have told us that they need better support and an easier way to come together to solve problems and stay up to date with the latest thinking. This network is a place to draw on each others knowledge and feel connected, without being judged.

What members can give

  • Your experience, your challenges and willingness to share ideas and resources to shape a community of practice.
  • A desire to bridge professional isolation through engaging with others.

How you will benefit

  • You will gain insights to help you elevate the quality of your practice and leadership knowledge.
  • You will gain access to a likeminded network focused on collaboration through accessible platforms where challenges can be shared, innovation explored, and new ways of thinking ignited.
  • You will be part of a peer-to-peer network /community to enhance professional growth.

Did you know?

Your participation in the NSW Early Education Leaders Peer Network can contribute to your NESA hours as Elective PD.

NESA Elective PD must meet the Australian professional teaching standards at the applicable accreditation level and be selected from the list of approved Elective PD activities. The Elective PD recorded for your maintenance of accreditation requirements must also address specified Elective PD criteria guidelines.

CELA has reviewed these guidelines for the Early Education Leaders Peer Network initiative and have aligned this initiative with;

  • Standard 7 from the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers, ‘Professional Engagement Standard 7 – Engage Professionally with colleagues, parents, carers and the community’, specifically;
  • 7.4 Engage with professional teaching networks and broader communities.

For more information on NESA accreditation please visit the following links: · Changes to NESA PD requirements; PD requirements | NSW Education Standards · For further scenario information please visit; Transition arrangement scenarios | NSW Education Standards

About the Champions

The principal role of the Early Education Leaders Peer Network Champions is to govern the network. They are integral to shaping a community that works with and for you as a safe and informative space to share ideas, discuss and learn. They are volunteering their time.

The Champions have been selected from within the sector based on their range of areas of experience, knowledge, and governance experience. Learn more about them by reading each of their messages to Members.

They are active on the Forum and keen to hear from you.

Meet the champions

Hello and Walaawani.

My name is Narelle Myers. I am the Director/ Teacher at Bermagui Preschool located on the far South Coast of NSW, on Djiringanj land in the Yuin Nation. I am very honoured and excited about the Early Education Leaders Peer Network and working with a group of passionate and like-minded people.

I am a strong advocate for Early Childhood Education and the opportunities it affords our children, families and communities as a whole. I value the chance for our children and families to access not just excellent, but outstanding educational opportunities. I believe this starts with strengthening ourselves and our Educational Leaders to feel supported and well-resourced to undertake their roles.

We have a remarkable depth of knowledge that is often underutilized because of the nature and complexity of Early Childhood systems and our workloads. Networking together is an effective way of sharing information and supporting and strengthening each other. Connecting with people on the same journey is like a lifeline… sharing, brainstorming, and always walking away feeling inspired, stronger and not alone. Using this “bottom up” model to share our voices and enact positive change is an exciting prospect.

On a personal note, I have avidly fulfilled a career spanning 30 years in varied contexts of Early Childhood Education, including Preschool, Long Day Care, OSCH, Family Day Care, Community Service and Outreach Projects. I currently work directly with our Preschool children and families with one administration day a week and am keenly committed to quality improvements in ways that are easy, effective and time efficient.

Originally from Perth WA, I have lived in Bermagui for over 20 years. With my husband Kelvin, our 15-year-old daughter Danika and our very friendly border collie Wylie, we have developed and built lasting relationships with friends, families and our community.

I look forward to meeting you all very soon, hearing your stories and working with you.


Hi everyone,

I am Jannelle Gallagher with 40 years’ experience as an early childhood professional. During that time, I have advocated for affordability and the rights of all children and families to access a high quality early childhood education program.

I am so grateful for my critical friendships with lecturers from Newcastle University, my “old” team at Kurri Kurri Preschool and our children who courageously challenged my thinking and positively impacted on my ways of working.

I have co-authored several articles published in international journals and reference books.

Currently I have put my retirement on hold to resume my career.
Looking forward to our journey.


Hello everyone,

My name is Kathy Phipps and I have a background in education that spans 40 years with the last 27 years teaching and leading in the early childhood sector. I completed a Masters in Education with a focus on leadership.

My journey in early childhood began with my husband when we built and ran a 39-place long day-care centre in a small regional town on the far south coast of NSW. Since then, I have worked in a number of private and not-for-profit long day-care services and community-based preschools.

I currently have the privilege of leading and nurturing a passionate educational team. A team that creates educational settings for the children that allows them to be free in their play to explore, discover and imagine through intentional and spontaneous learning experiences – to truly grow in agency and connection. A learning environment that honours their interests and choices.


Learn more about the Peer Network

NSW Department of Education funded the Peer Network under the Sector Development Program from September 2020 to June 2021.