PROGRAM

INSPIRE 2020

NB: Program subject to change at any time without notice.

WORKSHOP OVERVIEWS

Select one of the following 5 workshops to attend, Friday 28/02 11.00am - 11.50am

Unless you have pre-booked to attend the Virtual Reality Experience during this time

 

1. WALKING WITH DOCUMENTATION: FINDING COURAGE TO COLOUR OUTSIDE THE LINES
 Kelly Goodsir 

 

In a climate where documentation can often be about ‘what you do’, ‘what you have done’ and ‘how many you have got to go’, it is time to rethink the value and purpose that documentation holds at the start of a new decade. This workshop will inspire you to break free from the constraints that are often created and blur the lines so you begin to find ways to ‘see the child first and then documentation as an opportunity to bring something important into the light’.  It is not a chore but a genuine privilege.

 

Finding ways to collide the voices of both children and educators through the use of a framework for documentation this workshop will empower you to let go of any templates. The case studies shared will empower you to critically reflect and analyse the possibilities for your documentation weather you are a single lead educator or one representing the voices across multiple sites. It is possible to do things differently. Let’s choose to start coloring outside the lines.

2. AWAKE TEACHING: BRINGING DREAMS TO LIFE AND LEANING INTO THE PARADOXES OF PRACTICE
 Jill McLachlan 

 

Have you ever found yourself disillusioned by the disconnect between your early childhood dreams and the reality of your daily life as an early childhood teacher? If you have, you’re not alone. Working out our theories in practice is a messy and complex landscape - a landscape that is made even harder if we feel like we’re navigating it alone. Through sharing her notion of ‘Awake Teaching’ Jill’s workshop will invite teachers to journey with her through the mess, beauty and paradoxes of our practice. Bringing paradoxes into focus, Jill hopes to give honour to the significance and sophistication of our work, inviting listeners to re-imagine the very essence of what it means to teach and learn with young children and with each other. 

 

 

3. FLIGHTS OF FANCY: STORIES FROM OUR MEANDERING PATH OF INSPIRATION, REFLECTION AND CHANGE
 Caroline Surendra & Marian Doull 

 

The magic of childhood is a commonly held concept across many communities. So how do we as educators capitalise on that magic, when as a teacher it is so easy to become over involved in academic researching, observing and interpreting, that our ability of being with children in the moment is compromised? This workshop will share our stories of developing a pedagogy that prioritizes supporting children to cultivate an expansive creative disposition, full of whimsy and wonder. 

 

Coming from our community context, these stories share where we have come from, where we are now and where we may perhaps travel with our children in the future, building on what brings joy, passion and that magic you can feel but that can be so elusive to capture.

4. SEXUALITY IN EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION: IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE AND PEDAGOGY (PANEL)
 Sarah Louise Gandolfo, Dr Rachel Chapman, Deanne Carson & Alistair Gibbs 

 

Join a group of diverse early childhood professionals from across the sector as they come together to discuss the nuances of sexuality in early childhood. Listen as the panel share their stories, their lived experiences and their knowledge of this rarely discussed topic. Through the lens of Bronfenbrenner’s ecological model the panel will explore what it means firstly to be a queer educator working in the early childhood space and how we work to discover and accept where our own identity is at; then moving outward to consider the impacts of our organisations on our own identity and that of queer families and children; finally finishing with discussions about the extended community and the profession to consider the practical steps in advocacy in action.

 

5. EMBRACING A NEW VISION FOR ARTS PEDAGOGY: ENCOUNTERING JOHN DEWEY IN THE ARTS
 Dr Gai Lindsay 

 

Early childhood visual arts pedagogy is limited by an assumption that children’s natural artistic abilities are corrupted if educators model or teach visual arts skills and processes. This often results in adult-directed activities that undermine children’s confidence to speak the language of art. Research that explored the visual arts beliefs and pedagogy of early childhood educators highlighted that low visual arts confidence and limited content knowledge, contribute to sector confusion about how to facilitate effective and meaningful visual arts teaching with young children.

