About Astute.

Why choose Astute?

Astute Early Years Specialists are the leaders in Childcare Management and consultancy services. If you’re an approved provider, service owner, centre manager, team member or teacher then you are going to love us and our team of epic (fearless, talented and legendary) specialists.

Why? Because we get it: all of it. Big services, small kindergartens, great (read exceeding) and working towards great – when it comes to early years, we have experienced it!

That’s why we provide advice and support to ensure compliance, improve your rating and streamline operations, all the while the showing the leadership qualities of a superhero.

Meet our team below and see how we can help transform your childcare centre.

Our Values


We respect our people, our network and the work that we do each day. We understand the value each individual person brings to the world and build relationships that are mutually respectful. Astute embraces & respects individual ideas and ways of thinking.


We strive for excellence in every way and in everything we do. When we set to do something, we do it to the highest quality & standard attainable. Our performance & deliverables are second to none. We guide Centre Owners, Approved Providers, Managers and Team members to deliver excellence across all facets of their business.


Our people are our family. At Astute relationships are nurtured, valued and integral to our work. We foster strong connections with our clients, centres, team members & stakeholders that become long-term relationships.

Children are important

The wellbeing of children is central to everything we do. At Astute, our purpose is to support Centre Owners, Approved Providers, Managers & Teams to deliver the highest quality education and care programs to children. Children are our future and they deserve to be nurtured, supported and provided with loving environments & community for their early learning journey.

Meet our expert team

Mel Comerford

Director & Founder

Mel is an experienced early childhood professional with more than 25 years working in the early years sector and is passionate about and dedicated

Kylie Dawson

Early Years & Adult Professional Learning Specialist

Kylie is an experienced early childhood professional who is extremely passionate about supporting centre communities to work together to provide their children with high

Natalie McDonald

Business and Marketing Manager

Natalie is an experienced marketing, communication, and project management professional, with over 13 years’ experience within the early childhood sector. She joins Astute Early

Emma Thomas

Early Years Specialist & Educational Leader

Emma is a Kindergarten teacher with more than 15 years experience in early childhood education. As the eldest of 5 kids, she has always

Rebecca Donaldson

Early Years Specialist

Hi, I’m Bec. I’m a passionate Early Years Specialist with a wide range of experience stemming from over 14 years working in the early

Gail Lindner

Digital & Creative Marketing Coordinator

Gail is an experienced social media and marketing professional with a background in supporting kindergarten and early childhood services. Within the Astute team, she
Kellie Blinco

Kellie Blinco

Early Years Specialist

Hi, I’m Kellie and I am proud to have been an early childhood professional for 20 years long day care, family day care and

Ashleigh Marshall-Payne

Accounts Manager

Ashleigh is a qualified Bookkeeper and Trust Accountant who has worked in the Accounting & Bookkeeping Industry for over 6 years. She has completed

Rachael Vogel

Early Years Specialist

Rachael Vogel is a Bachelor qualified early childhood teacher who has worked in the community services sector for almost 20 years. Specialising in Early
Shantel Dixon

Shantel Dixon

Family Journey Specialist

Hi, I’m Shantel and I have worked in the early years learning sector for over a decade. I am Diploma trained and worked on

Olivia Ritchie

Marketing & Events Officer

Olivia is an experienced Marketing and Events Officer with a background in design, and various in-centre roles. Within the Astute team, Olivia provides support
Astute Early Years Specialists

Build a World of Play!

Astute Early Years Specialists’ very own Kylie Dawson recently worked on The Lego Foundation’s #buildaworldofplay campaign. Kylie is proud of the resources

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Contact us today and let our team of early years specialists work their magic.