Melinda Van Der Reest

Consultant

Email: melinda@earlylife.com.au

Melinda is a passionate children's advocate with more than 25 years of experience working with young children and their families in Community and Independent settings.  She has Early Childhood and Primary training as well as a Bachelor of Special Education and an Advanced Certificate of Child and Family development.

In her last teaching role Melinda was founding Director and Leading Teacher of the Early Learning Centre at Caulfield Grammar School, Wheelers Hill campus.  A role she continued enthusiastically for 21 years.  As a member of the staff leadership team Melinda was involved in teaching, recruiting and training staff, working closely with families and Junior School staff and leadership to provide optimal pastoral care, quality teaching programs and inspirational learning environments for the children.  This included the development of Reggio inspired classrooms and outdoor play spaces, tailored specialist classes for Pre-Preparatory children and a weekly Bush Kinder program in neighbouring Jells Park.

Melinda has supported children and families with a wide range of needs and backgrounds from social/learning difficulties, school readiness, anxiety and impulsive behaviour as well as English as and additional Language.  She has conducted information sessions and worked closely with other professionals such as psychologists, speech therapists and occupational therapists to assist all children to access programs and reach potentials.  She has also been involved in a Monash University pilot programme and study to meet needs of young children of high intellectual potential.

Melinda has recently worked as an Early Childhood parent consultant providing advice to parents of babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers in their own homes.