 

This workshop outlines a framework for examining and provoking assumptions about the role of the teacher, the image of the child and the design of the environment in relation to visual arts pedagogy. It will share John Dewey’s (1902, p.31) provocation that visual arts methods should be central to holistic, child-honouring curricula and celebrate Malaguzzi’s interpretation of Dewey’s conceptions of art, education, democracy and the environment as tool for instruction. Delegates will be invited to explore their beliefs about the artistic and creative capacities of both children and themselves; and encouraged to create conditions that honour children’s voices and enable children and educators to encounter the wonder, truth and beauty available to them (Dewey, 1902, p. 31).

Select one of the following 5 workshops to attend, Friday 28/02 1.00pm - 1.50pm

Unless you have pre-booked to attend the Virtual Reality Experience​ during this time

 

1. THE ART OF BEING WITH NATURE: INSIDE, OUTSIDE AND BEYOND
 Dr Claire Warden 

 

Join Dr Claire Warden as she shares the arts based research at Auchlone Nature Kindergarten that lead to the creation and theorisation of a nature pedagogy. The workshop will explore how we can support practitioners to be open to multi-modal research that deepens our understanding of the impact being with nature can have on adults and children. Claire will explain how the team co-created the unique vision and values of Auchlone that puts nature at the very heart of decision making wherever you are in the world.

2. WHEN I GROW UP, I WANT TO BE A SANDWICH: HOW TO USE MUSIC, MAKE-BELIEVE & CREATIVITY TO FOSTER THE SENSE THAT ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE
 Angeline Neville 

 

When did we stop believing that we could be anything we wanted? When did our answer to the question ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’ become so predictable?  Children engage in art, science, engineering & design every day, but are we, as educators, encouraging them to creatively think and achieve the ‘Cinderella moment’ where art & science meet? Can we teach the fundamentals of critical thinking and nurture creativity if we feel we don’t have a creative bone in our body? The answer is yes. Children have the ability to immerse themselves in imaginary worlds and ‘suspend their disbelief’. So do we, but often our creative thinking is kidnapped by conventional wisdom, and we then use this ‘wisdom’ to squash our creative ideas. We should engage with children in ways that support and nurture this ‘suspension of disbelief’. We need to ask them ‘what kind of sandwich?’ 

 

Using music as a starting point, come and be inspired to find your creative spark. What if we left our ego and conventional thoughts at the door, and dive into the unknown with as much enthusiasm as the child? Creative practice enables us to help shape & educate the thinkers & leaders of tomorrow. 

 

 

3. IT ALL HAPPENS IN THE FIRST FIVE SECONDS: THE COMPLICATIONS AND COMPLEXITIES OF OUR GREETINGS, FAREWELLS AND ENCOUNTERS IN BETWEEN
 Wendy Shepherd & Janet Robertson 

 

Daily rituals, such as these, signal and embody our ethics, values, intentions, culture and humanity when meeting and connecting with others; families, children, colleagues, visitors, cleaners, delivery drivers, community partners, who all, enter our educational places everyday, for multiple reasons… and they are greeted. So, what happens in those first five seconds? The physical environment, the encounter (ours, theirs), the smells, sights and sounds, are all on notice in those first five seconds.

 

Gladwell (2005) explores the phenomenon of a ‘blink’… ‘those moments when ‘we know’ something, without knowing why… that we make judgements within an instant. It is important to know that this judgmental gaze, exists, therefore we are obligated to examine the bias, “the hidden recesses of our unconscious” (p.276). In the early childhood space, what does this mean? Today’s collaborative discussion, using critical thinking will explore the “Ethics of an Encounter” (Levinas); uncover the semiotics of place and the hidden messages conveyed within those first five seconds or in ‘a blink’ of the eye.

4. RE-IMAGINING GROUP STRUCTURES WITH CHILDREN AGED TWO-TO-FIVE YEARS
 Su Garrett & Melanie Elderton 

 

What’s best for children? What’s best for educators? Why do we have to do what we have always done? At the end of 2018 while thinking about grouping for the following year we realised that using a traditional structure would not best support our children and educators. Through research, consultation and critical reflection, we embarked on a venture to reshape our practice. It led to innovative changes to environments, groupings and team structure that have strengthened our pedagogical approaches as well as our relationships with children, families and each other.

