Our Early Years Educators


Shanna Winstanley 

Shanna is very passionate about early years education and sees working with children as a privilege and an opportunity to share her enthusiasm for learning through play. Shanna brings a distinctive outdoor focus into developing the curriculum at Smiley Sunflowers.

Shanna is a calm and gentle person who really enjoys her work and sees each child as a talented and imaginative little individual. Shanna believes that childhood is a magical period of time for a child and enjoys introducing creative activities with this in mind.

Shanna is a mum to two young children and is a qualified teacher registered with the Teaching Council in Ireland. Shanna is currently studying her Masters in Childhood and Youth studies.

Mary Phelan
Manager and Early Years Educator

Mary is a mum to four grown-up children and as a committed and experienced teacher she gains a remarkable understanding of each child in her care.

Mary’s calm, confident and gentle nature helps children to really feel secure and settled at school. Mary is extremely fair and respectful at all times to parents, children and her colleagues and for the children this is especially important when learning about sharing, waiting your turn and being kind to each other.

Mary takes the time to really listen to what each child is saying and sees each child as a capable and independent little person.

Mary has a special interest in High Scope education and brings this dynamic to the pre-school curriculum. Mary achieved distinction in both the Fetac 5 Certificate in Childcare and the Fetac 6 Advanced Certificate in Early Childhood Care and Education.

Erica Guiry 
Early Years Educator

Erica is a mum to three lovely children and her range of talents is so vast that it would be very difficult to name them all. Erica draws, sews and creates with such style and designed our beautiful Montessori area.

Erica is so talented in her ability to create amazing activities for the children, in particular with the use of natural materials and resources, which are creatively used both indoors and outdoors.

Erica is a motivated, considerate and kind person and a dedicated teacher who sincerely cares about each child’s well-being. Erica completed her Fetac 6 Advanced Certificate in Early Childhood Care and Education with distinction.

Melanie Chipperfield
Early Years Educator

Mel is a mum to two adorable young children and is an exceptionally gentle, calm and kind person who is ideally suited to working with pre-school children.

Mel enjoys introducing new ideas and fun activities and is very in tune with the needs of each child in her care. Children respond positively to Mel’s playful and reassuring manner and this really extends into developing positive and affirming relationships with the children at Smiley Sunflowers.

Mel completed both the Fetac 5 and 6 Certificates in Early Childhood Care and Education.