Program


2017 Program

 

ELAA and Gowrie Victoria are proud to present an outstanding program of speakers – our largest yet – for 2017 Early Childhood Education Conference.

Please note: when you select a session in the online registration form you are booking into BOTH* the presentations allocated to that session e.g. if you selected session B1 then you will be booked into the presentations by Mary Howell / Dr Caroline Cohrssen (1.30pm-2.15pm) AND Sue Southey (2.15pm-3.00pm). It is expected that delegates will remain in the room for the duration of both sessions.

 *With the exception of when there is only one presentation in a session.

 

New! Federal assistance for early learning services from disadvantaged or remote communities

We are excited to announce that the Australian Department of Education and Training has committed to providing financial assistance to assist services from disadvantaged or remote communities throughout Australia to attend the Conference. This is in addition to the existing assistance offered by the Victorian Government, by ELAA and by Gowrie Victoria to assist delegates from regional areas and disadvantaged communities.

The funding from the Federal Government will cover delegate’s registration costs and will be limited to either one or two days Conference registration (travel and accommodation costs not included).

To apply for the Federal funding, please tell us in 250 words or less what type of early childhood service you provide; why your organisation requests this assistance; and who you would like to attend the conference.  

Please send applications to Tania De Carli at tdecarli@elaa.org.au by Friday, 19 May 2017.

 

ELAA and Gowrie Victoria offer assistance to services from disadvantaged communities

As Conference hosts, ELAA and Gowrie Victoria are pleased to announce that we are again offering assistance to services from disadvantaged communities to attend the conference this year.

To apply for this special funding, please tell us in 250 words or less what type of early childhood service you provide; why your organisation requests this assistance; and who you would like to attend the conference.  A panel of the Conference Reference Committee will review applications and select the recipients.

Please send applications to Tania De Carli at tdecarli@elaa.org.au by Friday 5 May 2017.

This assistance is limited and in the interest of fairness, will be available to applicants who have not previously received support.

 

 

Friday 26 May 2017
8:00am to 8:45am
Registration & Trade Fair

8:45am to 9:00am
Conference App Demonstration

9:00am to 9:10am
Conference Welcome Shane Lucas, ELAA Chief Executive Officer

9:10am to 9:25am
Welcome to Country

9:25am to 9:45am
Conference Opening The Hon Jenny Mikakos MP, Minister for Families and Children

9:45am to 10:45am
Keynote Address
Professor Edward Melhuish OBE

Edward Melhuish OBE is Professor of Human Development at Oxford University, and a visiting professor at the University of Wollongong. He was involved in studies affecting policy in the UK and is currently undertaking studies in Norway, European community, UK, and Australia.  His research influenced the 1989 Children Act, the 2005 Children Act, 2006 Childcare Bill and policy on childcare, early education, child poverty and parental support in the UK and other countries.  He is a scientific advisor to research councils in Norway, Finland, Portugal, South Korea, Chile, Australia, and Canada, and a consultant to the European Commission, OECD and WHO.

Early childhood experience, long-term development and the wealth of nations

Recent evidence from studies in many countries indicates how differing patterns of experience in the early years, both in the home and outside the home (e.g. early childhood education and care) can have long-term impact on children’s educational and socio-emotional development.   In particular, the home learning environment and pre-school experience in the early years continue to have an impact upon children’s development through to adulthood.  The impact affects a wide range of people’s lives including educational attainment, socio-emotional development, employability, criminality and mental and physical health. The evidence is discussed in terms of its relevance to practice and policy.


10:45am to 11:15am
Morning Tea & Trade Fair

11:15am to 12:30pm
A1
Helen Skouteris

Helen Skouteris is a Professor in Developmental Psychology, in the School of Psychology, Deakin University. She is an expert in child and maternal health and wellbeing, longitudinal, intervention and implementation research. Helen has published over 160 peer-reviewed papers, supervised 20 Doctoral students to completion, has led five nationally competitive grants and has managed over $3 million in research funding in the last five years. She has close ties to industry working collaboratively with the social welfare and early childhood education sector across Australia and nationally. Her goal is to improve developmental outcomes for children, especially those from the most disadvantaged backgrounds.

Fostering parent-child relationships by early childhood educators to support social and emotional learning

The most critical relationship for children is the relationship with their parent/s, albeit, children also form relationships with other significant adults, including extended family members and early childhood education and care (ECEC) educators. A majority of children attend ECEC settings where educators build relationships with children and parents, yet the influence and practice of educators supporting parent-child relationships is not well understood. This presentation will outline a program of research focused on designing an educator resource (a tool-kit), to be embedded in ECEC settings, that supports educators to foster and nurture parent-child relationships, consequently promoting children’s social and emotional development.


A2
Nicole Pilsworth, Dr Jane Page, Gracie Pupillo, Anna Russell & Rebecca Sabo

Nicole Pilsworth holds a Master of Educational Leadership and Bachelor of Education (EC). She has many years of experience in a variety of ECEC settings over the last 25 years in NSW and Victoria including supporting the implementation of the Early Years Learning Frameworks and the National Reform Agenda. Nicole currently works in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education in research focusing on the impact of professional learning on teachers’ interactions and the impact on children’s learning outcomes.

Dr Jane Page is a senior lecturer in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne. She has experience in the early childhood field in a range of roles both as a practitioner in early childhood services as well teaching in the University sector. Jane is currently working with colleagues as a researcher on the Victorian Advancing Early Learning Project with DET.

Gracie Pupillo is an Educational Leader at Flemington Street Children’s Centre and has played an integral role in the implementation of 3a teaching and learning strategies over the last 3 years. She has extensive experience working in ECEC settings and is committed to ongoing learning for herself and her colleagues.

Anna Russell is an Early Childhood Teacher and Educational Leader at Gowrie Victoria Broadmeadows Valley. Anna has played a key role in the implementation, including the documentation, of the 3a teaching and learning strategies since January 2016. She is committed to quality education and care programs for all children, particularly babies and toddlers.

Rebecca Sabo is an Early Childhood Teacher and Educational Leader at Gowrie Victoria Broadmeadows Valley. Rebecca has a passion for documenting children’s learning and supporting play and pedagogy. Rebecca has played a significant role in the implementation of the 3a teaching and learning strategies and is dedicated to ensuring positive outcomes for children through partnerships with the community.

Educational leadership: making a difference to children’s learning and development

The VAEL study, funded by DET, was a 3-year study that focused on developing a model of professional learning to support changes in educators’ practice as well as impacting on children’s learning outcomes. This presentation will outline the core components of the professional learning program and the role of the educational leader in supporting ongoing learning and reflective practice across programs for children aged birth – five. It will also give a snapshot of the impact of the professional learning program on the adult-child interactions, the learning outcomes for children, and the perspectives of families on the changes in pedagogy and their children’s development.


A3
Collette Tayler
Collette Tayler is Chair of ECEC at the University of Melbourne.  Collette’s record of research spans learning and development from pre-birth to age eight, including studies that address home-, centre- and school-based educational programs in culturally and linguistically diverse urban, regional and remote communities. Experiences that advance early learning and development, and relationships to promote children’s learning are her central concerns. Currently, Collette is the Australian researcher on the international team studying Early Childhood Education and Care in Selected High Performing Countries; a member of the Victorian Children’s Council; and the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority Board.
E4Kids: overview of findings and some implications for current ECEC programs and practices
Why is teaching and learning in early childhood such a priority work area for families, educators, teachers, leaders and principals? How can a deeper understanding of the active ingredients of early education and care programs make a difference?  When addressing children’s outcomes what constitutes ‘success’? What can research findings offer in improving the effects of ECEC programs? This session overviews the findings of the E4Kids (effective early educational experiences) longitudinal study and invites participants to reflect on and discuss the effectiveness of ECEC programs and provision, and how to promote some improvements to the ECEC system.

A4
Bruce Hurst
Bruce Hurst is an education consultant and PhD Candidate at the University of Melbourne. His current research investigates Outside School Hours Care from the perspectives of children. Bruce uses post-modern theories of power and knowledge to find more equitable ways of understanding children’s lives in early childhood education and care. Bruce has a Master of Education and has held many roles in early childhood education and care, including teaching at undergraduate level, senior roles in non-government organisations, managing Outside School Hours Care and Occasional Care, and work in inclusion support. Bruce won the 2014 Fred Cohen Prize for his Masters research.
Development isn’t just something that happens. It is also something you do
Developmental theory is second nature for Early Childhood Educators. We see development as natural and something that ‘just happens’. Children also understand development. They become aware of developmental discourses from a young age. Children learn the behaviours and rules associated with stages of development from their culture and educational practices, and enact them in their social relationships. This presentation will use recent research into Outside School Hours Care to investigate the importance of age in children’s identities. It invites participants to reflect on how they enact aged discourses in their pedagogies and consider implications for children in early childhood settings.

12:30pm to 1:30pm
Lunch & Trade Fair

1:30pm to 3:00pm
B1
Mary Holwell and Dr Caroline Cohrssen
Mary Holwell is the Programs Manager, Early Years Unit at the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority. Mary has held a variety of roles in the early childhood sector and has a particular interest in the development of STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) skills in young children and the opportunities early childhood professionals can utilise to support and assess young children’s development. Mary has worked both as an educator with young children and in leadership positions where she has influenced educator practices. Mary has designed innovative curriculum resources and leadership programs for the early years. 

Caroline Cohrssen (PhD) is a senior lecturer in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education at The University of Melbourne. Caroline’s research has investigated quality adult-child interactions to support mathematics learning, and the influence of the home learning environment on children’s literacy and numeracy skills. Her current research is investigating four-year-old children’s spatial thinking in the year prior to school entry. Her research is disseminated at conferences, in peer reviewed journals and on The Spoke, Early Childhood Australia’s blog. This work supports families, pre-service early years students, and teachers to recognise mathematical thinking, plan playful activities and interact purposefully to extend children’s emerging skills and understanding.
Linking theory and practice to support young children’s emerging numeracy skills (1:30 - 2:15pm)
A highly interactive session that will extend participants’ understanding of the VEYLDF and its links to the first three levels of the Victorian Curriculum F-10. Evidence-based practice draws on theory and research to inform thoughtful decisions about teaching and learning. Participants will watch, analyse and evaluate video vignettes, reflect on strategies that support authentic assessment of children’s numeracy knowledge and opportunities for curriculum design that is both engaging and meaningful for young children.
Sue Southey
Sue Southey is Co-director at Springwood Community Kindergarten, Queensland, where she has worked with families and young children since 1980.  She teaches part-time and uses her non-teaching days to provide training, in-house support and professional development for early childhood educators throughout Australia.  Sue has a Masters in Education, Bachelor of Education Studies and a Diploma of Teaching (Early Childhood). She has worked as a sessional academic at both QUT and Griffith University. In 2009 she was a State Finalist in the NEiTA Inspirational Teaching Award and in 2013 she received the Inspirational Teaching Award from the Down Syndrome Association of Queensland.
Literacy is more than ABC (2:15 - 3:00pm)
Literacy is a highly valued form of knowledge in our education system. Many teachers and educators teach literacy by breaking down literacy skills into small units of knowledge that can be taught through repetition and drill. An alternative is to view literacy as in a meaning making process that connects children with knowledge, skills and dispositions that inspires them to communicate through text and print. This workshop presents a range of practical strategies for teaching children to read and write using their own interests, family backgrounds and relationships with others.

B2
Alistair Gibbs, Emma Lake, Catharine Hydon, Kylie Grey
Alistair Gibbs graduated from a Masters Teaching (Early Childhood) course at Melbourne University in December 2012. He is currently in a kindergarten teacher position which sees him connecting with a wide range of children and families as they progress through their transition to the school environment.  After presenting for the first time at the ELAA conference in 2016 he has continued to support and challenge educators in their practice specifically concerning gender stereotypes within early childhood. This has seen him visit multiple organisations and centres, sharing his knowledge and challenging current thinking.

Emma Lake began her journey as an educator in 1997 studying a Diploma of Community Service: Childcare. Emma’s journey has seen her work extensively with all age groups in various settings, services and countries. Emma has worked as a room leader in all her roles before taking on the team leader role of a community based service.  Emma has also worked in training and education before returning to what she enjoys most. She is currently the educational leader/2IC role guiding educators, practice, developing partnerships with children, families and educators.