 

5. RISKY PLAY: A CHILD'S RIGHT, OUR RESPONSIBILITY
 Louise Dorrat & Kirsty Liljegren 

 

If we believe in the capability of all children, then does our practice and opportunities we design for children support this declaration? 

The National Quality Framework promotes risky play when the benefits to children’s learning outweighs the risks (NQS 2.1.3).

 

This workshop will engage you in the big questions as Louise and Kirsty bring their wealth of experience sharing examples through stories from practice.  It will be an opportunity to think critically, debunk some myths, partner with parents and gain clarity around the many benefits of embracing a culture of supported risk. 

Select one of the following 5 workshops to attend, Friday 28/02 2.00pm - 2.50pm

Unless you have pre-booked to attend the Virtual Reality Experience during this time

 

1. SEEING HOPE IN A CLIMATE OF ACCOUNTABILITY
 Anthony Semann & Associate Professor Alma Fleet  

 

Seeing Hope in a Climate of Accountability Beginning with some perceptions of key characteristics of our current contexts, Anthony and Alma will have a conversation to explore possibilities. Sharing examples and offering provocations for futher consideration, this workshop will map the ways in which accountability has been defined as a restraining factor of practice - explore the notion of resistance as an enabler in practice - consider the ways in creativity can still in a climate of accountability and assessment. Inviting contribution from participants we will problematise current understandings of accountability.

2. BEYOND THE WORM FARM: PONDERING DEEP ECOLOGY WITH PRE-SCHOOLERS
 Catherine Sansom & Kathryn Albany 

 

Sustainability in Early Childhood Education evokes images of worm farms, recycling bins and veggie gardens. This workshop invites educators to think critically about whether this is enough, given that we are in the midst of global environmental crises. We advocate for a radical reimagining of sustainability education and children’s relationships with nature by drawing on frameworks such as post human theories, decolonising theories, Indigenous knowledge/ways of knowing, social justice perspectives, children’s agency and deep ecology. We will illustrate how these theories have disrupted our practices at an Inner West early childhood service, and give some examples from our curriculum, praxis and pedagogical documentation. 

 

Rather than being overwhelmed by the magnitude of the problems, we invite discussions and dreams for tackling the issues. We want to explore ways of empowering our youngest citizens to engage in democratic practice as one possible method of contributing to solutions and living sustainably.

 

 

3. WELLBEING LITERACY: THE AUTHENTIC AND NECESSARY LITERACY FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION
 Lisa Baker & Professor Lindsay G. Oades 

 

Education and language, beginning in early childhood, represent effective levers to create generational change in how we perceive and experience wellbeing. Early experiences, services and pedagogues offer important influential drivers for children’s wellbeing and development. Additionally, language describes and shapes realities and relationships. Research highlights the first five years as critical for development and wellbeing; where children’s relationships, language and knowledge are fundamentally constructed. The pursuit of wellbeing in early childhood is mandated in regulation, quality rating processes and curriculum frameworks. ECE educators therefore have a platform and responsibility to support child wellbeing and to provide the necessary conditions for its emergence. By conceiving of wellbeing related learning as a literacy (wellbeing literacy) opportunities become available for educators beyond traditional literacy and ‘pushing down’ developmentally inappropriate curricula.

This workshop aims to build educators knowledge and awareness of wellbeing literacy within ECE contexts. Participants will explore wellbeing literacy related experiences, looking at how wellbeing is composed and comprehended in language (including listening, reading, viewing, speaking, writing and creating) to recognise and articulate current wellbeing literacy practices in their own ECE services. Participants will be encouraged to reflect on how they can maintain, improve and articulate children’s wellbeing literacy in everyday practice.

4. LOOKING FORWARD, LOOKING BACK: CONNECTING WITH CULTURE, COMMUNITY & COUNTRY TO STRENGTHEN INNOVATION PRACTICES
 Monique Proud 

 

Aboriginal Australians are one of the oldest living cultures on earth. For generations Australian Aboriginal peoples have passed down crucial knowledge of Country and Culture through ceremony, art, storytelling, dance and song. For tens of thousands of years Aboriginal people have undertaken responsibilities for maintaining and protecting ancient laws, culture, country, traditions, and systems of knowledge.  As we jump into 2020 and look forward to the future, it is important for us to simultaneously look to the past. This workshop will focus on innovation and creativity through an Aboriginal lens – focusing on some of the cultural protocols and practices that have enabled Aboriginal creativity, innovation, design, and resilience to thrive. 

