2008 Early Childhood Australia National Conference
The next Early Childhood Australia Biennial Conference:
Children: A nation's capital
'Investing in our children'
3–6 October 2008
National Convention Centre, Canberra
2008 Conference themes
Environment and sustainability
This conference theme will focus attention on the role of early childhood education in a world where children are at the greatest risk from the effects of global warming and climate change. Early childhood professionals have an important role to play in developing dispositions and understandings that encourage care and consideration in the early years and for the future.
Advocacy and leadership
Early childhood leadership and advocacy matter - the evidence is clear that early childhood leadership makes a difference to the quality of programs provided for children. We need to renew our focus on the development of leadership in programs, in early childhood learning environments and more broadly. We need our own advocates and we must give as much attention to this as we do other parts of our practice.
Theory into practice
There has been significant research into what counts in early childhood and early childhood programs and there are a range of theories which provide the lenses through which early childhood practice, programs and their outcomes can be understood. This theme will encourage discussion about high-quality programs and what they look like for children and early childhood professionals.
Social and emotional wellbeing
From birth onwards children learn in the context of relationships. Positive relationships which lead to emotional wellbeing are central to children's ability to learn, to adapt, to relate to other children-in fact to achieve all the things that educators and parents hope they will achieve. Whatever else we teach, if we really want to do our job well, emotional wellbeing should be at the core of the curriculum.
2008 keynote speakers
Joan Brink (US)
A dynamic practicing teacher, committed to the power of intentional teaching
alongside shared control with children.
Currently in her 33rd year of teaching, Joan Brink has spent the past 29 years devoted to early childhood education. Joan has served as an enthusiastic High/Scope field consultant since 1995, and was an adjunct early childhood professor at Siena Heights University, teaching the High/Scope curriculum to primary teachers.
Joan has 'had the privilege' of addressing over 200 groups of educators, in 38 of the 50 US states and two countries, and she anticipates 'with great pleasure' introducing ECA Conference delegates to the High/Scope
curriculum and its concepts.
Martha Farrell Erickson (US)
An inspiring leader and expert in uniting research with real-life practice in attachment and children’s wellbeing.
A developmental psychologist and professor, Marti Erickson specialises in parent–child attachment,
child abuse prevention and children's mental health. In all of her work, she strives to link research,
practice and policy for the wellbeing of children and families.
Marti co-developed the STEEP intervention program, and has researched its impact on high-risk
families in the US, Germany and Australia. She has also served on the boards of organisations such as the
National Council on Family Relations and Prevent Child Abuse America, and has worked closely with Al Gore
to coordinate the Family Re-union policy initiative. As well as publishing scholarly articles and book chapters,
Marti is the child and family expert on her local Today and Sunrise TV shows, and co-hosts a weekly radio show
(webcast on www.fm1071.com).
Ferre Laevers (Belgium)
Dedicated to providing children with 'deep, motivated, intense and
long-term' learning experiences.
Ferre Laevers is director of the Research Centre for Experiential Education at the University of Leuven
(Belgium). He was the founding father of the innovative Experiential Education project more than
30 years ago.
The project has generated a framework for quality assessment and improvement for a wide range
of settings: from babies and toddlers in child care, to professionals in in-service training. The basic hypothesis is that
the most economic and conclusive way to assess the quality of any educational setting is to focus on the degree
of 'emotional wellbeing' and the level of 'involvement' of the children.
In 2005 Ferre was elected president of the European Early Childhood Education Research Association (EECERA).
Julia Moons (Belgium)
A preschool teacher and researcher dedicated to improving outcomes
for children's wellbeing.
Julia Moons has been participating in the Experiential Education project since 1980. As a preschool
teacher she was involved in several action research projects and has made a major contribution to the
development of practice that supports wellbeing and involvement in children.
As a senior member of the University of Leuven's Centre for Experiential Education team, Julia
is involved in several projects in the field of early childhood education.
Chris Sidoti (Aus)
A former Human Rights Commissioner for Australia with a passionate
commitment to children's rights.