Kylie Grey is a Certificate III trained early childhood educator currently undertaking diploma studies in early childhood education. She has been an educator for over six years and is a passionate advocate for all children and educators. She believes that quality education should be available for all and, with a holistic approach to education, anything is possible. 
Supporting children’s rights – showcasing an educator action research project on implementing children’s rights: “Many Voices, Different Language”.(1:30 - 2:15pm)
This presentation will showcase an exciting professional learning project undertaken by the City of Melbourne’s Children Services team exploring children’s rights in early childhood education.  The project conducted throughout 2016, gave educators an opportunity to collaborate with their colleagues in a new approach to expanding our understanding of children’s learning and early childhood education.  The focus of the project is Children’s Rights – in many ways a concept that remains at the frontier of early childhood practice while being a central and underpinning commitment of the National Quality Framework. 

One of the featured projects  – ‘In a world where a right has many stakeholders, who takes precedence?’ –  will share the journey from its initial formation to its unexpected results. The outcomes will challenge your views on children, families and educators differentiating views on rights. Through our discussions we can show you that the smallest of collaborations can result in the strongest outcome that benefits all.
Madeleine Harding and Scott Walker
Madeleine Harding works as a kindergarten teacher and educational leader and has a strong passion for advocacy and honouring the child’s voice. In preparing children for the rigors of life, her programs focus on stimulating social growth, exploring children’s sense of identity, ethics, resilience, and humanity, tackling complex emotions as well as preparing children to become contributing participants in their communities.  Madeleine’s work with children, families and educators is inspired by the UN Conventions of the Rights of the Child and she holds the fundamental belief that every child, regardless of gender, ethnicity, socio-economic standing or ability, has the universal right to access high quality educational programs.
A Children’s Parliament - advocating for the rights of the child (2:15 - 3:00pm)
The smallest of ideas can become the largest of projects! A kinder teacher’s experience of listening to children’s voices and working in partnership with the centre director to facilitate their thinking. This seminar will unpack the learning potential associated with long-term project work with children, empowering them to become the driving force behind their own journey and discovery. Article 12 of the UNCRC stipulates children have the right to say what they think should happen when adults are making decisions that affect them and to have their opinions taken into account. Inspired by one child’s Goldilocks dilemma, our story celebrates the power of the child as its focus.

B3
Cheryl Neilson and Jennifer Sebire
Cheryl Neilson has a long-standing interest in early childhood educator’s roles in supporting children’s emotional wellbeing; how emotional development links with behaviour; and how brain development is influenced by a child’s relationships. Cheryl spent many years working as a kindergarten teacher, before working in early childhood intervention. She currently works as a Preschool Field Officer and has recently enjoyed working as a sessional lecturer at Swinburne University. Cheryl has completed a Graduate Certificate in Developmental Trauma and her minor thesis for her Master of Education studies researched kindergarten teacher’s perspectives on children’s emotional wellbeing.

Jennifer Sebire has spent many years in a variety of roles across the early childhood field and is currently the Coordinator – Children’s Services Support & Planning for the City of Monash. Jennifer’s experience goes across kindergarten, child care and early childhood intervention. She is passionate about providing the best start for all young children.
The integral role of relationships on early brain development
This session will explore the role of relationships on brain development. Early experiences affect the development of brain architecture, which provides the foundation for all future learning, behaviour, and health. Every early childhood educator has the capacity to make a positive difference. Trauma and toxic stress can interrupt and have ongoing effects on a child’s development, self-image, learning and behaviour. This session will provide an overview of brain development and how trauma can impact a child’s overall development. This knowledge will assist educators to reflect on developmental concerns and behavioural challenges through a trauma-informed lens.

B4
Deanne Carson
Deanne Carson is a speaker, author, researcher and educator specialising in abuse prevention education, respectful relationships and sexuality education. Her work spans early childhood to secondary schools, professional development and workshops for parents, carers and the wider community. As co-founder of Body Safety Australia, Deanne has been instrumental in researching international studies on childhood sexual abuse and developing a whole community approach to prevention education that encompasses the Victorian Government’s Child Safe Standards and Respectful Relationship Curriculum. Body Safety Australia celebrates diversity.  We have specialised knowledge and experience in faith-based schools, special schools, LGBTIQ communities and CALD communities.
The role of the early childhood educator in promoting all children’s well being and resilience through whole community engagement with body safety education. (1:30 - 2:15pm)

One in five children experience childhood sexual abuse before the age of 18. The State Government has identified schools and early childhood settings as ideal environments for providing children with knowledge of their right to be safe, and to connect families with support services in the event children are identified as being unsafe. This session explores the key themes to prevention education; how educators can be supported in embedding these themes into lesson plans; how to engage with the wider community in a culturally sensitive manner; and how educators can be supported in ‘hearing’ and handling disclosures of abuse.

 

Catharine Hydon, Louise Dorrat, Nicole Pilsworth, Gilda Howard and Karen Glancy
Catharine Hydon draws on her work with educators, children and families and her master's studies to inspire those wishing to explore excellence in early childhood service provision.  Catharine is best known a strong advocate for professionalism, ethical practice and as a facilitator of pedagogical leadership.

Louise Dorrat is a sought after consultant across Federal and State Governments, children’s service organisations, peak bodies and many indigenous services. Her popularity and reputation to deliver exemplary training via her enthusiastic and thought provoking style has enabled her to utilise her background in theatre providing sessions that are at once engaging and entertaining.

Nicole Pilsworth holds a Master of Educational Leadership and Bachelor of Education (EC) and has worked in the early childhood sector for over 25 years.  Her experience includes delivery of education and care services in both NSW and Victoria, and more recently in an educational leadership position in local government.  She is an experienced facilitator of professional learning and has an interest in building the capacity of the early childhood workforce.

Gilda Howard currently consults to the early childhood sector and has managed a number of major projects including the Business Services Review of an LGA children’s service, and the mentoring and coaching of senior management in a number of early childhood services. Gilda has also undertaken the assessing and compliance of an early childhood registered training organisation (RTO).

Karen Glancy is an early childhood trainer, consultant and mentor. Karen has extensive experience working in all early childhood settings. Karen’s qualifications include a Bachelor of Early Childhood Studies and a Horticulture Certificate. Karen has a particular interest in the development of engaging learning environments using natural and recycled materials, sustainable living, education for the environment, and the child’s engagement with environment and community.
Inroads to community (2:15 - 3:00pm)
As educators you will be confident in the fundamentals of road safety education. However, this interactive panel will challenge you to become pedagogical innovators, by removing the assumption that road safety education is a one off event, instead that it is an ongoing, never ending exploration of ideas driven by children. Our expert panel made up of Australia’s pre-eminent early childhood leaders will motivate you to explore and share how to exercise contemporary pedagogy, theory and practice wisdom to deliver outstanding road safety education.  Let  Louise Dorrat, Gilda Howard, Catharine Hydon, Karen Glancy and Nicole Pilsworth lead you in a session that will be interactive, inspirational, educational, challenging and all the while very entertaining.

B5
Joan Kennedy, Karen Weston

Joan Kennedy is a Senior Policy Officer with the Respectful Relationships Initiative at Department of Education and Training. She has worked in the primary prevention of violence against women sector for four years, primarily with the Maternal and Child Health service and Local Government. Joan's role is to work with the Early Childhood sector to develop and implement a Respectful Relationships model suitable for that setting.

Karen Weston has been involved with early childhood education since the mid-1990s as a founding member of Kindergarten Parents Victoria and has worked in other non-government agencies.

 Karen joined the Victorian public sector in 2001. Her work and achievements in policy reform, intergovernmental relations, stakeholder management and research have been underpinned by a commitment to evidence-based quality and passion for delivering better outcomes for our children. She was a Partner Investigator on E4Kids, Australia's largest longitudinal research project studying the impact of participation and quality in early childhood education and care programs. Karen has worked closely on reforms to the National Quality Framework, negotiating national standards for early childhood services to strengthening quality and oversight. Her responsibilities have also included implementation of the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework, the Transition: A Positive Start to School Initiative and Victoria’s Early Childhood Workforce Strategy. 

 Over the last 15 months she has stepped up into a number of leadership opportunities within the Department acting as Executive Director of Quality Assessment and Regulation Division and Strategy and Integration Division, and is currently Acting Assistant Deputy Secretary, Early Childhood Portfolio. 

 

 

Respectful relationships and early childhood (1:30 - 2:15pm)
Many reviews and inquiries, including the Royal Commission into Family Violence, have recognised the importance of preventing violence against women. Evidence shows that while there is no one single cause of violence against women, gender inequality sets the necessary social context for it. In this session, we will explore the evidence to promote respectful relationships and gender equality contributing to the prevention of gender-based violence. In particular we will discuss the professional learning opportunities for early childhood settings.
Lou Ambrosy and Alison Webster
Lou is a qualified Occupational Therapist with more than 30 years of experience working with children with disabilities. She has worked alongside researchers and other professionals in the field to create the Best Practice in Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) course for ECI professionals and coordinates the Key Worker Online Course. Lou regularly presents at sector conferences regarding the inclusion of children with a disability.

Alison has a degree in Early Childhood Education and comes from a kindergarten teaching background. She also has experience working in Early Childhood Intervention and several years of experience as a teacher at TAFE in NSW. For the past fifteen years Alison has worked in the area of inclusion support, firstly as a Children’s Services Resource and Development Officer and then as Team Leader of an Inclusion Support Agency. Alison is an Accredited Abecedarian practitioner and trainer. Alison is the co-author of Participating and Belonging: Inclusion in Practice (Webster and Forster, 2012).
What do the Child Safe Standards mean for children with a disability?(2:15 - 3:00pm)
All children are vulnerable but some children need special care and protection to ensure they are safe – children with a disability have an increased risk of being abused. Children with a disability are highlighted in the new Child Safe Standards as they are a group that has the potential to be vulnerable.
Participants will explore their obligations under the Child Safe Standards, Disability Discrimination legislation and United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child for including children with disabilities. 

B6
Dr Anne Kennedy, Dr Alexandra Fraser, Sophie Rushton, and Jane Redfern
Dr Anne Kennedy Anne works as an early childhood consultant, researcher, advocate, trainer and writer. Anne was a member of the Charles Sturt University consortium that developed the national Early Years Learning Framework. Anne holds an honorary appointment as a fellow of the Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne and is an adjunct senior lecturer at Charles Sturt University. She is the chairperson of Community Child Care Association Victoria and a life member of FKA Children’s Services. 

Dr Alexandra Fraser is a Senior Project Officer within the Service Systems Innovation team at the Centre for Community Child Health. Alex has undertaken a variety of projects focusing on improving child and family service delivery systems and building organisational capacity. Alex has a social research background and in addition to her experience at CCCH, she has worked as a consultant in the health and community services sector, and has also worked on a number of research and evaluation projects in the child and family area.

Sophie Rushton Sophie is a Project Officer in the Service Systems Innovation team at the Centre for Community Child Health where she regularly applies mixed methods research to a range of early childhood projects. Sophie has an academic background in science and law, complemented by several years of experience working in government. She enjoys working to promote preventative, integrated approaches to early childhood policy and practice.

Jane Redfern is the Senior Policy Officer, Early Learning and Participation in the Victorian Department of Education and Training. She has overseen the development, implementation and evaluation of the Access to Early Learning program since its inception in 2011. Jane draws on more than 30 years of experience working with disadvantaged children and families on early intervention and cross sectorial programs. 
Supporting vulnerable children: insights from the Access to Early Learning program evaluation (1:30 - 2:15pm)
The Department of Education and Training’s Access to Early Learning (AEL) service model aims to improve access to quality early childhood education and care (ECEC) for vulnerable three-year-old children, to enhance their learning and development outcomes.  The Centre for Community Child Health recently completed an evaluation of AEL, examining program delivery and impact on children, families, educators and the broader service system.  This workshop will: (1) provide an overview of the AEL model and evaluation findings; (2) explore the practical implications of the findings for educators and ECEC services.
Heather Barnes
Heather Barnes is an early childhood consultant and works throughout Australia. Heather has taught in kindergartens, higher education and TAFE, worked for the National Childcare Accreditation Council, local government and Gowrie Victoria and has a passion for quality outcomes for children. Her work as a consultant includes conference presentations, workshops, writing resources, mentoring for quality improvement and advising the Regulatory Authorities in several states and territories. She is a Life Member of Gowrie Victoria; a member of the Victorian Children’s Council and was awarded an Order of Australia Medal in 2015 for service to early childhood education. 
STEM – Supporting, Teaching, Environments & Motivation (2:15 - 3:00pm)
Why do educators in ECEC need to know about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths)?  Does this give a label to what you are already doing or is it an aspect of your pedagogical practice that could do with some improvement?  This session will include: 
– why it is important to focus more on STEM in ECEC. 
– links to STEM in the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework.
–assessing environments to further support STEM.
– incorporating technology into practice.
– using intentional practices to encourage, support and extend children’s learning.
– practical ideas to incorporate into your curriculum. 

B7
Karen Underwood and Darlene Leach
Karen Underwood has been a teacher, disability program officer and curriculum consultant, a test developer, and curriculum writer.  She has a background and experience in language and literature, special education, assessment and evaluation, curriculum design and development.  Karen has been working with the University of Melbourne researching the learning of children and young people with an intellectual or developmental disability for the past ten years.  She has pursued her interest in learning pathways which has resulted in the ABLES and Early ABLES assessment for learning tools.  She is currently a manager in the Department of Education and Training. 

Darlene Leach is currently the Manager of the Early Learning Unit, Department of Education and Training. Darlene is a qualified and experienced early childhood educator (0-8) with over 30 years in kindergarten and long day care services and as a pre-school field officer plus providing practice advice to a wide variety of early childhood services.
Using Early ABLES for continuity of learning for children with disabilities and developmental delay (1:30 - 2:15pm)
When the Early ABLES assessment is combined with the Transition Statement, the comprehensive evaluation of the child ensures that educators in early childhood settings and schools have the information they need to really understand each and every child with a disability or developmental delay. Educators then know the child’s starting point for learning and what adjustments they need to make to guarantee the child has an optimal start to school. This practical session will explore the Early ABLES tool, giving participants an opportunity to see the tool in action and explore ways in which this tool can assist their program planning and support the child’s transition to school.
Shannon Upson and Lyndsay Duffy
Shannon Upson is an Early Childhood Educator, and certified ESDM (Early Start Denver Model) therapist working in the Victorian Autism Specific Early Learning and Care Centre (ASELCC), located within the La Trobe University Children’s Centre.  Shannon has been working in the Early Childhood Education sector for 15 years, in various roles within Long Day Care settings, and has spent the last six years working with preschool aged children with Autism Spectrum Disorders.  Shannon currently co-ordinates the Social Participation Program at La Trobe University Community Children’s Centre, bringing together her skills, knowledge and experiences from both mainstream and Autism specific settings.
A collaborative partnership: implementation of intervention for children with autism within a long day care setting (2:15 - 3:00pm)
This session will present a model of inclusive intervention for children with autism within a long day care setting.  The presentation will explore the strategies, challenges and successes of this collaboration between La Trobe University and Gowrie Victoria. Presenters will share practical components of the project that could be implemented in any early childhood education setting.

B8
Prof. Andrea Nolan and Dr. Anna Kilderry
Dr Anna Kilderry is a Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Education (Deakin University). Anna was a senior researcher for the ‘Support for children and families experiencing vulnerability in early years transitions: practice review’. 

Professor Andrea Nolan is Professor of Early Childhood Education (Deakin University) and was Project Chief Investigator and senior researcher for the ‘Support for children and families experiencing vulnerability in early years transitions: practice review’. 

Jenni Beahan (Deakin University) was Project Manager for the ‘Support for children and families experiencing vulnerability in early years transitions: practice review’.
Supporting children and families experiencing vulnerability in early years transitions (1:30 - 2:15pm)
The Department of Education and Training commissioned a rapid literature review covering international and national literature on how Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) professionals and teachers/educators are supporting children experiencing vulnerability and their families during transitions. This has informed a practice review undertaken by Deakin University involving a state-wide survey and focus group discussions with early childhood professionals along with consultations with families. Through shared experiences and reflective activities, this session will provide an overview of research findings and participants will be provided with the opportunity to explore strategies for facilitating positive transitions for children and families experiencing vulnerability.
John McCartin and Darlene Leach
John McCartin is currently working as a Lecturer in Early Childhood Education at Victoria University and as a consultant to early childhood and teaching services and is undertaking post graduate study in clinical psychology. He has a wide range of experience in presenting workshops, seminars and lectures to teacher groups, parents, children’s services staff and students of early childhood studies and education. He conducts programs on topics related to transition, boys’ education, learning theories and teaching practice, and guiding children’s behaviour. 

Darlene Leach manages the Early Learning Unit, in the Victorian Department of Education and Training. Darlene is a qualified and experienced early childhood educator (0-8) with over 30 years in kindergarten and long day care services and as a pre-school field officer as well as providing practice advice to a wide variety of early childhood services.
Beyond ‘school readiness’ – the impact of gender on transition to school (2:15 - 3:00pm)

There is a significant body of research on gender which suggests that boys and girls enter primary school with comparable levels of cognitive and academic skills, but with significant discrepancies in language, social, emotional and behavioural abilities. What we can learn from this and what it means for early childhood and primary teachers specifically in relation to transition programs will be the focus of this seminar.

 


B9
Alison Johns
Alison Johns is a qualified Early Years educator, most recently completing a Masters of Education.  She currently works for the City of Kingston in the Family, Youth and Children’s Services team as the Coordinator Children’s Services Partnerships. Alison’s twenty years of experience in the industry encompasses long day care, kindergarten, before and after school care, family day care and working with vulnerable families both in Australia and Overseas.
Critical reflection – is it me? (1:30 - 2:15pm)
Critical reflection plays a vital role in development of effective teaching practice and program delivery. But how do we, as educators, make those decisions? What guides or influences the decisions that we make? How do we know that this is the best decision for the child and/or family?  This session will look at ways educators use critical reflection to answer these questions; find solutions; and make changes in program delivery and practice. Looking at how our own values, beliefs and expectations guide us in this process.
Alison Teece and Sarah Thornton
Alison Teece is an early childhood educator with 25 years teaching practice across long day care and sessional kinder in New South Wales and Victoria. Alison currently works at Moreland Community Child Care Centres as a Program Coordinator and Kinder Teacher.

Sarah Thornton is an early childhood practitioner with 13 years of experience. She holds a Bachelor of Early Childhood Studies and has worked in long day care as a room leader, teacher and educational leader.
Overcoming the challenges of pedagogical change (2:15 - 3:00pm)
Is your planning process ready for a change? Are you exhausted by the thought of all the barriers and road blocks to change?  This session is the story of how we successfully removed barriers to drive a process of real change. It will provide strategies that work to educators’ strengths and provide the inspiration to get much needed change embedded in practice. We transformed our planning process and have not looked back!  This session will share a process of critical reflection and the implementation of a pedagogical strategy to create a focus of intent.

3:00pm to 3:30pm
Afternoon Tea & Trade Fair

3:30pm to 5:00pm
C1
Harriet Deans and Margaret Bakes
Harriet Deans is a Lead Kindergarten Teacher at the University of Melbourne’s Early Learning Centre. She holds a Bachelor of Environments (Urban Planning and Design), Post Graduate Diploma in Secondary Teaching (Geography and Humanities) and a Master of Education (Early Childhood Teaching). The natural environment features at the centre of Harriet’s personal and pedagogical philosophies and her work is directed towards empowering the children she teaches to develop the skills and values to care for others and the environment. Harriet has designed, implemented and formally researched (Ethics ID  1646280.1) a unique ‘Learning in Nature Program’ (LNP) which led to the development of an ‘Ecocentric Curriculum’ specifically for preschool children. 

Margaret Bakes is a Lead Kindergarten Teacher at the University of Melbourne’s Early Learning Centre. She holds a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education and a Master of Education (International Baccalaureate) with a focus on Language and Literacy for the Hearing Impaired. Margaret’s teaching involves designing and delivering an innovative, creative and inquiry approach curriculum for three and four-year-old children. 
Learning in Nature Program (LNP) (3:30 - 4:15pm)
This presentation will introduce a unique ‘Learning in Nature Program’ (LNP), that facilitates a wall-less classroom learning experience, where learning in nature takes children outside of the classroom to interact first-hand with the natural earth elements in the surrounding environment. The participants will be introduced to a number of different teaching and learning experiences framed within the environmental education context. It will make links to the EYLF and VEYLDF and focus attention on key literacy, mathematics, scientific and arts-based teaching and learning.
Sarah Louise Gandolfo
Sarah Louise Gandolfo is a Melbourne-based Early Childhood Teacher currently working toward a Master of Educational Leadership. Sarah has worked in, and advocated for, early childhood education and care for more than 14 years. She is passionate, and loud, about children’s rights, child protection, social justice and ethical leadership, and holds a strong, positive image of the child. Sarah’s current role involves review and development of service policies, and implementation of mechanisms to support and maintain quality and ongoing improvement in collaboration with educators, families, children and the community.
Children’s voices, participatory rights and policies: the limits and the opportunities (4:15 – 5:00pm)
This session highlights how Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) can be easily interpreted to include the voices of children aged 0-6 in long day care policy development and review. It will discuss the various limitations that policies dictated by people in power (educators and service leaders) place on children, and will consider how children can have an active, participatory voice in regards to organisational management and growth through an in-service, action research case study. 

C2
Barbara Gomez, Erin Mitchell, Sherry Prinzi, Katherine Bulluss

 

Barbara Gomez has been involved in education for over 30 years in the Primary sector, has extensive experience in leadership across all areas of the curriculum, and has worked in small and large schools, low socio-economic and affluent communities. She holds a Master in Educational Leadership and a Master in Religious Education. Currently the Principal of St Pius X Parish Primary School in Heidelberg West, Barbara is committed to the health, development, learning and wellbeing of children, with a specific focus on assessment for learning in the early years, birth to eight.  In 2016 Barbara has been involved in the VCAA Assessment for Learning- Supporting Early Years Networks professional learning program as the Local Network Facilitator for Banyule City Council.  The program has a focus on assessment for learning and development that strengthens professional capacity to improve outcomes for children.
Assessment for learning and development (3:30 - 4:15pm)
This inquiry-based professional learning program aims to build and strengthen multidisciplinary professional partnerships within networks for those professionals working with children birth to eight years; with a focus on assessment for learning and development that strengthens professional capacity to improve outcomes for children. Participants in the program will share the learnings and the effective impact on their service through implementing the Inquiry process using the VCAA Assessment for Learning Tool: Early Years Planning Cycle (EYPC) to the five Learning and Development Outcomes of the VEYLDF.
Karen Hope
Karen has extensive experience working in a broad range of services within the early childhood care and education sector. In 2014 Karen established Karen Hope Consulting. This consultancy practice specialises in providing training and coaching to the early childhood education sector.  Karen also works in Higher Education and is a senior lecturer in the Bachelor of Education program at Melbourne Polytechnic. Karen lectures in play theory and pedagogical documentation.  Karen has had worked published in Every Child magazine and The Challenge – the Reggio Emilia Australia Journal. Karen is also a regular contributor to The Spoke, Early Childhood Australia’s Blog and Early Talk, Early Learning Association Australia’s Blog.
“We are all mad here” – you will need a strong conviction in your pedagogical practices to challenge the norms and assumptions that are the dominant voice in the discussion on documentation best practice, but it will be worth it! (4:15 – 5:00pm)
This presentation invites educators to “always start with the child” when producing pedagogical documentation. It is time to step away from the idea that you are only a practitioner to an idea that you are the author of pedagogical documentation. To document not for display or regulation but because you can create a visible trace of learning that represents and locates children within an environment of contexts. It will require a strong conviction and belief in your own pedagogical practices to challenge the norms and assumptions that sometimes are the dominant voice in the discussion on documentation best practice.  People might think you are mad but it will be worth it!

