Pauline Jongma is the principal of the Dutch School in Sydney and is our local mum this week.


Where and how long have you lived in Sydney’s east?

We moved from the Netherlands to Malabar 15 years ago with 3 children under the age of 4. The people in Malabar were very welcoming and the children had a great time at our local school which fostered a close-knit community. We have loved Malabar from the start.

Three words that describe what it’s like to live in the eastern suburbs?

Relaxed, paradise, beautiful community

How many children?

Two girls aged 18 and 15 and a 17 year old boy

Favourite Park:

Centennial Park is such an amazing place, especially if you go off the main tracks and enjoy a beautiful picnic with friends.

Favourite Beach: 

We are surrounded by beautiful beaches. I love Little Bay for an early morning swim because it’s so quiet and pristine. Maroubra is perfect for a walk and a coffee – such a relaxed place. I also love Coogee during the week when it’s not too busy.

Favourite kid friendly cafe: 

My children are teenagers, so most cafés are suitable for us, but we’ve always loved going to the Heritage Café in Malabar for coffee and some breakfast. They also do Mexican nights with great cocktails which you can enjoy in their beautiful garden area.

Favourite Coffee Spot:

The Heritage in Malabar and Botannix in Botany. Botannix has a beautiful garden, lovely owners and the best yoga studio with a gorgeous garden.

Favourite date night place: 

We like to try new places and there are so many too choose from that it would be impossible to pick a favourite.

We love Sugar Cane in Coogee, they have delicious food and a great atmosphere.

Where in the east have you yet to explore and would like to?

Honestly, nothing comes to mind. Our family went a little crazy when we first moved here and we loved exploring all over the Eastern Suburbs. But I’m always open to recommendations for hidden gems to explore.

What would you like to see improve in the eastern suburbs?

Cafés on the beach with lounge seats, being able to eat or drink with your feet in the sand. That’s something I always miss about Europe in the summer.

Favourite Local Shop:

Driftwood living in Little Bay and LivedIn Coogee. Both beautiful home decor stores with lovely owners.

Favourite wet weather location:

My own home with friends or family. We love to play games with the children and luckily they also enjoy it. I also enjoy going to the movies, especially the Italian film festival that’s on at the moment. I lived in Italy when I was 19 and still love the culture and language, so it’s great that I can still experience a piece of it here.

Favourite Local family Weekend Activity?

The coastal walks in our area, Malabar to Maroubra to Coogee and Clovelly.

Work or SAHM?

I am the principal of the Dutch School in Sydney. We teach around 160 children over 4 locations for two hours a week and we teach the Dutch curriculum so that children can easily reintegrate into the Dutch system. Although many stay here because living here is like living in paradise! It’s amazing how well the children perform. They’re all multilingual, and I’m really proud of them and their efforts, and grateful to their parents!

The Dutch school in Sydney:

Motherly advice?

Communicate with and listen to your kids. Now that my children are teenagers, they are becoming more independent and learning about themselves. As a result, I have found that sometimes they find they could benefit from changes in their life whether it comes to relationships, or the home environment. It is great to be able to have these conversations with your child so you can provide advice and make things more comfortable for the family, which is helpful especially during times of stress (such as the HSC – which we’ve been going through with our kids for 2 years now!)