Our Educators

Acorn to Oak believe staff are not just carers they are Early Childhood Educators with a friendly, loving disposition. Each one is highly qualified with many years of experience and expertise to meet with the individual needs of your child and family. All staff are encouraged to continue with their professional education development with in-house and external training.

All our staff are Garda vetted and policies and procedures are in place to ensure that your child is growing up in a loving, friendly, safe, secure and stimulating setting.

Meet The Team

Yvonne Winters

Hi, I’m Yvonne Winters and I am the Manager of Acorn To Oak.

I first started working @ Acorn to oak when the creche first opened in September 2007 as a childcare worker. Having worked in numerous rooms in the building I applied for the managers position in November 2011 in which I was successful.

Since then, I was successful in securing funding to expand the creche and increase our capacity and ECCE classrooms. This also allowed me to expand our afterschool service and breakfast club.

I hold a FETAC level 6 major award in childcare and also have a Diploma in Management, first aid, manual handling and HACCAP trained.

I am the baby of the family with 2 older brothers and am the proud aunty to my 3 nieces and 1 nephew.

Before Acorn To Oak, I worked in Treasure Island Creche in Galway for a number of years before I decided to move closer to home!

In my spare time I love to meet up with friends, spend time with family and shopping!

Orla walsh

Orla holds the post as Assistant Manager.

She first joined the development and fundraising committee for the setting up of Acorn to Oak. Orla joined the staff in 2008 where she works in the Montessori room.

She is married with 2 grown up children who previously attended the after-schools @ Acorn to Oak.

Orla loves outdoors and was previously a Scout Leader with the local Troupe. She enjoys walking, hiking & skiing with her friends.

Her Qualifications are Diploma in Montessori Method of teaching, FETAC Level 6 in Childcare Studies, Access and Inclusion Co-ordinator, First Aid, studies in Sign Language, HACCP Trained.

Lyndsay Murphy

Lyndsay started working in the Creche as a volunteer in 2009 and then was offered a permanent job in September 2011. She was also one of the committee members which was formed to start up Acorn to oak.

Lyndsay is originally from Scotland and moved to Portumna in 2002.

She is married and has 3 boys – Her youngest son attended the Creche as a baby.

Lyndsay loves to spend time with her family, go on long walks with her dog and socialise with friends. She likes to go on skiing holidays, enjoys weekends away and has recently taken up golf. She was also a leader with Portumna Scouts for several years.

Qualifications are QQI Level 6 major award, Philosophy Montessori module and first aid.

Lyndsay currently works in the toddler room along with Tatiana and Shauna.

Karen Brien

Karen first started @ Acorn to oak in September 2019 and started in the junior Montessori room and has since work in senior Montessori.

Her qualifications are:

Level 8 Early Years & Childhood Studies

Basic First Aid Skills qualified

Introduction to Children First certified

Certified in Manual Handling Theory

Garda Vetting clearance

Karen enjoys sports and is a member of her local camogie club Killimor with whom she won an All-Ireland medal with in 2010

Caroline Heenan

Hi I’m Caroline and I Started working in Acorn to Oak in April 2008. I first started in toddler room for few months and the past 12 years as Montessori teacher and afterschool’s.

I have my own Family- Simon and 2 daughters Skyler and Holly and a dog called nismo.

I’m a hands-on mum of a 5 and almost 3-year-old.

In my spare time I enjoy Motorsports and like to go drifting on the track.

I also like to bake and explore the countryside side at weekends.

My qualifications are QQI level 6 major award and level 6 Montessori with portobello. First Aid & manual handling trained.

Nicola Stoddart

Hi All,

My name is Nicola Stoddart and I’m the newest recruit to the Acorn to Oak family having just started in Sept 2020.

I have a huge passion with working with young children having studied in Mary Immaculate college for four years where I completed a level 8 Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Care and Education. Before starting with Acorn to Oak I volunteered with Children in Hospital Ireland while also going back to college to study special needs assisting.

I work in the junior Montessori room here in Acorn to Oak, I love my job and being part of a fantastic team who are all dedicated to providing a safe, stimulating learning environment for young children.

My interests and hobbies include being outdoors, running, cycling, baking, traveling, farming just completed my green cert in agricultural.

I have a twin sister and younger brother in my family. I have a little girl Anna who is 17months she keeps me busy

Mary Fahy

Hi my name is Mary and I joined Acorn to Oak in March 2008.

I began working in the Toddler room, since then I have worked in most rooms in the creche including Montessori, pre Montessori , Breakfast club and after schools. I also worked in summer camps for a number of years.

My hobbies and interests are as follows I enjoy outdoors and love going for walks and appreciating nature. I also enjoy GAA especially attending hurling games.


I have completed my level 6 advanced certificate in early childhood care and education. I also hold a valid first aid certificate and have completed the children first child protection certificate.

Recently I have completed a number of continued personal development courses.

Martin Dolphin

Martin first started working in Acorn to Oak in 2008 for the summer camps. He became permanent in June 2011 and currently works with the Afterschool’s.

Martin enjoys playing hurling and is a current member of the Portumna hurling team. He has won medals with both club and county teams. Martin is also a member of the golf club.


Level 7 in Early Years & Childhood Studies

Basic First Aid Skills qualified

Introduction to Children First certified

Certified in Manual Handling Theory

Hayley Gleeson

Hi, my name is Hayley Gleeson and I have been working in Acorn to oak since March 2019.

I have completed my Fetac Level 5 in childcare and in the process of doing my QQI level 6 major award.

