Our team of dedicated Educators are training, or trained and qualified in Early Childhood Education. They aim to provide the very best care and preparation for your child’s educational future.

Nikki Payne is the Director of the centre and has been with Stepping Stones since it opened in 2010. Her background in teaching is an invaluable resource in the overall planning and day-to-day running of the centre. She enjoys welcoming new people and building good partnerships with families. Nikki makes every effort to make sure each child and their family has the best experience possible while being a part of the Stepping Stones community.

Classroom Staff


Educator – Kiarah Vincent

After working with Stepping Stones last year on a casual basis, Kiarah has become a regular this year and also balances her work with studying the certificate III in early childhood and education. Kiarah also volunteers her time to assist at the East Freo Church playgroup.

Educator – Anu Daniels

Anu has trained with a certificate III in Early Childhood from New Zealand. Anu started working casually at Stepping Stones four years ago, and last year she joined the team on a regular basis. Anu enjoys cooking and baking, and is also involved with the kids ministry at the East Freo Church.

Educator – Jessica Tanoa

Jessica studied her Certificate III educational assistant over 5 years ago, however has only last year returned to working with children in joining the Stepping Stones team in 2018. Away from work Jessica enjoys event planning, home décor and styling and spending time with family.

Educator & Supervisor – Ellandra Taplin

Ellandra is studying the Bachelor of Education: Early Childhood & Primary and also has a Certificate III in Education Support. Previously she worked in OSHC for 5+ years as a Coordinator, but in 2018 she joined the Stepping Stones team.  Ellandra loves to sing with the children, read, knit, bake and spend time with family and friends and family.

Educator & Supervisor – Cynthia Cobussen

Cynthia has completed a Certificate III in Education Support and 2019 will be her fifth year at Stepping Stones. Cynthia enjoys gardening and promoting sustainability initiatives which is something she loves to share with the children.


Stepping Stones Board Members

Harold Preston
The Chairman of the Stepping Stones Board since Oct 2016 and member since March 2016, Harold is currently involved in the Aged & Community Care industry and is a CPA with 40 years finance and management experience. His vision for Stepping Stones is to provide a great care and educational environment for young families.

Vari Flay

Vari is a Mum of three, so has a hands-on understanding of young families’ needs. Her youngest child currently attending at Stepping Stones. Vari has been in the marketing, media and advertising industry for over 15 years and has also been an active member on a number of Boards.

Brian McDonald
Brian is Chairperson of the East Freo Church Council. He is an experienced Senior Business Leader, having worked in large-scale corporate settings with several global companies. His qualifications include being a Graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD), an Executive MBA (AGSM), a Graduate Diploma in Applied Finance and Investment (SIA) and Bachelor of Metallurgical Engineering (UNSW).

Dale Du Pont Milliken

Dale is a qualified early years teacher with over 35 years of experience working with children in Africa, the United Kingdom and Australia. Dale completed a Master of Education (Leadership and Management) 5 years ago.