top of page

About Ferne

 Working with young children is Ferne van Zyl's passion. While bringing up 4 of her own children she fostered children from disadvantaged backgrounds, ran a home based family day care, and facilitated programs for babies and toddlers at church before learning about Montessori.

For over a decade she owned and operated Down Under 3, a Montessori based learning centre for babies and toddlers on Sydneys' North Shore. Through her work with parents and carers she began facilitating the hugely successful Faber and Mazlish parent workshops “How to Talk so Kids will Listen” and “Siblings without Rivalry” as well as developing a “Toileting Independence” workshop which earned her the nick-name “The Poo-Poo Guru”.

Ferne has provided training and support for hundreds of families on setting up environments for independence, effective communication skills and practical strategies for dealing with challenging behaviour. In particular, her deep understanding, sense of humour, and ability to see opportunities and find solutions in just about any situation have seen her become highly sought after by parents who find themselves ‘stuck’ for ideas about how to deal with a particular issue. 

Recognised for her personally developed Supporting Freedom and Self-Discipline workshop, her Independent Toileting program and her expertise in early childhood development and communication, she consults to parents, early childhood educators and Montessori organisations throughout Australia and New Zealand.


What people are saying

"Thank you for both your time and dedication to our son. He has now become a more independent and confident boy who is certainly ready for preschool!"

—  Aline M.

Let's talk...

Book a one-on-one Support and Planning call to discuss any current challenges you are facing.

  • Establishing routines.

  • Setting up environments for independence.

  • “How to Talk so Kids will Listen.” 

  • “Siblings without Rivalry.”

  • Toileting Independence - Become a “PooPoo Guru”.

  • Effective communication skills.

  • Dealing with strong emotions.

  • Home life transitions.


Get practical tips on nurturing your child's natural drive for independence with guides, inspiration and early bird access to upcoming parent workshops!

bottom of page