 

5. TIME IN NATURE
 Ric McConaghy 

 

This will be a wandering workshop intended to explore elements of the influence of nature in play. But be assured that all who wander are not lost. The uncertainty of outcomes is what brings richness in the journey to any destination. There exists an increasing perception that humanity is disconnecting from nature. This has manifested in some circumstances as humanity being presented as existing at the at the top of the natural world, or even as somehow outside of nature altogether. Most recently there has been careless talk of the ‘the threat of nature’ to our communities. There are those of us who believe that humanity is not only in and amongst nature, but that it is necessarily so, and we are utterly reliant on a symbiosis for our development and our survival. Play providers, participants, and those engaged in research about play have been some of the most strident and effective in redirecting the gaze back to the importance of nature not only in play but in the general well-being of all humans. In this workshop we will explore a brief history of playful thought and philos-ophy, which will lead us into a practical exploration of what can be done to improve the provision and programming of play in the lives of children, and the community generally. Let us play.

Select one of the following 5 workshops to attend, Saturday 29/02 11.00am - 11.50am

Unless you have pre-booked to attend the Virtual Reality Experience​ during this time

 

1. YANMA NURA: CONNECTING TO COUNTRY THROUGH LOVE
 Catherine Lee & Libby Fraser 

 

We had a dream to walk outside our gate on Country each week. Our dream was to share our history, culture and knowledge of our Dharawal people. Our dream became a reality and has transformed our pedagogy in a way we could had not have imagined. We have walked on Country for many weeks – we have walked the same path. We know the land and we walk intentionally and gently. We anticipate with joy our landmarks – the paperbark tree; the soft cushion tree; the jacaranda; the big gum nut tree; the bird of paradise; the giant Gymea lilies; the nuwi tree; the sound of the whip birds; the bumpy sandstone path; the creek; the mangroves; the new bridge; the yaxa; and the tree cano-py as we walk up the 183 stairs. Our dream has connected us to Country – to our place. We talk about love at our place. We believe love is a right of every child. We have witnessed a deep love grow within our children as we have walked on Country. A love for Country and for each other. The children know they are custodians of the land and of each other. And they know we are connected to and respect our traditional custodians of this beautiful land – the Dharawal people. Catherine and Libby will share this love and this connection with you.

2. EMPOWERING PROFESSIONAL GROWTH AND RENEWAL THROUGH ACTION RESEARCH APPROACHES
 Dr Lesley Jones 

 

This workshop traces a program of work with a number of early childhood teachers who used an action research approach to amplify aspects of their professional practice that were self identified as ‘pain points’. Their experiences throughout the program trace the iterative innovations, creativity and journeys of self discovery that their action research projects took them on. Their voice and experience highlight the impact an action research approach can have to everyday practice; renewing confidence and a personal sense of professional inquiry relevant to supporting children’s early education.

 

 

3. A JOURNEY TO QUALITY INCLUSION
 Ellen Witzlsperger 

 

In Australia, inclusion is reflected as fundamental in early childhood education and care (ECEC; DEEWR, 2012). A joint position statement by Early Childhood Australia and Early Childhood Intervention Australia (ECA & ECIA, 2012) also provides a strong endorsement of inclusion of children with a developmental disability in ECEC services.

 

This workshop proposes a 3-tired conceptualised model of Quality Inclusion of children with a disability for ECEC services. The journey to quality inclusion occurs as you move through and embrace all the practices within each tier. The first tier outlines the basic practices of inclusion, including access and appropriate funding avenues. In the second tier, practices and documentation associat-ed with engaging the child’s family and other important stakeholders to ensure a ‘Team Around the Child’ approach, are outlined. Whilst the third tier outlines the practices and documentation associated with individualised, specialist support for the child to ensure they are included within the everyday routines of the ECEC program and are supported to develop targeted skills. At each tier, specific practices and examples of documentation are shared and discussed. A self-reflective tool for ECEC services, based on the 3-tired model of quality inclusion, will also be presented.

