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This is the first interview in our new Radiant Conscious Beauty series that showcases people who demonstrate, what we call, radiant conscious beauty – having an uplifting effect on the world through their presence and actions. We hope you enjoy this series and we’d love to know who in your community expresses radiant conscious beauty.


It is a small not-for-profit daycare and preschool nestled in the Byron hinterland. Informed by her childhood, her faith and the nature that surrounds her home and the centre, Mandala creates space for children to learn about their sense of self, their community and the natural world. Mandala was kind enough to find some time to share some of her story with us.

What brought you to the Northern Rivers and what do you love most about this region and community?

I moved to Uki in 1973 with my parents to live in a commune but unfortunately we had to return to America with my father in 1974 due to the White Australia Policy. We then lived in Woodstock for 5 years.

When I was five, I returned to the region to live with my father in Palmwoods, just outside of Mullumbimby. My childhood was split across Palmwoods and Sydney where I lived with my mother for part of my schooling.

Now I live back on my father’s property in Palmwoods. I’ve lived in many other areas during my life, however I was drawn back to this unique part of the world because of its connection to the environment, people and to country.

What led you to this path of educating all these wonderful little beings?

I was inspired by my mother who was a teacher and I used to role play being a teacher when I was a child. My step father always advised me to make your vocation your occupation, and I feel like that’s exactly what I’ve done. I love children and believe that if we want to make a positive change in this world it starts with them. I am committed to contributing to make this world a better place through nurturing children to be conscious, confident human beings.

What are some of your personal joys or rituals that help keep you healthy and present in such a busy role?

I pray five times daily and find peace and joy in listening to the Quran and nature. I have always and still do have a deep appreciation for Nature and find being still in nature truly euphoric. Starting the day with gratitude and having a positive outlook on life is what I am embodying now and surrendering to the will of the Divine (Allah). In everything I do right now, I try to embody the attitude of Inshallah (If God wills).

I stay healthy and present Inshallah through prayer, Yin yoga, bike riding, organic foods, positive thinking, attending Jummah (Friday prayer at the Mosque), and natural supplements as needed. I also use pranic healing and breath work. When needed I seek treatments from osteopathy, Acupuncture and Somatic therapy.

What are you learning about yourself, family and the world around you?

I am currently focusing on healing past trauma and really listening to my body. I believe our body manifests what we need to heal on a metaphysical level.

On another level I am aware that I need to accept and ask for help when needed. This has been an area I have had resistance to in the past. I am observing family and what is happening in the world and providing loving support where I feel a calling. I know deep within my soul that we need to see the positive in one another and make conscious actions for the care of our environment.

There are lots of underground movements mushrooming across the world. Do you feel positive about the future for humanity?

Yes. I feel positive about the Divine will of Allah. People are only an instrument of the divine will. There are some wonderful movements to sustainable practices and conscious ways. I highly respect Synthesis Organics for their morals and products. In honesty though, I do have some concerns about the focus on external appearance and how fast we are moving with AI and the impact this will have on children.

It must be an absolute joy to be creating leaders of our future and observing kids outdoors in nature, connecting and growing. What are some of the highlights of the day for you?

Seeing children’s complete joy in the wonder of nature. To hear children talking amongst themselves about nature. I love seeing them being true environmental activists. Hearing children express how they feel and knowing it is okay to have an array of emotions. And observing them show genuine care for others.

What can children teach us all about life and how to live in the world?

Be present in the moment, ground, breathe, be truthful, slow down and observe, and think before reacting.

Are there any specific education models you base the centre’s education model on?

We follow Nature’s Pedagogy which is the practice of teaching and learning with and in nature. It is an understanding of our sense of belonging to the land, our senses or working with nature. It’s learning with nature, not just teaching about nature.

The aim of the practice is to teach holistically through the engagement of hands, heart and mind alongside nature to develop the whole learner, cognitively, socially, and physically as well as having fun.

Our program includes the 8 way approach which is: storytelling, community links, learning maps, deconstruct/construct, non-linear, non-verbal, symbols and images and landmarks. 

What are some of the core values you impart for the kids?

Our philosophy and practices value children's voices. Uninterrupted play is an important part of our approach. We focus on what behaviour we would like rather than what we don’t, using respectful non-violent communication and getting down to the children's level. We prioritise making the day fun, being positive role models, using positive acknowledgments and really listening to the children. Individual plans for each child with goals that are developed in collaboration with parents and are linked with the early years learning framework. Ultimately, we really try to teach acceptance and respect that we are all diverse.

What are your goals or aspirations for the coming years?

We have a bush tucker classroom and Koala restaurant out the back of the centre and I would love to extend the Koala restaurant, so it joins to make a koala corridor. This will involve removing the camphor patch through chemical-free bush regeneration. I’d also like to extend our Bush Kindy program so that children have the chance to really build on their love and care for nature and develop more knowledge of local Aboriginal cultural perspectives. Within this, I would like to be able to employ a Widjabul Wia-bal educator to teach language and culture to the kids on a regular basis. I want to ensure that through sustainable enrolments we can ensure our educators receive the wage they deserve for their incredible and passionate work. And I would like to create connections between our children and children in remote Aboriginal communities so we can become reconciliation in action.

I want us to inspire other centres and communities to be conscious and active carers of our unique local animals and nature.

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