C3
Ange Barry
Ange Barry is the CEO of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation. With an overall vision to make pleasurable food education available to every Australian child, Ange has overseen the expansion of the Kitchen Garden Program across Australia, now running in over 800 schools and with a growing membership base of early childhood centres.
Feeding hungry minds – the benefits of pleasurable food education (3:30 - 4:15pm)
This session will introduce pleasurable food education to early childhood educators, present its benefits to children, staff and families, and demonstrate how early childhood settings can apply a kitchen garden program model to achieve their learning, wellbeing and community engagement objectives. Real-life examples will be discussed, and a question and answer session included.
Karen Anderson, Mick Robertson, Lisa Coxon, Siobhan Hannan, Doug Fargher, and Rose Major
Karen Anderson is Kindergarten teacher with 32 years of experience in a community pre-school. In 2011 Karen established the Learning and Living with Nature Program including redeveloping the pre-school yard to reflect the philosophy and establishing a weekly outdoor bush/beach program. As the children connect with nature they are exposed to the culture of the First Peoples.

Siobhan Hannan is a Melbourne kindergarten teacher and researcher and has recently completed a PhD in early childhood education.  Her areas of interest are bilingual education, outdoor learning, early years pedagogy and practitioner research.

Rose Major has been teaching at Kallista Kindergarten for four years, during which time she has been responsible for extending the kindergarten’s Nature Kinder program to the three-year-old groups. Rose has also launched the service’s Nature Playgroup, which builds families’ engagement.

Lisa Coxon has been the Director of the Early Childhood Centre at Woodleigh School's Minimbah Campus for the past 15 years.  Inspired by the Scandinavian Nature Kindergartens and completing study in Denmark; she returned to Australia and led an action research project to develop the Minimbah Creek Discovering in Nature Program (2012), and further developed the program for Foundation to  Year 2 Minimbah students.

Mick Robertson has been Education Co-ordinator at the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, Cranbourne since 2003, working with Bush Kinders on the site for four years.  A total of 16 groups now regularly use the site for Bush Kinder.

Doug Fargher – Founder of Australia’s “Bush Kinder”. Doug consults, writes and speaks nationally about the benefits of play-based learning in the bush. He is also a respected hands-on educator. What Doug has achieved through his work with “Bush Kinder” has successfully brought learning in nature into the consciousness of modern Australian educators.
Taking learning outdoors - tackling innovation under the national quality framework (4:15 – 5:00pm)
The Early Childhood Outdoor Learning Network (ECOLN) was created to provide a support network for practitioners in outdoor learning in Early Childhood Education and Care services around regulatory, organisational, cultural and pedagogical challenges. The Network also supports educators to build their capacity to support children through an outdoor program. In this presentation, ECOLN steering committee members will illustrate the range of outdoor programs now operating in Victoria, track the types of tasks and challenges that have been faced by teachers in establishing these, and discuss some of the pedagogical insights identified by practitioners working in the field.

C4
Carolina Cabezas and Ashley Howden
Ashley Howden holds a Bachelor of Early Childhood Studies and has worked in the Early Childhood Education field for 10 years. Her experience and pedagogical knowledge and understanding have afforded her the opportunity to promote and advocate for the cultural and linguistic rights of children at fka Children’s Services as the Education and Culture Facilitator. This role sees Ashley offer pedagogical advice, consultation and capacity building strategies to a range of early childhood services who are supporting children from diverse backgrounds to engage actively in the programs in which they participate. 

Carolina Cabezas holds a Master of Teaching (Early Childhood and Research), and is currently a PhD candidate at Monash University. Her interest in multilingualism and multilingual education is grounded in her life experience as a learner of languages, and as a teacher across a range of multilingual early childhood settings in Melbourne. Her doctoral research draws on critical and postcolonial theories to explore how multilingual pedagogies can be enacted in early childhood classrooms with young bi/multilingual children, educators and families.
The active contribution in learning of multilingual children in monolingual programs (3:30 - 4:15pm)
Identifying and extending on the active contribution in learning of children who are multilingual within monolingual programs requires knowledge, understanding and action. Exploring equity, diversity and how we engage in respectful relationships and responsive engagement builds a proactive foundation for how Educators can model and practice supporting the cultural and linguistic rights of children. Understanding key strategies that empower educators to reach beyond the everyday and engage in a reflective and proactive strategy building approach will see a vast difference in the active participation and engagement of not only children who are acquiring English as an additional language, but all those participating in the program.
Shellie Taia and Kim Knersch
Shellie Taia is Team Leader Yerambooee Kindergarten, Wyndham City Council. Shellie has been teaching within the EC profession for nine years. As a dedicated early childhood professional she is inspired and driven by sharing knowledge and understanding of our First Australians with children, families, fellow educators and the community. With the support of Narragunnawali, Shellie has transformed her learning environment and has successfully embedded ATSI perspectives. She is now committed to sharing her journey, the trials and tribulations, and curriculum ideas with the wider EC community.

Kim Knersch is the Quality and Educational Leader, Wyndham City Council. Kim has worked in the EC profession for over thirty years in varies roles, across three layers of government and in the NFP and FP sectors. Notably her role as an Assessor under the NQF has led to her current position as Educational Leader with Wyndham City. Her primary function as the Educational Leader has been to build the capacity of the educators to be the best pedagogues that they can be. As a child growing up in the 60/70s her view of ATSI people was, to put it mildly quite distorted.  Driven and committed, Kim’s ambition is to inspire and support the Wyndham and broader EC community to contribute to righting the wrongs, closing the gaps and celebrating the oldest living culture in the world.
Reconciliation in early childhood: the past, the present and the future (4:15 – 5:00pm)
Reconciliation: the past, the present and the future. This interactive workshop will highlight the importance of Reconciliation action planning within the early childhood sector. It will demonstrate practical ideas, stories, videos and photos of how to authentically embed ATSI perspectives within an EC setting and will also share the journey of how this was achieved. This session will discuss the ugly truth of the Stolen Generation and how this too can be shared with very young children to build empathy and compassion. This session will conclude with a call to action for all session participants to engage in Reconciliation and to build their professional and personal knowledge base of the importance of valuing ATSI culture.

C5
Mai Vo, Donna McMahan, Indira Ray, Shazia Rizwan, Teresa Delimar, Cheryl Karabidian, Eldre Cashman, Reme Sanchez, Melissa Bell, Sigi Hyett, and Heather Barnes
Sigi Hyett  is a passionate early childhood professional with over 30 years’ experience. This includes: managing long day care, kindergarten cluster management, family day care, occasional care and business and finance.  She has worked in a range of settings including community health, local government, school, private business, and non-for-profit. She holds a Bachelor of Early Childhood, Diploma of Community Services (Child Care), Diploma of Business (Governance) and is a member of the Institute of Community Directors Australia.

Heather Barnes is an early childhood consultant and works throughout Australia.  Heather has taught in kindergartens, higher education and TAFE, worked for the National Childcare Accreditation Council, local government and Gowrie Victoria and has a passion for quality outcomes for children. She is a Life Member of Gowrie Victoria, a member of the Victorian Children’s Council and was awarded an Order of Australia Medal in 2015 for service to early childhood education.

Melissa Bell has a passion for children’s rights and is an advocate for children’s independence and choices, working with families to strengthen children’s learning in the early years.  She has taught in kindergartens in New Zealand and Australia, joined the KCCC team in June 2014 and quickly progressed into the management team as the Pedagogical Leader.

Jess Whamond has a Diploma of Children’s services and is passionate about sustainability. Jess embeds her passion into the children’s learning so it is naturally included in everyday practice supporting children to become advocates for the planet and their future.

Mai Vo has a Diploma qualification in Children’s Services and has over 10 years of experience working with children of all ages. Mai came to Australia from Vietnam and speaks fluent English and Vietnamese.

Shazia Rizwan completed her Diploma of Children and Community Services in Melbourne and has been working as part of the KCCC team for over seven years. Shazia believes that being a role model is the best tool for teaching young children and she enjoys promoting multiculturalism.

Indira Ray Indira has extensive experience in primary teaching and in early childhood settings, holds a Bachelor of Teaching and a Diploma of Children’s Services. Indira believes in empowering children and teaching children in a holistic manner.

Eldre Cashman has a Diploma of Children’s Services which has equipped her with the skills, knowledge and understanding on how to guide children in their learning through play to support their growth and development.
The child in focus – moving to integrated service delivery through critical reflective practice (3:30 - 4:15pm)
Following deep and critical reflection, Kensington Community Child Care Cooperative has moved to an integrated service delivery model that incorporates multi-age grouping. This has resulted in positive outcomes for children and educators who feel proud, engaged and empowered. A panel from the service (and PD facilitator, Heather Barnes) will share why and how the service moved in this direction and the outcomes for children and staff so that others may be inspired and learn from their experience.  The educators will present action research that each team undertook to continuously reflect and strengthen their focus on outcomes for children.
Alicia Camilleri

Building a collaborative relationship between early childhood education and care educators and early intervention professionals

Building a collaborative relationship between early childhood education and care educators and early intervention professionals (4:15 – 5:00pm)
Early childhood educators frequently work with early childhood intervention professionals. Working collaboratively can offer many benefits for children with disabilities and their peers. This session will discuss the work which Noah's Ark early childhood intervention service has undertaken to ensure a collaborative partnership with early childhood education and care professionals including:
• a project regarding experiences and expectations of educators when working with early childhood intervention professionals.
• a national and international literature review, regarding collaborative consultation in early childhood education and care settings.
• the learning's from an international study tour, which investigated models of practice to enhance this collaborative practice.

C6
Louise Dorrat
Louise Dorrat has extensive experience in managing early years services – from Inclusion Support to Family Day Care and has taught the Bachelor of Education at a number of Universities, including the Institute of Koorie Education (IKE) at Deakin University. Louise is contracted by organisations such as Federal and State Governments, Children’s Ground, ELAA, Child Australia and Gowrie to deliver training across Australia. Louise's background in Theatre provides sessions that are at once engaging and entertaining.
Reflective practice is not “Today was a lovely day” it is so much more. (3:30 - 4:15pm)
Critical reflection involves examining all aspects of events and experiences from different perspectives (EYLF, p,14). Deep reflection involves looking at our pedagogical practices and asking: Whose interests they serve? Is the child central to this focus? Are the rights of the child being paramount?  Educators must not underestimate how powerful we are in shaping children’s identity. Looking through a social justice lens:
Does your pedagogy benefit each child, particularly vulnerable children?
Is your pedagogical practice fair and equitable to ALL children and families?
Do you understand the difference between reflective practice and critical reflection?
Are you ensuring that you are considering each child’s belonging, being and becoming?
Denise Nash and Catherine Daniels
Catherine Daniels has worked within the Early and Middle Education and Care Sector for 19 years in roles which include an Early Education Centre Director, Family Day Care and OOSH Manager and currently Region Manager for Sutherland Shire Council’s Children’s Services. Catherine is passionate about curriculum, leadership and empowering the Children’s Services community to improve the outcomes for children, which has led to her regularly facilitating professional development sessions for Gowrie NSW, Family Day Care NSW, ECTARC and Sutherland Shire Council’s Registered Training Organisation.

Denise Nash has worked in the Early Years profession for 30 years in a variety of roles such as an Educational Leader, Family Day Care Child Development Officer and Playgroup Co-ordinator, Student Mentor, Facilitator (Family Day Care) and in the Vocational Education and Training sector. Denise is currently the Professional Learning Coordinator for Sutherland Shire Council, Children’s Services. She is motivated to inspire educators to reach their full potential through reflective practices and lifelong learning. Denise has a keen interest in relationships and promoting positive partnerships with families.
Being the best you can be so the children can be too (4:15 – 5:00pm)
Children are confident and involved learners when they are nurtured for and educated by professionals who have a strong sense of self, who are committed to ongoing professional learning, are curious and have a deep understanding of the current practices, trends and research. An educator is more able to support the developmental needs of individual and groups of children when they are inspired and motivated to be the best they can be. Bronfenbrenner’s ecological theory supports the themes within this session by highlighting how an educator’s mindset will significantly impact on positive outcomes for children.

C7
Gill Barclay, Dr Tim Morrissey, Bianca Piscitello, David Dean, and Jim Courescas
Dr Tim Morrissey – PhD Environmental Science, Natural Resource Management Policy and Reporting, parent at Moreland Community Child Care Centre (MCCCC).

Bianca Piscitello – Bachelor of Education (Early Years) Hons, Seedlings Project City of Port Phillip, Sustainability Educator at MCCCC from 2016.

David Dean – five years primary school teaching. ResourceSmart Coordinator at Preston South Primary School, Resource Smart Coordinator at MCCCC from 2016.

Jim Courescas – local resident, cleaning contractor at MCCCC for five years.

Gill Barclay – 23 years in early childhood. Children's Services Coordinator at City of Stonnington, Director of MCCCC from 2009.
Enter the green warriors - the Battle of Evermore (3:30 - 4:15pm)
"We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children" – various.

It's one thing to subscribe to the principles of sustainability and promote the values of educating children in the practices of recycling and environmental awareness – but how do we actually do it in a meaningful (and sustainable) way?

It's hard – it takes time and planning. It means buy-in from all stakeholders – parents, educators, contractors, neighbours, Council – but most importantly, the children.

MCCCC implemented a dedicated plan, supported by the organisation's Strategic Plan. The results have been magnificent!
Melanie Turkopp
Mel is currently an educator and the educational leader at Elwood Children’s Centre in Melbourne. She has a Diploma and over 27 years of experience in a number of roles, including working in the Middle East. These roles have given her perspectives about the variety of ways that children learn. Mel has taught at Swinburne University and recently participated in a project with the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority resulting in a resource that consists of two videos that focus on Mel’s pedagogy with very young children and conversations with her about her practice.
Outside the box: promoting learning and wellbeing through sleep experiences (4:15 – 5:00pm)
This session is based on a research/inquiry project undertaken to alter practice in order to give very young children and families greater choice about where and when they sleep. Using the outdoor environment for rest and sleep supports children’s sense of agency and their health and also is a relaxed time for all involved. The session content demonstrates a critically reflective approach to pedagogy and close attention to, and respect for children, as competent and capable.

C8
Dr Anne Kennedy and Nicola Heywood
Dr Anne Kennedy has extensive experience as an early childhood academic, writer, trainer, researcher, and consultant. She was a member of the Charles Sturt University led consortium that developed the first national Early Learning Framework. Anne is chairperson of Community Child Care Association (VIC) and holds honorary academic appointments with the University of Melbourne and Charles Sturt universities. Anne is a co-facilitator of the South Eastern Region, DET funded Leadership for Community Engagement program, which is a professional development course for early childhood professionals. 

Nicola Heywood trained as a social worker in the UK.  Nicola has extensive experience working with children with disabilities and their families, working in multidisciplinary teams and working across government departments including social care, health and education.  Nicola is passionate about community engagement as a model to promote outcomes for children and families, especially vulnerable communities. Nicola is a co-facilitator of the South Eastern Region, DET funded Leadership for Community Engagement program.
Changing what we know, think and do: Using action research to gain new insights about children, families and communities (3:30 - 4:15pm)
Early childhood professionals working with children and families have varied and complex responsibilities.  Often they are so busy doing their everyday work that they have little time to look at the bigger picture; to look beyond their workplace to consider and respond to broader community and societal issues that affect children and families. This workshop will showcase in practical ways how action research processes can be used by early childhood professionals to better understand the complex issues impacting on children and families in order to support meaningful child and family participation and improved outcomes for children, families and communities.
Lou Ambrosy
Lou is a qualified Occupational Therapist with more than 30 years of experience working with children with disabilities. She has worked alongside researchers and other professionals in the field to create the Best Practice in Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) course for ECI professionals and coordinates the Key Worker Online Course. Lou regularly presents at sector conferences regarding the inclusion of children with a disability.
Embedding a culture of learning into an ECEC team (4:15 – 5:00pm)
To enable continual staff improvement in reflective practice with children, it is essential that we ensure that any new learning is embedded in practice. Evidence shows that the most effective form for adults to learn and achieve best practice is not to attend one-off training sessions, but rather to embed learning into their everyday practice in a consistent and meaningful way. Whilst training may have a valuable role to play in the introduction of an idea, the embedding of learnings into everyday practices is a team and organisational responsibility. Managers have a critical role to play to ensure that any learning is continual and put into practice. We have moved past an era where we "Train and Hope".

C9
Dr Jan Deans
Jan Deans is Director of the Early Learning Centre, which is the University of Melbourne’s research and demonstration preschool. She is a long-time advocate for teaching and learning through the arts and has broadly based expertise in relation to early childhood education and service delivery. Her recent research interests include learning through dance, social emotional competence, and learning through music. In 1997 she established Boorai – The Children's Art Gallery to present the voices of young children as expressed through their art and narratives. Boorai collaborates with educational and community organisations locally, nationally and internationally.
Dance as a semiotic tool for embodied thinking and relational discourse (3:30 - 4:15pm)
This presentation will introduce a readily accessible dance class structure that can be adopted by teachers to support children’s holistic development. It will provide insight into a model of teaching and learning that acknowledges the right of young children to have the opportunity to express their ideas, thoughts and feelings in an environment that promotes artistic explorations that are embedded in the principles of socio-constructivism. The role of the teacher will be explored with the emphasis placed on uncovering the efficacy of intentional and purposeful mediated scaffolding that honours children’s learning interests and life-worthy learning content.
Dr Ben Deery
Dr. Ben Deery is both a qualified Clinical Neuropsychologist and Early Childhood Educator, and currently lectures in Early Childhood Education and Care, with the Melbourne Graduate School of Education (MGSE), University of Melbourne, where he also conducts his research program. Ben has worked previously at the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, as a Paediatric Clinical Neuropsychologist and in the Learning Differences Clinic. He has worked more recently as a lead educator at the University of Melbourne, Early Learning Centre, as a 4-year-old kindergarten teacher and centre psychologist. He holds an Honorary Research Fellow position with the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute.
Mindfulness in early childhood education – the Mindful M.A.T. Time Intervention Program: the child in focus, and the focus in the child (4:15 – 5:00pm)
With mental health issues in young children increasing, and one in five educators planning to leave in the next 12 months; something needs to change. Mindfulness in early childhood may hold the key. This talk will review the evidence behind mindfulness, the promise and benefits for children, parents, and educators, and will introduce a novel research-based program called Mindful M.A.T. Time for Children. Led by Dr. Deery, this intervention aims to improve young children’s attention, executive functioning, mental health, and behaviour. Finally, Ben will present a number of mindful games and activities used in the program for educators and parents.

5:00pm to 6:00pm
Cocktail party
Saturday 27 May 2017
8:00am to 8:45am
Registration & Trade Fair

8:45am to 9:00am
Conference App Demonstration

9:00am to 9:15am
Conference Opening Andrew Hume, Gowrie Victoria Chief Executive Officer

9:15am to 9:30am
Starting Out Safely Road Safety Education Award

9:30am to 9:45am
Entertainment Marty Fields

9:45am to 10:00am
Keynote Reprise
Professor Edward Melhuish OBE
Edward Melhuish OBE is Professor of Human Development at Oxford University, and a visiting professor at the University of Wollongong. He was involved in studies affecting policy in the UK and is currently undertaking studies in Norway, European community, UK, and Australia.  His research influenced the 1989 Children Act, the 2005 Children Act, 2006 Childcare Bill and policy on childcare, early education, child poverty and parental support in the UK and other countries.  He is a scientific advisor to research councils in Norway, Finland, Portugal, South Korea, Chile, Australia, and Canada, and a consultant to the European Commission, OECD and WHO.
Keynote Reprise - Early childhood experience, long-term development and the wealth of nations
For those that couldn’t attend the Friday morning Keynote Address: Professor Edward Melhuish OBE delivers a 15-minute snapshot of his presentation Early childhood experience, long-term development and the wealth of nations in which Ted examines recent evidence from studies in many countries which indicate how differing patterns of experience in the early years, both in the home and outside the home (e.g. early childhood education and care) can have long-term impact on children’s educational and socio-emotional development.   

10:00am to 10:45am
Panel Discussion
Sandra Cheeseman, Anne Stonehouse, Kathrine Whitty and Professor Edward Melhuish OBE
Sandra Cheeseman is an early childhood teacher and now lecturer in early childhood at Macquarie University Sydney. Her current research work focuses on the experiences of infants as they encounter curriculum in early childhood settings. This interest stems from her involvement in the development of the EYLF and the continuing tension so see infants as capable learners but as also needing wise adults to support what and how they learn.

Anne Stonehouse works as a consultant, writer and developer of videos and other resources on a variety of topics in early childhood education and care. She was a member of the Charles-Sturt-University-based consortium that wrote the national Early Years Learning Framework. Since its launch in 2009 she has been involved in a number of projects related to the EYLF and the nature of excellence in pedagogy, particularly with under three-year-olds. In recognition of her contribution to children and children’s services, Anne was appointed a Member of the General Division of the Order of Australia in 1999.

Kathrine Whitty graduated with a Diploma in the late 1980s. She has been researching how the legacy of attachment theory and the emotional work of practitioners impacts on their sense of professionalism. She is now studying within the Education Department at the University of Canberra and has 25 years of experience as an educator with infants and toddlers, as a service director, adult teacher, regulator and industrial advocate.

Edward  Melhuish OBE is Professor of Human Development at Oxford University, and a visiting professor at the University of Wollongong. He was involved in studies affecting policy in the UK and is currently undertaking studies in Norway, European community, UK, and Australia.  His research influenced the 1989 Children Act, the 2005 Children Act, 2006 Childcare Bill and policy on childcare, early education, child poverty and parental support in the UK and other countries.  He is a scientific advisor to research councils in Norway, Finland, Portugal, South Korea, Chile, Australia, and Canada, and a consultant to the European Commission, OECD and WHO.
Baby talk: theoretical perspectives and observation as pedagogical foundations
The complexity of working with children under three years in education and care settings is often underestimated. This facilitated conversation focuses on important components of reflective and thoughtful pedagogy and challenges several long-held assumptions.

Aiming to provoke critical reflection, the presenters explore:
• contributions of attachment theory to pedagogy 
• content of observations and their contribution to pedagogy
• the nature of pedagogies that respond to very young children’s agency
• perceptions of working with very young children.

These ideas impact on policy and practice throughout the early childhood profession and have implications for all early childhood care and education professionals. 

10:45am to 11:15am
Morning Tea & Trade Fair

11:15am to 12:30pm
D1
Siobahn McCann and Rhiannon Williams

Siobhan has gained experience in senior marketing leadership roles both in the NFP and public sectors in the UK.  She has also been involved in leading advocacy strategies and lobbying work for social impact.  Her most recent role was Head of Consumer Campaigns at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. 

 

Parent Activity Groups – a new way to engage families
In this session, the ECMS team will showcase an example of positive parent group engagement in early childhood education and care services, providing an alternative to the traditional committee of management or parent advisory group. With support from a DET grant, ECMS researched, developed and piloted a new model called the Parent Activity Group between 2012-2016. Hear about the latest research and practical findings, roles of parents and educators, effective strategies and tools, challenges and recommendations for building a positive parent group in ECEC services, aligned to the new Early Years Management Policy framework.

D2
Warren Cann
Warren Cann is the Chief Executive Officer of the Parenting Research Centre, a national organisation that aims to improve outcomes for children by connecting research and practice in family support. Trained in clinical psychology, Warren has over 25 years of experience in designing, researching, implementing and teaching in the field of parenting support. He is also a founding Director of Australia’s national parenting website, the Raising Children Network (www.raisingchildren.net.au). You can find out more about the Parenting Research Centre at www.parentingrc.org.au and Warren on Twitter at @warrengcann
Contemporary thinking about parenting and its effects on children: what you need to know to work effectively with parents
Common misperceptions of parenting and what educators need to know to be effective in working with parents.

D3
Carmel Phillips, Anne Stonehouse, Debbie Cole and Belinda Johnston.
Carmel Phillips is Manager of the Early Years Unit at the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority and works in partnership with colleagues in the Department of Education and Training to support the implementation of the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework. Key projects include review and development of curriculum and assessment resources, program development and evaluation. From 2012, this has included the development and delivery of inquiry based professional learning programs that focus on assessment practice in multidisciplinary networks to improve outcomes for children from birth to eight years.

Anne Stonehouse AM is a consultant and writer about early childhood education with a longstanding professional interest in the nature and characteristics of very young children and the kind of experiences that support their learning and development. Anne has published many books, articles and resources and was a member of the Charles Sturt University – based consortium that developed the national Early Years Learning Framework.

