Janet Robertson

'It all happens in the first five seconds': The complications and complexities of our greetings, farewells and encounters in between 

I graduated in 1973 from the SYDNEY kindergarten teachers college, and after a extended European adventure working within architecture, town planning and community activism, began teaching in 1977. 


I come from a family of gardeners, and know that being outside is essential for my wellbeing. So it was natural I gravitated to the outdoors in early childhood settings. I first taught in a centre with a rooftop playground, supplemented with weekly walks within the community. Later I had the privilege of 25 years developing the playground at Mia Mia. It’s not often you can plant such a grand garden and see it mature.


Woven into this was my encounter with the educational experience of Reggio Emilia in 1991. Many visits later and a quarter of a century to contemplate and think, I find the greatest gifts these two influences on my teaching life, Reggio Emilia and playgrounds is the need to think, to be ready for change, and the role of beauty in our lives.


I feel my rich, varied and complicated teaching life gave me as much as I gave it, and how lucky I was, and  I am, to have been a witness to the power of relationships and young children’s learning. 

Co-presenting with: Wendy Shepherd

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