Beyond Tomorrow - The 2012 ECMS Conference

Melbourne, Victoria
Thursday, 16 August 2012

Conference presentations

What theory is that? Connecting theory to practice 


Anne Kennedy
- Early Childhood Education Consultant, Researcher and Writer

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The national Early Years Learning Framework (2009) says that educators draw on a range of perspectives in their work which include diverse theories or perspectives about children’s learning and development and pedagogy or practice. Educators often draw on a range of theories or perspectives when making decisions, without recognising what particular theories they are using and why.

This session will talk about some of the key theories that influence our pedagogy or practice, as well as why they matter and how educators can use them to find new ways to work with children and families.

A positive approach to working with Children with complex/additional needs

Lou Ambrosy - Regional Manager, Noah’s Ark

Alison Webster - Inclusion Support Agency Leader and Resource Developer, Noah’s Ark

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An increasing number of children with additional needs are participating in community based early childhood programs. Educators are questioning their ability to support all children in their programs and are looking to understand support services that can often present as fragmented.


The session will focus on the inclusion of children with a diverse range of needs in early childhood programs. It will cover the elements of inclusion, how to include children with additional needs, inclusion support services available for services and how to communicate with parents.

More than involvement and not parent education - collaborating with families

Anne Stonehouse AM - Early Childhood Education Consultant and Author

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The EYLF, VEYLDF and NQS require educators to work collaboratively as partners with families. Doing so is at times complex and challenging, requiring new perspectives and skills. It is also immensely rewarding for all concerned.

In this session, participants will use their experiences and perspectives to explore what it means (and doesn’t mean) to collaborate with families. Obstacles to partnership will be considered. The focus will be on every day practices that build and strengthen partnerships. 

An almost competent look at ‘Cultural Competency’

Mark Rose - Vice President of VAEAI and Chair, Indigenous Knowledge Systems, Deakin University

Presentation to be uploaded shortly

The ubiquitous concept of ‘cultural competency’ has had an unprecedented growth spurt in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs over the last five years. While it has spored numerous training packages how faithful are these to competency theory or conceptually is ‘cultural competency’ being held ransom to the three disciplines that lay claim to it? While responses reflecting the discipline ‘tug of war’ over cultural competency create a conceptual muddy soup that restrains impact and leaves Indigenous and non-Indigenous practitioners confused. With ‘cultural incompetence’ easier to identify than cultural competence it may be time to revisit its base foundations in order to create some sense of clarity.

In this session Mark Rose will deliver divergent takes on ‘cultural competency’ and in doing so interrogate it in a competent manner.

Enhancing wellbeing in the workplace

Gerald Quigley - Community Pharmacist, Master Herbalist, Radio Presenter and Columnist

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One of the biggest issues we confront today is that of individual health. Busy personal and professional lives can cause us to lose focus on our emotional and physical health and wellbeing. This session will explore options and practices available to assist you in enhancing your wellness. 


Talking about practice - articulating what we mean by what we do

Catharine Hydon - Early Childhood Consultant and Director, Hydon Consulting.

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Quality early childhood practice is not a secret – it must increasingly be articulated to those with whom we work –colleagues, families and communities. And as part of the National Quality Standard the assessment process will require educators to discuss their curriculum decisions in ways that make the links to frameworks understood and children's learning visible. For many of us the prospect is daunting and the words don't come easily.

This session will demonstrate how we can become better advocates for our own practice and offer strategies to enable educators to better articulate what we mean by what we do.

“All my families are white Australian so we don’t have cultural diversity in our centre” - exploring and discovering new ways of understanding cultural diversity with families

Kylie Smith - Research Fellow and Senior Lecturer, University of Melbourne

Presentation to be uploaded shortly

The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia, Belonging,Being & Becoming asks early childhood educators to develop their own cultural competence with families and community. For many people, culture is seen as ethnicity and racial diversity, however, culture has many different definitions and is far more complex.

This session will provide educators with an opportunity to reflect and explore what culture and cultural competence means for them and their service. The session will support participants to develop strategies and ways to begin to explore cultural diversity with families to develop respectful communities.

 
Play and development - imagination and creativity in the everyday lives of families and what this means for early childhood programs

Marilyn Fleer - Professor, Early Childhood Education, Monash University

Presentation to be uploaded shortly

How children play within preschool contexts has been the subject of research by leading cultural-historical play researchers (e.g. Bodrova, 2008). However, how families develop children’s capacity to engage in imaginary play is less well understood. Imagination underpins abstract thinking and is an important dimension of children's development.

In this session a child development study of two families from a low socio-economic community within Australia is presented in order show how the everyday practices of some families build imaginary situations for children and other family practices do not. It will be shown that particular family practices in playful contexts build children’s capacity to simultaneously move in and out of reality and in and out of imaginary situations.  Knowing how families build imaginary situations and develop children’s playful thinking in everyday life is important for understanding what children bring (or not) to preschool programs.


Engaging learning environments 

Joy Fraser - Senior Consultant, FKA Children’s Services

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Culturally reflective learning environments are critical in the role of learning for children. Engaging environments are responsive to the interests and abilities of each child when they cater for different learning capacities, learning styles and cultural identities.

This presentation will explore culturally diverse learning environments including the value of natural and recycled materials and how to create resources within indoor and outdoor play spaces.

Ecological literacy - moving beyond sustainability in the early years 

Tracy Young - Lecturer, Swinburne University of Technology

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The world we live in is changing rapidly and deep understandings of sustainability are important on a local and global scale.

