Ferne van Zyl holds an AMI Assistant to infancy Diploma and has been working with young children in some capacity for over 30 years in some capacity. 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 and educators 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 in Australia, New Zealand and now since Covid has  extended her client base by running these workshops via zoom around the world.