4. WINDOWS ONTO MANY ROADS: CHILDREN AND ADULTS AS INNOVATORS
 David Gilkes 

Innovation is an interesting word. As adults, we are often asked to be more innovative – to strive for and seek out new knowledge and creative ways of doing things. But as young children, were we not always innovators? Creators? Dreamers? Wasn’t our way of being unshakably motivated and driven by a desire for new and exciting things, by wonder and beauty, by the development and testing out of rich and complex theories, by questioning, interacting and making connections, by joy? Children are innovators from birth but the innovative child needs innovative traveling companions – other children, adults, spaces and experiences that recognise and welcome possibilities. Through sharing stories and narratives of classroom practice and reflecting on lessons learnt from real moments of relationships, uncertainty and inquiry, David invites us to open the windows of our pedagogical thinking to the many interweaving roads and pathways, in order to see teaching and learning differently and provide much needed light for innovators of all ages to flourish.  
 

5. WHO SAID IT WOULD BE EASY? BEING A TEACHER WITH BIRTH-TO-THREE-YEAR OLDS
Anne Stonehouse & Rachel Flottman 

 

All practitioners work with an ongoing need to prioritise and compromise. Often, a gap exists between principles, standards and frameworks on the one hand, and relentless decision-making and action required, on the other. 

 

This workshop is a provocative conversation grounded in the real world of education and care settings and practices for very young children. The conversation occurs between someone whose main professional interest for almost fifty years has been birth-to-three-year olds (and who hasn’t been a practitioner for over forty years), and a new teacher of this age group who brings to the role considerable experience in developing policy, assisting in developing the EYLF and tertiary teaching. The conversation will explore the distinct nature of working well with very young children and the challenges inherent in striving to achieve excellence while grappling with the realities of day-to-day practice. 

Select one of the following 5 workshops to attend, Saturday 29/02 1.00pm - 1.50pm

Unless you have pre-booked to attend the Virtual Reality Experience during this time

 

1. ART, LIES AND PEDAGOGY
 Dr Red Ruby Scarlet & Stephen Gallen 

 

Sound the alarm - the early childhood profession is in grave danger!!! Sound dramatic? Well that’s because it is. This workshop’s focus is the sort of contentious, knotty, urgent and argumentative topic that would be right at home on the Facebook EYLF Discussion group, but we have decided to perform it at this conference instead. 

 

We love ideas - Big Ideas!! - that twist our brains into barbed wire with plastic bags stuck in it. We love critiquing approaches and practices that we find absurd. We love big long yarns that cuddle and scratch us simultaneously like a faux fur with yoghurt dried on it, and we use performing arts as an intellectual method of expressing our professional intraactions and drawing our colleagues into the fray. 

 

While we want to dive deep into some murky, messy and dangerous waters in this session, rest assured we are optimists! Times of crisis and danger - like the ones our profession are currently facing - are also times of explosive and exciting possibilities and promise - and we have examples of playing with theory-in-practice from our current teaching to work with in this session. This performance is unlike anything you have ever experienced! The fact is - you’ll love it - gravely!

2. A MAP TO FIND THE WAY: A METAPHOR FOR INSPIRATION AND CHANGE; CO-RESEARCH AS A PROVOCATION FOR CREATING NEW HORIZONS FOR EDUCATIONAL INNOVATION
 Lou Kirkwood 

 

New Horizons Preschool is an early childhood setting for children aged 3 - 5 years. We have 22 staff and 160 enrolments, set over two campuses in Lenah Valley and Battery Point, Tasmania.

 

This workshop will reflect on my experiences over the past 3 years, with the establishment of our second campus. Lou seeks to share her current context and experience on how our inquiries, co-researched alongside children, can be viewed as a series of small, co-constructed narratives. Through the lens of most recent projects, Lou will explore how these narratives have challenged, inspired and provoked our team of educators to reflect on their own pedagogical practices, ways of viewing the world and motivated them to consider children from new perspectives.

