Early Childhood Australia National Conference 2018



We are delighted to announce our keynote speakers for the 2018 ECA National Conference in Sydney.

International Keynote Speakers

Dr Stuart Shanker

Dr Stuart Shanker, D. Phil. (Oxon), is a distinguished research professor emeritus of psychology and philosophy from York University, and the creator of The MEHRIT Centre and the Self Regulation Institute. His expertise has been sought internationally as an advisor on early child development and self-regulation to school boards and government organisations. His five-step Self-Reg model—The Shanker Method®—is a powerful process for understanding and managing stress in children, youth and adults.

An internationally acclaimed speaker, educator and author, Stuart has written many influential books and articles including the top-selling educational book, Calm, alert and learning: Classroom strategies for self-regulation (Pearson, 2012). His newest book, Self-Reg: How to help your child (and you) break the stress cycle and successfully engage with life (Penguin, 2016) has garnered glowing reviews, and is being translated and published around the world.

Professor Paul Ramchandani

Paul Ramchandani is LEGO® Professor of Play in Education, Development and Learning (PEDAL) at Cambridge University, United Kingdom (UK). He leads a research team investigating the role of play in children’s early development, and works as a Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist in the UK National Health Service.

After undertaking medical studies, Paul obtained a degree in Public Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He then completed training in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and obtained a DPhil from Oxford University in 2005. Prior to taking up his appointment in Cambridge in January 2018, Paul led the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Group at Imperial College London.

Paul’s research is focused on early child development, with a particular interest in the prevention of emotional and behavioural problems in the early years of life. This research has been supported by Fellowships awarded by the Medical Research Council and Wellcome Trust, and more recently by substantive grant funding from the National Institute of Health Research. 

Paul works with a multi-disciplinary team including expertise in psychology, neuroscience, education and psychiatry. Details of the current work of the team, and recent publications, can be found on the PEDAL and pPOD websites.

Dr Cindy Blackstock

Dr Cindy Blackstock is Executive Director, First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada. She is also a member of the Gitxsan First Nation, and has 25 years of social work experience in child protection and Indigenous children’s rights.

Cindy’s promotion of culturally based and evidence-informed solutions has been recognised by the Nobel Women’s Initiative, Indspire, Front Line Defenders and many others. 

An author of over 50 publications and a widely sought-after public speaker, Cindy has collaborated with other Indigenous leaders to assist the United Nations Committee on the rights of the child in the development and adoption of a General Comment on the rights of Indigenous children.

Australian Keynotes

Stan Grant

Stan Grant is the Indigenous Affairs Editor for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and special advisor to the Prime Minister on Indigenous constitutional recognition. A multi-award winning current affairs host, author and adventurer, Stan’s career in journalism has spanned more than 30 years. In that time he has travelled the world covering major stories, such as the release of Nelson Mandela, the troubles in Northern Ireland, the death of Princess Diana, the war in Iraq and the Pakistan earthquake.

Stan has been a political correspondent for the ABC, a Europe correspondent for the Seven Network and a senior international correspondent for the international broadcaster CNN. He has won many major awards including an Australian TV Logie, an Alfred I. duPont–Columbia University Award and the prestigious US Peabody Award. He is also a four-time winner of the highly prized Asia TV Awards, including reporter of the year.