I am first aid trained and Garda vetted

I currently work in the baby room alongside my colleague Magdalena.

My hobbies and interests are Triathlons sports, travelling and walking my Great Dane and bullmastiff.

Clare Burke

Hi my name is Claire Burke. I am a mom of one, to a little boy called Cian.

I have experience in working in the childcare sector for over 10 years.

I have worked in crèches in Craughwell and Loughrea, before joining the team in Acorn to Oak, in 2018.

Previous roles in the crèche environment have allowed me to gain experience in the Baby Room, Junior Montessori and Senior Montessori, as well as roles as Supervisor and Evening Manager.

Since joining Acorn to Oak, I have worked in the Wobbler Room, Toddler Room and I am now currently in the Senior Montessori Room.

I am a Montessori Teacher, with FETAC Level 6 qualifications.

I also have CIBTAC AND ITEC diplomas in

* Anatomy & Physiology

* Body Massage

* Holistic Massage

* Professional Conduct & Business Awareness.

I have completed an accredited sign language course through LÁMH

I also have up to date courses completed in

* Paediatric First Aid

* Behaviour Management in Children

* Positive Behaviour

* Introduction to Play Therapy

* Food Allergen Awareness

* Introduction to Inclusion for Children with Additional Needs

* Creative Mindfulness

Bridget Brien

Hi, I’m Bridget Brien, I live in Portumna with my husband Dermot and we have 2 children Sean and Sarah who are both in college right now. We also have a dog Patch and I enjoy going for walks and cycling around the forest Park. I also like going to hurling and camogie matches.

I started at Acorn to Oak in 2008 in the wobbler room, following year moved to toddler room. Then onto Junior Montessori and Senior Montessori for few years

I am currently in the Junior Montessori room and really enjoying it.

Qualifications are as follows:

Community care level 5 2007

Supervision in childcare level 6 2011

Skills and expertise in Montessori level 6 2013. Was awarded Student of the Year from Portobello Institute 2013.

First Aid 2019

Continued eLearning 2020

Shauna Muldoon

Hi, I’m Shauna Muldoon and I work in the toddler room.

I started working at Acorn to oak in August 2020.

My qualifications include QQI Level 5 Early Childhood Care & Education and I am currently studying my QQI Level 6 Advanced Early Childhood Care and Education.

I have experience in working in Senior Montessori & Toddlers

Hobbies and Interests:

I enjoy singing and playing guitar, camogie & my dogs

Family: 6, Mam & dad, one sister & two brothers

Danielle Dervery

Level 7 Degree in Early Childhood Care and Education (reaching level 8 in May)

Started in 2019

Wobblers and Toddlers

Interests and hobbies: road trips with friends and walks with the dogs in the forest park

5 in my family me included

Bridget Treacy

Community care level 5,

9 modules.

Supervision in chidcare level 6,

4 modules.

Early Childhood Care and Education level 7 Certificate.

Early Childhood Care and Education, level 7 Diploma.

BA in Early Childhood Care and Education, level 8.

LINC (Leadership and Inclusion in Early Years) INCO (Inclusion co-ordinator in Early Years).

Started cleaning i think in 2009 then rooms in 2011 relief to part time. Began in wobblers, baby room, pre-montessori, montessori. Hobbies are reading, continuous learning, walking and netflix lol. Married with 2 children and my dog snowy. Interests include early childhood care and education, additional needs including autism. Also love outdoor life, nature and animals, especially dogs 🐕. Hates covid 😜

Lisa Fitzpatrick

Level 5 started in March 2018, engaged to be married, No children just yet, hobbies include walking, makeup and reading.

Tatiana Erokhina

Tatiana was born in Russia and moved to Portumna in 2001. She is married and has 3 children, 2 of her children attended Acorn to Oak. Tatiana started working in Acorn to Oak in 2007 and she is fondly known by staff and children as Tats or Tatinana.

Tatiana has gained great experience working in all of the rooms in Acorn to Oak.

Baby Room, Wobbler Room, and Montessori Room.

Tatiana is very artistic as you will see from all the creative artwork that goes home with your child!

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask Tatiana, she will try her best to answer them as best as she can.

Tatiana works Monday-Friday 9am-6pm.

Qualifications: Level 6 in childcare and 1st Aid training

Patricia Fitzpatrick

My name is Patricia Fitzpatrick. I have 3 children who are all adults now and I am a proud grandmother to Eleanor. We moved from Dublin to Portumna in 1998, to be nearer to my parents. My father was from Portumna and I grew up coming here for holidays and always loved coming to my family here, when the opportunity arose to move, I did not hesitate as I knew it was a much better way of life to rear my family.

I was one of the first employees of acorn to oak when it first opened in Sept 2007 Starting as the chef and with a level 5 childcare qualification. I eventually moved from the catering to childcare full time and went on to complete my level 6 and then level 7. I have worked in all rooms in acorn to oak and have loved every day of it.

Trisha Murphy

have worked in Acorn To Oak for the last 12 years cooking the dinners and snacks for all the children. I am fully trained in Haccp training, First Aid and Manual Handling. I enjoy my job and love chatting to the children and making their Rice Krispy cake for their birthdays.

Magda Mroz

My qualifications are:

Early Childhood Care and Education level 5

Caring for Children with Special Needs level 5

First Aid and Cardiopulmonary resuscitation

I first started working at Acorn to oak in September 2007

I have worked in the Wobbler room, Baby room, Toddler room, Montessori room, and Kitchen 🙂

Hobbies Cooking, reading books, art

There are 4 of us in my family, two children Aleksandra and Max.

Contact us