Debbie Cole is currently working as an early childhood trainer and consultant with a range of organisations to develop and facilitate professional learning programs and resources. Debbie is a qualified kindergarten teacher with extensive experience in children’s services, including management of the children’s program at Gowrie Victoria (North Carlton). Debbie has also worked as a teacher and course coordinator at Swinburne University and as a lecturer at RMIT. Debbie has a strong interest in the development of high quality curriculum and pedagogy, how this can be improved across all sectors and with greater emphasis on pedagogy with children under three years. She uses her experience in this area to inspire change and innovative practice with educators.

Belinda Johnston is an early childhood professional with extensive experience working with children from birth to three years in early childhood education and care services. Belinda has been working in early childhood for 20 years, including roles as a lecturer at Holmesglen Institute and as a Professional Development Facilitator with Gowrie Victoria.
Too high, too low, just right: expectations of very young children
This session will take the form of a facilitated conversation with Anne Stonehouse AM and three early childhood professionals (maternal and child health nurse and two educators). The session relates directly to a VCAA video resource: What, why and how? Pedagogy with very young children. This resource informs about ongoing implementation of the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework and aims to: 1) promote greater understanding of and stronger support for very young children under three years; 2) deepen appreciation and regard for very young children’s capabilities and the implications for practice in a variety of settings; 3) disturb and challenge current practices.

D4
Rhonda Livingstone
Rhonda Livingstone is the National Education Leader, ACECQA. She leads the teams responsible for promoting and recognising quality educational programs, practices and policies and supporting the sector and authorised officers to build a shared understanding of and commitment to implementing the National Quality Framework (NQF) and continual quality improvement. Rhonda has a wealth of experience in the early education and care sector; having worked in preschools and long day care centres and as an assessor of programs and services for both the Queensland Government and the Crèche and Kindergarten Association of Queensland. Rhonda's extensive involvement in the National Quality Agenda reforms saw her contribute to the development of the National Quality Standard and its guide, assessment and rating tools and processes and the training and testing program for authorised officers. Rhonda also worked as a Senior Advisor, Excellent Rating with ACECQA and as a sessional education academic with the Queensland University of Technology.
Children’s identity growth and sense of belonging- connection and engagement through community
Experiences of relationships and participation in communities assist children to learn about themselves and construct their identity. This presentation will explore contemporary research and how early childhood professionals can honour children’s right to express their opinions and participate in civic and cultural life. The presentation will also explore how sector awareness and understanding of the National Quality Standard has built professional capacity and influenced the community thinking about the importance of childhood. Examples of practice will be used to illustrate how young children can influence decision making as active citizens of a community and how services can work to impart values and advocate the rights and voice of children.

12:30pm to 1:30pm
Lunch & Trade Fair

1:30pm to 3:00pm
E1
Hannah Stark and Jenny Nicholls
Hannah Stark is a speech pathologist, a research fellow and a PhD candidate, Melbourne Graduate School of Education. Her research centres on optimising collaboration between educators and speech pathologists to benefit all children. Hannah’s PhD research is investigating the knowledge and practice of early years’ teachers in relation to language and literacy instruction. Hannah is project coordinator for the evaluation of the Every Toddler Talking trial.

Jenny Nicholls, Senior Policy Officer, Victorian Department of Education and Training (DET), leads the Every Toddler Talking initiative. Jenny is a qualified early childhood educator with extensive experience in community-based early childhood services. She has conducted professional development and training across the state; worked as a sessional teacher at Swinburne University; managed the Community Health Service in a remote Aboriginal community in Maningrida, NT; and worked in management and executive roles at a range of early childhood NGO’s.
Every Toddler Talking research trial
The ability of children to speak, listen and be understood are important skills which provide the foundation for child and adult literacy. The Victorian Department of Education and Training has investigated an approach for improving babies’ and toddlers’ language and communication. Evaluated by Professor Collette Tayler and Associate Professor Tricia Eadie at the University of Melbourne, Every Toddler Talking is a controlled trial of the Learning Language and Loving It TM program – a collaborative partnership between early childhood educators and speech pathologists. This session will outline the policy and the conceptual framework underlying this initiative and discuss change in educator practice, impact on educator/speech pathologist collaboration as well as child outcomes.

E2
Pat Jewell
Pat Jewell has a background in early childhood development and is the author of three publications Getting Good Speech Going (assisting young children with their speech) and two group work manuals for professionals Out of the Mainstream (working with parents with an intellectual disability in a group situation) and From Strength to Strength (for professionals facilitating diverse parenting groups). Pat is team leader of the Parenting and Early Years program at the Australian Childhood Foundation. Her Masters research focused on the relationship between parents and early childhood professionals. Pat is presently a PhD candidate at University of Melbourne.
Children have the right to be heard – but how do we listen? (1:30 – 2:15pm)
In 2014 ECA signed off on the Statement of Intent on Supporting Young Children’s Rights.  The number one concern for Australia’s children was their right to be heard.  The United Nations is becoming more concerned about the lack of children under five years accessing their CRC rights. General Comment 7 acknowledges how critical the early childhood period is for realising children’s rights. This presentation will; explain Article 12 from the  Statement of Intent on Supporting Young Children’s Rights in  the context of early childhood; and support early childhood educators to  begin to implement Article 12 into their everyday practice.
Alison Webster
Alison Webster has a degree in Early Childhood Education and comes from a kindergarten teaching background. She also has experience working in Early Childhood Intervention and several years of experience as a teacher at TAFE in NSW. For the past fifteen years Alison has worked in the area of inclusion support. Firstly as a Children’s Services Resource and Development Officer and then as Team Leader of an Inclusion Support Agency. Alison is an Accredited Abecedarian practitioner and trainer. Alison is the co-author of Participating and Belonging: Inclusion in Practice (Webster and Forster, 2012).
A collaborative approach: including children with complex needs (2:15 – 3:00pm)

Wyndham City Council, in collaboration with Noah's Ark, initiated a pilot program aimed at building the capacity of kindergartens to become increasingly inclusive and responsive to the needs of children with complex needs, and to explore alternative models of professional support for educators. In this interactive workshop, participants will explore practices that were found to most effective in supporting educators to meet the learning needs of children with complex needs. Participants will hear from educators who will share their experience of the pilot program and conference delegates will have the opportunity to share their own experiences of including children with complex needs.


E3
Emma Pierce
Emma Pierce is a Special Education Teacher who has worked with children with disabilities and their families for the last 19 years in Australia and the UK, primarily in the area of early childhood intervention (ECI).  Emma has developed the ECEC/ECI Working Together Agreement in consultation with key stakeholders and was the main author of ECIA NSW/ACT’s Transition to School Resource (2014). She has developed and facilitated training with parents, carers and professionals across NSW. Emma has also co-authored a number of other practical resources for professionals and families. Emma is also a sessional academic at Western Sydney University.
The Working Together Agreement – a package designed to support collaborative inclusive practice between early childhood education and care and early childhood intervention practitioners. (1:30 – 2:15pm)
The Working Together Agreement is a free resource package which early childhood educators can utilise to promote collaboration between all involved in a team supporting a child with a disability. The Working Together Agreement aims to address some emerging issues and barriers to collaboration and inclusive practice within the context of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) roll out.  This workshop provides opportunities for participants to explore the practical elements of the Working Together Agreement package and to discuss how collaborative practice can support best practice for each child and their family.
Megan Keyes and Carolin Wenzel
Megan Keyes is Manager of Strategy and Operations at the Centre for Community Child Health (CCCH), Murdoch Childrens Research Institute. Megan is responsible for guiding the strategic direction of the Centre’s work towards its vision of ‘the best possible outcomes for children, families and communities’. Megan supports and develops stakeholder partnerships, works with the early years sector to advocate for policy reform, builds the profile of the Centre and its work, and implements technological solutions to improve Centre practice efficiencies. 

Carolin Wenzel manages the Early Learning Everyone Benefits campaign, which is a collaboration between Early Childhood peak bodies, providers, research organisations and community organisations.  Carolin has more than 30 years of experience in communication and strategic campaigning to achieve social change.  She was the Communications Manager for Greenpeace Australia Pacific and the Public Affairs Manager for The Benevolent Society and is currently Campaigns and Media Manager with Early Childhood Australia.
Early years professionals as advocates – engaging the public in the value of ECEC (2:15 – 3:00pm)
It’s an exciting time for early childhood professionals to get involved in public communication about the important role of early childhood education and care – for children, families and society. Often when we start to engage, we find that people express outdated ideas about what’s best for children.  This session will outline these gaps in understanding between the public and early childhood experts. Participants will learn new ‘framing’ and language skills to talk with parents and the public about the benefits of quality early learning, and how to easily advocate through the Early Learning Everyone Benefits campaign and social media.

E4
Ann Slater and Karen Anderson
Ann Slater and Karen Anderson are kindergarten teachers with 36 and 32 years of experience respectively. Currently Karen and Ann teach at Balnarring Pre-school delivering the Learning and Living with Nature program. This involves teaching in a bush/beach setting once a week and includes learning about the culture of the First Peoples.
Our story of three educational services: our practices and journey embedding First People's perspectives into our community (1:30 – 2:15pm)
Our presentation will share the journey of three local children's services who committed to a new partnership, and relationship with each other and the local community. Bundjil Nest Project reflects our beliefs, values and commitment that the perspectives of First People's should be explicitly acknowledged, and respectfully embedded into all our educational practices.  We will share the challenges, highlights and successes of this project throughout the presentation. We will focus on collaboration between services, developing a strong sense of community and celebrating First Peoples culture and stories.
Lysa Dealtry
Lysa works as a lecturer and researcher at the School of Education, Charles Sturt University (CSU). Lysa’s doctoral research explored a positive start to school from the perspective of Aboriginal children, their families, and educators, living in an urban community. Lysa has been an academic with CSU since 2009. Her current teaching and research areas and interests include: transitions in the early years; social justice pedagogies; Indigenous education studies; and, play and learning. Prior to joining the team at CSU, Lysa was an early years classroom teacher in regional Victoria.
Starting school: learning from Aboriginal children, their mothers, and their educators. (2:15 – 3:00pm)
This session will provide an opportunity for learning about the experiences of starting school in an urban community from the perspective of Aboriginal children, their mothers and their educators. Children’s and mothers’ narratives of self – as the children started and progressed through their first years of primary school – will be presented. The intersections between children’s and mothers’ sense of self and the ways in which educators can promote a positive start to school are explored. The session will promote strengths-based understandings of the capacities of children, families and educators as stakeholders in the transition to school.

E5
Natalie Peters
Natalie Peters is a Room Leader (0-2 years) at Clarendon Children’s Centre and, as part of the leadership team, contributed to the Centre attaining an ‘Excellent’ rating from ACECQA in 2015. She continues to mentor her team to strive for 'excellence' especially by challenging 'taken for granted' assumptions of how to work with very young children. Natalie has commenced her Early Childhood Teacher training and expects to attain her qualification in 2018.
Under two’s myth busting (1:30 – 2:15pm)
Since beginning as the room leader in an under-two-year-old room Natalie Peters has consistently questioned ‘taken for granted’ practice and looked for ways to genuinely involve children in decision making about the learning program. Natalie and her team reflected on their values, drew on learning theories, and consulted their policies and regulations to consider why they were doing things the way they’d always been done – and whether there might, in fact, be a better way!
Anita Ho Gupta
Anita Ho Gupta is a kindergarten teacher with Wimble Street Childcare Co-operative. The bulk of her childhood was spent outdoors – far from the gaze of adults and in the stark absence of technology. Anita places value in fostering ecological literacy within her kindergarten program. At the core of her teaching pedagogy is the understanding that being in nature plays a fundamental role in a child’s early years. It is her belief that outdoor experiences, such as bush kinder, help to build children’s resilience and their ability to assess risk. She holds a special interest towards curricula in non-traditional learning environments.
Cooee! The natural and risky play of kindergarteners (2 :15 – 3:00pm)
What are your memories of play as a child? Research shows that one or more of the following features are often key: outdoors; with friends; and not under the view of parents. We owned our own learning as children. It was not controlled or structured by adults. Regardless of how "safe" we felt it was, it is characterised by deep interest and engagement.  The term "bush kinder" is the latest buzzword since "learning through play". Is bush kinder more than a trend? How does outdoor education foster children's ability to assess risk?  We will review current literature as we explore the relationship between risk and resilience and its role in nature play. 

E6
Carmel Phillips, Louise Marbina and Sapna Sachdeva
Carmel Phillips is Manager of the Early Years Unit at the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority. Her work supports the implementation of the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework including review and development of curriculum and assessment resources; program development; evaluation; and development and delivery of inquiry-based professional learning programs that focus on assessment practice to improve outcomes for children from birth to eight years.

Louise Marbina is the manager of Educational Play Therapy and Music Therapy at the Royal Childrens’ Hospital and has worked for more than 20 years in supporting children and families across health, education and social work settings.  She has a joint degree in Education and Social Work, a post-graduate certificate in Autism, a Diploma in Paediatric Health Care Management and a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Teaching (MTEACH).  She is also a Certified Child Life Specialist (international hospital play therapy).

Sapna Sachdeva is an experienced primary teacher and VCAA Specialist Teacher for the Victorian Curriculum F-10 Health Education Curriculum Area.
Promoting and supporting children’s wellbeing: positive outcomes across services and schools, at home and in the community.
A facilitated conversation based on a VCAA project Supporting a Continuum of Learning. Three professionals, from early childhood education and care settings and schools, will share and reflect on how the VEYLDF Wellbeing Outcome informs their planning and practice. Teachers in the early years of school value the foundational learning children bring to school and build on this learning. The Personal and Social Capability in the Victorian Curriculum F-10 aligns with the Wellbeing Outcome.  Joint approaches to planning across early years services and settings supports children’s progression along a continuum of learning and achievement.

E7
Rebecca Marriott, Sue Ritchie, and Sally Baker
Rebecca Marriott is the current Vice President of Karmai Community Children’s Centre in the small community of Korumburra – an area that experiences above average disadvantage. She believes that access to the right support and quality early education sets children up for learning for life! Rebecca has worked collaboratively with all of the partners over a period of eight years to lead and drive the development of Karmai Community Children’s Centre, culminating in the opening of a $5.2 million dollar state-of-the-art integrated facility. She also works as the Assistant Area Director at the Department of Health and Human Services in Inner Gippsland.
 
Sally Baker is the Coordinator of Children and Family Services at the South Gippsland Shire Council. She is a strong advocate for rural education. She has a background in early childhood education and now manages a team delivering maternal and child health, immunisation and pre-school programs. Sally has been actively involved in the development of the Karmai facility in Korumburra promoting a strong partnership between parents, education partners and the local Council.

Sue Ritchie is the Operational Manager at Karmai Community Children’s Centre – an exciting job, which blends Sue’s loves of educating children, developing teams and providing services to communities.  As a qualified education, training and HR professional, Sue is an advocate for professional development and has been instrumental in the development and chairing of HR network groups, think tanks, leadership forums and business training. She is a business leader with a passion for collective achievement, creating a positive work environment and a team approach for success. 
Karmai Connections – more than co-location (1:30 – 2:15pm)
Hear the journey of a co-design process in the development of a new service model, from its early beginnings, to a ‘virtual integrated centre’, culminating with the opening of a brand new state- of-the-art $5.2 million dollar integrated children’s centre. Learn how to apply the principles of partnership, engagement, collaboration, community management and co-design to achieve outcomes for children and families. The presenters will also highlight the ‘people element’, professional development, and cultural change involved in delivering contemporary and inspirational programs and services to the community.
Helen Lam
Helen trained in the UK initially as a Primary School teacher before completing a postgraduate qualification in Early Years. Her first early years role was in an inner city area of severe disadvantage in the Midlands of England. In 2012 Helen came to Australia to work in a remote rural kinder/childcare integrated program in North West Victoria. Helen teaches a mixed age cohort in a single room, and is also responsible for managing a small team of trainee early childhood professionals.
The integrated kinder/childcare model (2:15 – 3:00pm)
Integrating kindergarten with long day care is unique – particularly in the rural context where community values largely protect the ‘status quo’.  Managing the changes required for a successful integration has challenged staff and the community to consider the strengths, gaps and merits of the program. However, in four years we have gone from only generating limited program interest to being oversubscribed.  We have achieved this by positively promoting the service and the opportunities offered; working closely with parents and Prep teachers to ensure our practice is relevant; regular staff professional development; and developing a child centred philosophy.

E8
Mary Jeavons
Mary Jeavons is a registered landscape architect with over 25 years of experience specialising in the planning and design of early childhood spaces of all kinds.  Mary is the director of Jeavons Landscape Architects, a specialist firm with a core expertise in the design of inclusive outdoor play areas in early childhood and early intervention centres, school grounds, public parks and therapeutic environments.  She is a representative on the Standards committee for playgrounds, and has a good understanding of the practical implications of safety standards for early childhood settings.  She advocates strongly for natural inclusive play settings that engage children in self-directed play.
Against the synthetic grass tide – planning quality outdoor environments for young children (1:30 – 2:15pm)
In order to engage young children, outdoor play environments need to offer key characteristics that emphasise loose parts, sensory qualities and natural materials. These qualities can challenge adult preconceptions of what children need and especially how spaces should look.  Loose natural settings can also be difficult to provide and manage in intensively used play spaces. The default material is frequently a wide expanse of synthetic grass.  This presentation examines a range of planning, design and management ideas and solutions, aiming to balance practicalities, cost and overall manageability of a space with the soft, loose qualities that engage children.
Ben De Quadros Wander, Suzana Klarin, Ella Baxter, Rei Otsuki, and Natalie Jones
Suzana Klarin is a kindergarten teacher and team leader at the University of Melbourne’s Early Learning Centre. Her philosophy places children’s thinking at the centre of her pedagogy and she draws upon the arts, in particular poetry and metaphorical language, to help children to develop deep understandings about the world in which they live.  Suzana’s experience spans a variety of early childhood settings, mentoring, and lecturing.

Natalie Jones is a kindergarten teacher and team leader at the University of Melbourne’s Early Learning Centre. Natalie’s experience spans 20 years across long day care, tutoring in Indigenous Australian Studies, and guest lecturing on a range of topics including the Reggio Emilia approach to education, indigenous perspectives in early childhood, and anti-bias curriculum.
 
Ben de Quadros-Wander is a kindergarten teacher at The University of Melbourne’s Early Learning Centre. In addition to work in early childhood education in Australia and Taiwan, he has also worked as a freelance illustrator and designer for the past 10 years and has had his work published in various children's books, newspapers, websites and educational resources. Ben is an advocate for effective technology integration, creative approaches to mathematics and environmentally sustainable practices in early childhood education. 

Ella Baxter holds qualifications in both dance and education. In addition to her work at the University of Melbourne’s Early Learning Centre as a kindergarten teacher, she has taught ballet and contemporary dance for the Australian Youth Dance Theatre.
 
Rei Otsuki is a kindergarten teacher at the University of Melbourne’s Early Learning Centre. Rei holds additional qualifications in music education and is committed to connecting children to their local community through projects that support the development of empathy and compassion.
Stepping out, speaking out and finding out (2:15 – 3:00pm)
Stepping out, speaking out and finding out is a panel presentation by teachers from the University of Melbourne’s Early Learning Centre.  Four distinctly different community projects will be showcased to highlight how children and teachers can collaborate with others in the local community to build relationships and to develop shared understandings of what it means to be active citizens.

E9
Catharine Hydon and members of the Early Childhood Australia Victorian Branch Committee
Catharine Hydon has extensive experience in the early childhood sector in Australia and overseas.  Beginning as a teacher in a sessional kindergarten program, Catharine has gone on to manage a range of services for children and their families.  Catharine has a Masters in Early Childhood Education specialising in the delivery of integrated services and the exploration of innovative programs to engage vulnerable children and their families.  She is currently serving as the Co-chair of the Reconciliation Advisory group for ECA and President of the ECA Victorian Branch. Catharine is a member of the working party who reviewed the Code of Ethics in 2015/16 and is currently co-writing an Implementation Guide for the Code.
The ECA Code of Ethics: professional ethics in early childhood education and care (1:30 – 2:15pm)
Choosing to act ethically is a defining feature of professionals who work with children and their families.  It is the delicate art of understanding what we have a right to do and what is right to do.  It applies in equal measure to the relationships we pursue with children, families, our colleagues and importantly to the way we understand ourselves.
As the dimensions of our practice change and the nature of community life becomes more complex, the need for an ethical frame to inform and shape our professional decisions becomes even more critical.  This session will showcase the revised ECA Code of Ethics and invite educators to consider their practice in line with its principles and commitments.
Dr. Stacey Fox
Dr Stacey Fox is a Policy Fellow at the Mitchell Institute at Victoria University. The Mitchell Institute is committed to an education system that equips all young people to be creative, entrepreneurial, resilient and capable learners. Stacey has worked in research and policy across child, youth and family sectors for a number of years.  Most recently, she was Senior Manager of Research and Projects at the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth where she led a large national project focused on parent engagement in learning.
What policies do we need to make sure every child has the opportunity to be a confident and engaged learner? (2:15 – 3:00pm)
This paper will outline the Mitchell Institute’s work on the policy settings we need to support educators, to enable continuous quality improvement, and to make sure quality is at the heart of all early education and care in Australia. It will consider the role of policy in key contributors to quality, like effective pre-service training for educators and ongoing professional learning and leadership development – with a particular focus on how to scale-up and sustain effective practice.

3:00pm to 3:30pm
Afternoon Tea & Trade Fair

3:30pm to 4:30pm
F1
Desley Jones
Desley Jones has over 30 years of experience in early childhood education and is director of Ballymore Kindergarten, Brisbane. She has a degree in education and an honours degree in psychology, and is a recipient of an Inspirational Teaching Award for which she was nominated by kindergarten parents in recognition of her emphasis on children’s social and emotional wellbeing in her educational program. Desley’s framework for intentional teaching for relationships – Creating a Caring Community of Learners – was accepted for presentation at the Infants and Early Childhood Social and Emotional Wellbeing Conference, Canberra, 2013. Desley teaches fulltime, and presents workshops and writes journal articles for educators.
Playing at pretend: executive functioning in action (3:30 - 4:00pm)
This session will include a brief introduction to executive functioning skills. Examples of children at play, illustrating the complexity and learning/development potential of pretend play, will be shared and will highlight the importance of intentionally planning for such play. Practical strategies for encouraging and extending pretend play will also be discussed as well as the place of such play within the Early Years Learning Framework.
Caroline Scott
Caroline Scott completed a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Teaching before moving into research work at Victoria University and Deakin University.   Caroline then completed a Masters of Education, writing her thesis on natural outdoor play spaces.  Supported by Early Childhood Management Services, she is currently undertaking a PhD at Deakin University on educator understanding of children’s agency.
What is agency, anyway?(4:00 – 4:30pm)
Based on Caroline Scott’s PhD project, this presentation will explore understandings of the concept of children’s agency within early childhood education and care settings.  With reference to current research, the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework, the National Quality Standard and initial findings from Caroline’s PhD project, this presentation aims to provide practitioners with a deeper understanding of children’s agency and how they can facilitate it in practice.

F2
Simone Delagarde, Marina Galstyan, and Francene Bastion
Simone Delagarde is currently the Director of Honeybee Children’s Centre a large city-based long day care service managed by KU Children’s Services. Simone holds a Bachelor of Teaching (birth – 8 years) and has worked in the ECE sector since 1994. She is a strong advocate for innovative and reflective practice and has worked to create a cohesive team that collectively contributes to the teaching and learning pathways of children, families and each other. She remains curious, challenged and inspired in her work.

Marina Galstyan is currently the Director of KU Bradfield Park Children’s Centre. She holds a Bachelor of Education has made significant contributions to the sector in a variety of roles as FDC carer, educator, teacher, and Director. Marina is a strong advocate for programs that integrate play and critical thinking, and that nurture dispositions in our children, families and ourselves toward empathy, equity and community.