This session will explore the concepts of ecological literacy and what this means for the minority and majority world. If the role of early childhood educators is to provide opportunities where children can build the foundation of their future lives, how do we approach issues of changing climate and environmental degradation? 

This session is the perfect opportunity to challenge thinking and feel empowered to make a difference in the lives of children and communities. Tracy will draw upon her recent research, where four children’s services embarked upon an accreditation process based on the Australian sustainable schools intuitive (AuSSI).  

Reflective practice - an essential process for ongoing improvement in practice


Anne Kennedy - Early Childhood Education Consultant, Researcher and Writer

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The Guide to the National Quality Standard talks about the need for ‘a lively culture of professional enquiry’ in every early childhood setting. Reflective practice is an essential element in developing and sustaining a lively culture of professional enquiry.  Reflective practice is also a key principle in the national Early Years Leaning Framework and the Victorian Early Learning and Development Framework.


This session will focus on discussing how reflective practice can be used in each phase of a planning cycle and especially in the ‘what do I/we do next?’ phase. It will provide practical ideas for how to use reflection as an everyday practice.


Understanding children’s behaviour

Lou Ambrosy - Regional Manager, Noah’s Ark

Alison Webster - Inclusion Support Agency Leader and Resource Developer, Noah’s Ark

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An increasing number of children with challenging behaviours are accessing early childhood programs. Some children have a diagnosis, and some do not.  Educators are aware that they need to ensure the safety of all children in their care and are concerned with the time involved in supporting individual children with challenging behaviours.  

The session will focus on the inclusion of children with challenging behaviours. It will seek to affirm and draw upon participants current learning’s, experiences and understandings and encourage them to use these to employ their own ‘problem solving’ skills. It is designed for all those involved in the education and care of children.


Exploring children’s nutrition

Lachlan Hudson - Chef

Carmel Zeidan - Early Childhood Educator

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Early childhood professionals help shape lifelong eating habits by introducing healthy foods and modelling healthy eating.  Children as young as two years old can begin to grasp information about food and how it helps their bodies.

Unfortunately, studies have shown that very little nutrition information is given to children, especially during mealtimes. Yet by teaching sound nutrition principles caregivers can promote healthy eating habits.

This workshop will look at food choices and food safety. How can you promote healthy food choices and what are they? How can you work with parents to continue the message at home? What are some ideas for cooking with children and are they safe?

Discover nature

Doug Fargher - Founder, Bush Kinder

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Many educators and parents have reflected on the important role being outdoors in nature has had on their lives. Some adults lament the fact that today’s children (for many and various reasons), can be micro-managed and rushed and miss the opportunity to spend extended periods of time playing outdoors.

Outdoor learning spaces offer a vast array of possibilities not available indoors. These spaces invite open-ended interactions, spontaneity, risk taking, exploration, discovery and connection with nature (NQS 3.1). Come and hear about the Bush Kinder program.  You may not be able to provide a bush kinder but you will be inspired to create environments that include plants, trees, sand, rocks, mud, water and other elements from nature. 

Discover a strength-based approach

Bernadette Glass - Director, Bernadette Glass & Associates

Christina Costa - Senior Policy Officer in the Quality Improvement Branch, DEECD

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The strength-based approach consists of questioning strategies that attempt to identify ‘what works’ for a child and ‘how it works’ so that those strategies can be continued and developed to match a child’s unique qualities and abilities. This enables both parents and educators to engage with and support the continuity of a child’s learning and development in a clear and meaningful way.

This presentation aims to deepen understanding of the strength-based approach – what it is and what it isn’t – and its practical application to (and beyond) writing Transition Learning and Development Statements.

Discover the VEYLDF

Carmel Phillips - Manager, Early Years Unit, VCAA

Kerryn Locket
- Senior Policy Officer, Early Years Unit, VCAA

Presentation to be uploaded shortly

Implementation of the VEYLDF is supported through a partnership with the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development and the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority 

This presentation will focus on the Outcomes Project 2010-2011. The session will support participants in exploring an expanded view of children’s learning in the five Outcomes, also discussing the meaning of children’s learning.

Discover self

Elizabeth Rouse - Experienced Early Childhood Professional and Lecturer, Early Childhood, Deakin University

Jenni Beahan - Early Childhood Mentoring Program Project Coordinator

Presentation to be uploaded shortly

This session will outline what has been learnt during the roll out of the state-wide Pilot Professional Mentoring Program for Early Childhood Teachers in Victoria relating to understandings about mentoring, challenges faced by the field in embracing mentoring, as well as the possibilities of what mentoring can look like in practice.

This 18 month joint project was led by Victoria University’s Early Childhood Team in collaboration with Deakin University for the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD). The program offers an opportunity for experienced early childhood teachers to mentor 360 new or professionally isolated teachers, to assist them to develop their practice.

Discover community

Viv Cunningham-Smith - CEO, Playgroup Victoria

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Playgroups in Victoria come in many shapes and sizes and are either parent or agency facilitated. Playgroups build the connections and relationships  for parents and children in the 0- 3 year age group in particular and act as platforms for learning, parenting capacity building, community connection, support and train future parent leaders for kindergartens and school committees.

Playgroups are where parents and children together participate in learning and connection. They are the pathway from maternal and child health services to kinder and school.

This presentation will explore how playgroups in their various forms act to build social capital within communities and how early childhood services can utilise these benefits for children and families in their services.


 

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