 

My journey has inspired me to seek to challenge the dominant discourse in Early Years Education, from the ‘pedagogy of transmission’ to the ‘pedagogy of dialogue’, where the principles of democratic participation, trust, discourse and reflective practice are the key to enacting change. I hope to inspire other educators to innovate and transform their own settings, as we examine how I embrace uncertainty, inquiry processes and dialogue to make visible new and inspiring ways of listening and researching together.

 

3. RE-IMAGINING YOUR CURRICULUM: EMPOWERING EDUCATORS THROUGH A TRANSFORMATIVE SERVICE PHILOSOPHY
 Susan Franco 

 

Dreaming, contemplating and reflecting about our curriculum, has opened our minds to how we value and advocate for children’s play.

 

With real meaning, purpose and focus, our service philosophy has become the “heartbeat” of our organisation, nurturing dynamic and robust conversations with children, educators and parents, helping us to solve problems and make informed choices, whilst educating our hands, hearts and minds.

 

As a compass, our service philosophy guides us forward,  empowering us to grow and transforms our thinking, our environments and our pedagogy.  It has helped foster curiosity, acceptance, empowerment, children’s rights and the pursuit of lifelong learning. It encourages our children to take an active role in reconciliation, mentoring children to connect with and for nature through our curriculum. It sup-ports intentional conversations that reflect a social justice perspective, advocating for equality and presenting children with a range of experiences that celebrate, acknowledge and recognises that families and family structures are different.

 

Our service philosophy intentionally highlights what we value. With intent, purpose and commitment, it has empowered our educators to transform their principles, practices and pedagogy. And in doing so, it has created drive, enthusiasm and passion from every stakeholder within our community; children, families and educators.

4. INFANTS DRAW ON ‘EMOTIONAL CAPITAL’ IN EARLY YEARS LEARNING: A NEW PARADIGM
 Dr Andi Salamon 

 

Infants engage in emotionally evocative communications conceived of as ‘emotional capital practices’. These practices are enabled and constrained by the beliefs early childhood educators have about infants’ capabilities, and the ways these manifest in educators’ own practices. In this workshop, data from a research project documenting infants’ emotional capital practices will be shared. Iterative analysis of video and photographic data was undertaken with educators using ‘The Practice Architectures Map’, an innovative method for deep critical and reflective participatory research practice (Salamon & Harrison, 2015). Deductive analysis involved coding infants’ emotional capital practices, as documented by the photographic and video footage, i.e. their ‘sayings’, ‘doings’ and ‘relatings’ (Kemmis & Grootenboer, 2008; Salamon & Harrison, 2015; Salamon, 2017a). The presentation will outline how data was shared with educators, children and families, in a bid to transform the education and care of our youngest education citizens.

 

5. THE EARLY YEARS TOOLBOX: EDUCATOR TOOLS TO SUPPORT DEVELOPMENTAL ASSESS-MENT AND PRACTICE IN THE EARLY YEARS
 Associate Professor Cathrine Neilsen-Hewett & Fay Gowers 

 

Educators ability to respond to the inherent differences in children’s abilities plays a crucial role in supporting learning and development. Intentional and differentiated teaching models demand a deeper awareness of children’s current capabilities yet few tools exist that provide a comprehensive and rich picture of each child’s early learning. The ability to shift children’s early developmental trajectories therefore depends on educators’ ability to develop a rich and comprehensive picture of children’s abilities, capabilities and dispositions for learning. The following presentation introduces the audience to the Early Years Toolbox, a set of playful tools (activities and games) that provide early childhood educators with actionable information about children’s progress in key areas of learning and development. 

 

This two-part workshop will begin with an overview of the Toolbox as well as the practice framework (i.e., activities and pedagogical practices) that supports it. In the second part, practitioners from the University of Wollongong’s Early Start Engagement Centre network will share real-life examples, highlighting both the efficacy of the tools and the complimentary work of a professional development model. The practitioners will discuss how they have used the Early Years Toolbox (YET) with children, the support gained through coaching and mentoring, and the impact it has had on their practice with children and families. 

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