Francene Bastion has been a committed educator in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. She has worked in a variety of teaching, advisory, managerial and consultancy roles and is currently supporting Professional Services and Learning with KU Children’s Services. Francene supports a perspective that early childhood education should resonate with individual and community perspectives, questions, knowledge and agency.
Teaching as research : reflections of a professional learning community
A Professional Learning Community reflects upon “The Thinking Lens” as a Research Tool.  Participants are invited to share a Professional Learning Community’s journey of learning; walking alongside children and each other as critical thinkers and researchers (Ann Pelo, 2015). Carefully crafted stories will highlight the use of ‘The Thinking Lens’ as a disciplined protocol for thinking and as a springboard for professional discussion among the team that enriches the authenticity of curriculum decisions; and enhances the quality and intention of documentation shared with families.

F3
Wendy Sellings and Sue Cullen
Sue Cullen learned to sing at her mother’s side in Tauranga New Zealand.  Sue draws on her many Early Years experiences to build environments of trust and playfulness which brings out the singer in all of us.
Wendy Sellings can’t remember not singing! From singing as a very young child in the cowshed with her dad to leading choirs and singing in local groups. Together, through both their work over the past five years with Vocal Nosh and Community Singing, they have seen first-hand the power of harmony to build confidence, community and well-being.  Empowering, inclusive and of ‘the here and now’ singing in a group allows each individual to express themselves, release inhibitions and connect with one another.
Sing yourself happy! (3:30 - 4:00pm)
Singing together is one of the very oldest and most effective forms of communication and bond-building.  We use a range of community singing techniques to bring the joy of this process to the wide range of people and talents who attend our workshops. Our aim is to have participants leave our workshop feeling happy, peaceful and energised, and with a sense of connection with the people who have shared this experience. The well-being effects of group singing have been well documented.
Anne Belcher
Anne Belcher (BA, BMus, DipEd) has taught music to a wide range of ages for over fifteen years. She runs her own business, ‘Branch into Music’, teaching music and movement to babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers in the Ballarat region. She also runs the music program at an Early Learning Centre and regularly presents sessions for children, parents and educators on behalf of the Ballarat City Council, Golden Plains Shire, Hepburn Shire, Pyrenees Shire and ECKA (Eureka Community Kindergarten Association).
Encouraging early childhood development through music and movement (4:00 – 4:30pm)
Anne Belcher presents an interactive workshop that aims to equip educators with the skills they need to implement simple yet profoundly beneficial musical activities into their settings. This session will involve singing, movement, playing with musical instruments and other props, and active listening activities.  Each musical experience has been carefully planned to explore critical aspects of a child’s development and is linked to the VEYLDF, EYLF and the NQS. Educators will leave feeling more confident in using music and movement to optimise the growth and development of the children in their care.

F4
Session not proceeding- Carolyn McAlinden

 

Carolyn McAlinden is the Early Years Coordinator at Barwon Child, Youth & Family; responsible for overseeing and participating in the delivery of specific Early Years programs targeted at improving outcomes for vulnerable children and families. She has over 30 years of experience in Early Childhood, including Early Childhood Educator, Child Health Worker, Parenting and Skill Development Worker for high risk families, Inclusion Support Worker and Project Worker for funded Early Years projects.  Carolyn is passionate about supporting the research that clearly provides evidence that early intervention, support and education are essential to optimise children’s learning, development and health in the early formative years.
Session not proceeding - The PLAY program – families learning, growing and belonging through play

 

Barwon Child, Youth & Family have developed an evidence-based program called PLAY (Parents Learning Actively with Youngsters) that recognises that all parents are their child’s first educator. We also recognise that at some point a parent’s capacity may be impacted by various factors such as mental health, isolation, substance abuse, deprivation, family violence or themselves having had poor parenting modelled to them as a child. By developing individual programs that engage and promote play within the home setting, the PLAY program supports parents in helping their child reach the necessary learning goals that will enable them to become confident learners throughout their education.

F5
Michelle Gujer, Carmela Bianco, Rebecca Sabo, Amy Prisco, and Anna Russell
Michelle Gujer is the Manager of the Children's Program at Gowrie Victoria-Broadmeadows Valley. A 30-year career in management early childhood services, training and health sector experience signifies her commitment in fostering the development of educators through supportive leadership, mentoring and shared decision making to lead change that enriches team development.

Carmela Bianco has been an educator for the past 31 years. She has worked in a range of educational settings including government, private and international destinations. Carmela was also a successful participant in the Teacher Release in Industry program, working at the FORD Motor Company for 12 months in the area of Trades Progression. Carmela is currently leading in the role of Principal at Broadmeadows Valley Primary school.

Rebecca Sabo is the Early Childhood Teacher and Educational Leader for the Over 3s Program at Gowrie Broadmeadows Valley and has worked for Gowrie for five years. Rebecca works in a 3-5 year old integrated Kindergarten program and is responsible for overseeing the program and guiding pedagogy and practice amongst the Kindergarten Team.
Amy Prisco is a Leading Teacher at Broadmeadows Valley Primary School. She has worked at Broadmeadows Valley Primary School for three year and in a range of educational settings, from special needs education to an international school in the UAE. She currently works as the Neighbourhood Leader for the Grade prep, ones and twos and is responsible for leading the learning through innovative curriculum and explicit targeted instruction.

Anna Russell is the Educational leader for the under 3s program at Gowrie Victoria Broadmeadows Valley. Prior to Gowrie Victoria Broadmeadows Valley, Anna has worked as an educator and Kindergarten teacher in private long day care settings for the past 10 years.
Supporting invisible transition to school from birth
Supporting Invisible Transition to School from Birth explores the way in which Gowrie Victoria Broadmeadows Valley and Broadmeadows Valley Primary School have collaborated together over the past 12 months with shared values and a vision for the future to create an “invisible transition” for children from the early childhood setting into the school. The presentation looks at this journey through the lens of early childhood educators, teachers, families and the children and what “invisible transition” means both for children 0-3 and 3-5 years old. We will discuss some of the challenges throughout the journey but ultimately emphasise the huge amount of benefits which have been gained for all stakeholders through having this connection. Case studies will be used; and the links to the revised VELDYF, NQS and current research will be examined. 

F6
Jennifer Sebire and Cheryl Neilson
Jennifer Sebire (Dip T EC/Prim; B.Ed EC/Prim; M.Ed.St, Cert IV WT&A) has spent many years in a variety of roles across the early childhood field and is currently the Coordinator Children’s Services Support and Planning for the City of Monash. Jennifer’s experience goes across kindergarten, child care and early childhood intervention. She is passionate about providing the best start for all young children.

Cheryl Neilson (Dip T EC/Prim; M. Ed (specialising in early childhood); Grad Dip Developmental Trauma) is passionate about how emotional development links with behaviour and how brain development is influenced by a child’s relationships. Cheryl spent many years working as a kindergarten teacher, before working in early childhood intervention. She currently works as a Preschool Field Officer in both sessional kindergartens and kindergarten programs running in long day care settings. Cheryl recently enjoyed working as a sessional lecturer at Swinburne University.
'Proper Kinder' – what is it and where do we find it?
This session focuses on the perceived differences between a kindergarten program in a long day care service and a kindergarten program in a sessional kindergarten. We will be exploring why some kindergarten educators ‘seem’ to prefer to work in a sessional kindergarten setting, and why some parents feel as though they have failed their child if they don’t send them to sessional kindergarten. Is there a perception that the child in the long day care setting is not receiving a ‘proper kinder’ experience? What does this mean, and what can be done about it?

F7
Melanie Simpson
At the heart of Melanie Simpson’s pedagogy is a deep regard and respect for children as capable, motivated learners and her belief in the importance of genuine and reciprocal relationships. Melanie partners with children, colleagues and families to co-construct empowering, vibrant and responsive pedagogy. Her pedagogy works to challenge, inspire and foster deep curiosity, empathy and thinking for all! Melanie is the educational leader and kindergarten teacher at a nationally recognised centre of ‘excellence’. She has a degree in Early Childhood and 14 years of experience in the early childhood sector. She is dedicated to undertaking practice-based research and sharing her findings.
I’ll write you a letter: letter writing as an invitation for connection of ideas to make meaning, and an invitation for transformative relationships. (3:30 - 4:00pm)
Action research, involving narrative inquiry and contemplative practice, was used to enhance partnerships between educators and families and to deepen our understanding of children’s ‘embedded intent’.  In an intentionally created reflective space, families and educators wrote letters to each other, not only about children and their learning, but also about identity, wellbeing, hope and meaning; things that stand at the heart of teaching and parenting. Together we found insight and understanding about how we think, feel and construct ourselves and, importantly, how best to support ourselves and others (children, families and educators) to be and become strong in who we are, and who we will be.
Jane Page and Janet Scull
Dr Jane Page is a Senior Lecturer at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education. She has worked in the early childhood field for many years covering roles as a practitioner in early childhood services as well teaching in the university sector. Her research focuses on teacher effectiveness and the application of human rights and evidence based principles and strategies in early childhood settings. Dr Page has been actively engaged in the development and implementation of a number of projects with state and local government and the Victorian Curriculum Assessment Authority (VCAA) that focus on early years teachers’ pedagogical practices. Dr Page is currently working with colleagues as a researcher on the Victorian Advancing Early Learning Project with DET, City of Moonee Valley, City of Hume and Gowrie Victoria and as a Chief Investigator with colleagues on the ARC Linkage Project ‘Building a Bridge into Preschool in Remote Northern Territory Communities’. 

Associate Professor Janet Scull is an experienced language and literacy educator, teaching in both graduate and postgraduate programs at Monash University. Her research focuses on the areas of language and literacy acquisition; literacy teaching and assessment; and teaching practices that support the continuity of children’s literacy learning across early childhood settings and the early years of schooling. Janet has contributed to the design, implementation and evaluation of approaches to early literacy teaching, for students from a range of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
Assessing children's early understanding of books and print (4:00 – 4:30pm)
There are few assessments that measure the very early literacy skills that children begin to develop before 36 months of age. This session will report on the development and review of a new assessment – the Early Literacy Engagement Assessment (ELEA) – which is intended to support early childhood educators to assess young children’s early literacy and print awareness through interactive reading of a text and pictures. This assessment enables educators to assess and plan for children’s understanding of pictures and words in texts in a way that is familiar with the pedagogical practices in their early education and care settings.

F8
Joanne Tarasuik
Joanne Tarasuik joined Playgroup Victoria as their Research Officer in 2015.  After completing her PhD, she continued tots and technology research at the Swinburne BabyLab examining interactive technology as a learning tool for young children and continues this part-time. Her role at Playgroup Victoria is to illustrate that playgroups aren’t just for fun; and to create credibility for playgroups with stakeholders and policy makers.  She also translates research into practical advice for playgroups, researches the playgroup platform, and informs evaluative processes.   Dr Tarasuik’s research interests include play-based learning, enhancing the home-learning environment, helping families to support their children’s development, and children and technology.
The child in focus at ECEC, playgroups, and in the home
Just as the child is the focal point of the revised VEYLDF, the child sits at the centre of the playgroup model, encompassed by the parent, family and community.  This presentation will focus on the importance of children being in focus across all environments, and the role of educators’ partnerships with families.  Empowering parents as their child’s first and most enduring teachers can promote the child being the focal point within the family and community, and enhance their developmental opportunities in the years prior to school entry.  Educators-family partnerships, the early home learning environment and playgroup will be discussed.

F9
Alex Price
Alex Price has worked as a Programs Officer for Museums Victoria for the past 10 years. She has presented, evaluated and assisted with the development of education programs for kindergarten to tertiary students and family audiences. While working on the Children’s Gallery Redevelopment at Melbourne Museum, she advocated for the target audience of babies to five-year-olds and their families. Alex has also worked as a Kindergarten Teacher in Australia and the UK. Alex holds a Bachelor of Early Childhood Studies and Graduate Diploma of Behaviour Science.
Five hundred children and one museum
Melbourne Museum has just opened the new Pauline Gandel Children’s Gallery, an indoor and outdoor museum learning space for babies to five-year-olds and their carers. Critical to its development was the collaboration with very young children. After brainstorms and evaluations, the children advised that they wanted a space that was inclusive and tactile with natural materials. It had to be a multi-sensory experience that was safe, familiar and comfortable. And how did this become a museum learning space?  This presentation will show how the ideas of five hundred children were incorporated into the new Pauline Gandel Children’s Gallery.

4:30pm to 4:30pm
Conference close