Chris Sidoti is a human rights lawyer, activist and teacher, currently working from Sydney as an
international human rights consultant. Chris is currently the independent chair of the UK Government's
Northern Ireland Bill of Rights Forum, and has been Australian Human Rights Commissioner and
foundation director of the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission.
Chris has also worked in non-government organisations, including the Human Rights Council of
Australia and the Australian Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace. He is an adjunct professor at the University
of Western Sydney, Griffith University and the Australian Catholic University, and a Fellow of the Castan Centre for
Human Rights Law at Monash University.
Rob Gell (Aus)
His approach to sustainable development is respected by government, business, environmental groups and the community.
Rob Gell is a coastal geomorphologist by training, and has taught Environmental Science and Physical Geography at a tertiary level. For 28 years he was a weather TV presenter.
In his professional life, Rob works as an environmental and communications consultant and is chair of Access Environmental. He is also a company director, published author and photographer.
Rob is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and an Inaugural Fellow of the Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand. He was Environment Ambassador to the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games.
Karen Martin (Aus)
A Noonuccal woman whose outstanding analytical research in Aboriginal early childhood education is used nationally and internationally.
Karen Martin is a Noonuccal woman from Minjerripah (North Stradbroke Island, south-east Queensland) who also has Bidjara ancestry (Canarvon Gorge, central Queensland). She has taught in Aboriginal community education services, and has published and lectured widely in Aboriginal early childhood education.
The outstanding analytical depth of Karen's research has seen her awarded the 2005 Barbara Creaser Memorial Award by Early Childhood Australia, the 2006 James Cook University Medal, and the joint 2007 AARE Doctoral Research in Education Award.
Karen is a member of the Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children and the ARACY Research Network, and is currently Associate Professor Early Childhood at Southern Cross University.
2008 Conference papers
The following presenters from the 2008 Conference have given permission for their papers to be made available.
These are the original versions, as supplied by presenters. They have not been edited for publication.
Kirsi Alila, The national steering of quality in early childhood education in finland.
Merise Bickley, Supporting a committment to quality.
Jackie Brien, What next?
Marilyn Casley, Creating positive change.
Alison Evans, Engaging communities–developing new community based early childhood services: A central Queensland snapshot.
Barbara Fisher, Planning for cluster management of early childhood services–project of Unitingcare Victoria and Tasmania.
Elizabeth Fulton, Developing individualised behaviour plans that promote a child's social and emotional development and protect the safety and well being of all children and adults in early childhood settings.
Jessica Horne, Full seminar presentation.
George Lewis, Early language and literacy as social practice: Engaging families, children and preschool staff in an educationally disadvantaged Australian community.
Sharon Mathers, Look at me and all that surrounds me.
Lila Mauigoa-Tekene, Pedagogy of teaching young children through questioning and responding.
Nadine McCrae, Young gardeners greener thumbs...pondering principles, policies and practises for edible gardening.
Jan McGiffen, Healthy hearts, bodies and minds: The garden project.
Zsuzsa Millei, Exercising punishment or guiding students: What's the difference? A critique of recent theories of classroom discipline in early childhood.
Judy Radich, Using technology to provide a unified system for documenting children's learning.
Susanne Rogers, 'Reconceptualising reception'...practitioner inquiry into pedagogy and curriculum in the first year of school.
Chris Sidoti, Advocacy and leadership in early childhood services: A personal reflection on promoting children's rights.
Elizabeth Simpson, Families choosing child care: What's the story?
Anne Slater, Twinkle twinkle little stars
Callan Slater, The challenge of using popular culture to explore racism and prejudice with school aged children.
June Slee, Creating positive peer relationships: teaching for social competency.
Danielle Stiff, The 'Cascades of learning' project.
Kaarin Wilkinson, Growing skills for sustainable living.
Gillian Williams, Really ready groups.
Angela O'Connor and Cathy Diggins, Reflection in action.
The complete list of abstracts is available in this document: