Developing classroom cultural responsiveness in partnership with AIATSIS

Masterclass with Daniel Greene, Dr Sara Tomkins, Fiona McRobie, Miranda Williams, Julie Dixon and Robyn Kiddy

This masterclass will explore teacher identity, self-reflexivity and culture and how these affect learners. It will unpack how individual identity is constructed and what impact dominant culture has on teaching, classrooms and the curriculum. The discussion will be underpinned by critical research on topics such as prejudice and racism. Members of the AIATSIS Education team, including an Aboriginal teacher and a white teacher, will reflect on their experiences to highlight the different ways in which cultural identity frames their engagement with the education system. And, the team at Narrabundah Early Childhood School will outline how they have built a strong and respectful relationship with their local community.

Participants will be presented with a framework for identifying resources that elevate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices in classrooms, and learn how to apply this learning through hands-on activities. They will also have the opportunity to develop a Personal Action Plan to identify and commit to making genuine efforts to address the institutional nature of racism in the Australian education system.

Date: Wednesday 5 October 2022
Time: 9.00 am – 12.30 pm
Venue: National Convention Centre Canberra
Presenters: Daniel Greene, Dr Sara Tomkins, Fiona McRobie, Miranda Williams, Julie Dixon and Robyn Kiddy
Rate: $99.00

Masterclass partner

About the presenters

Daniel Greene
Assistant Director of Education

Daniel Greene is an Alyawarre man, originally from the Northern Territory. He has taught in the ACT public school system for 20 years, working on many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander–specific projects and initiatives. Daniel has worked in classes from Kindergarten to Year 10 and was recognised for his service to the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in 2017 when he received the ACT and surrounding regions NAIDOC Person of the Year award. He continues to serve the local and national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities through his work at AIATSIS.

Dr Sara Tomkins
Research Fellow (Education)

Sara Tomkins has worked as a lecturer, tutor and researcher in education and cultural studies at the University of Sydney, Australian Catholic University and Macquarie University. Her research interests include anti-racist education and cross-cultural knowledge production.

Fiona McRobie
Project Manager

Fiona McRobie trained as a secondary school teacher and has taught in schools in the Northern Territory and the ACT. She is originally from the UK. Her experience in the classroom informs not only her understanding of education as a colonising force but also its efficacy as a tool for social justice.

Miranda Williams
Research Officer

Miranda Williams has a bachelor’s degree in Indigenous Studies and Art History, and a master’s degree in Arts and Cultural Management. She has experience working across government, community and commercial arts roles, alongside working with children and young people in both arts and education. She is interested in the ways in which these different areas intersect and can create a space for meaningful social change.


AIATSIS cares for a growing collection of more than 1 million items encompassing films, photographs, audio recordings, art and objects, printed and other resource materials. We conduct research to the highest ethical standards, directly benefiting the communities we work with. We publish award-winning books and content that engages people with the story of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australia. We enable people to encounter, engage and be transformed by that story. We support and facilitate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural resurgence. AIATSIS is in a unique position to develop authoritative resources from an Indigenous viewpoint, to support teaching about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures and provide teachers with professional learning to teach in a culturally safe way. With the newly established Education team, AIATSIS will work alongside education groups to support all educators, from early childhood settings through to primary and senior school levels.

About Narrabundah Early Childhood School

Narrabundah Early Childhood School (NECS) is an integrated service co-located with ACT Education Directorate, Communities at Work and ACT Health so that each child and family has easy access to services and programs when required. High-quality learning, integrated service delivery, and family support and participation form the core elements of the early childhood school model.

NECS is a small community-focused school with a current enrolment of 127 children up to Year 2. Around 27% of the families and children enrolled at NECS identify as being Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. The NECS Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), Culture Club and Koori Preschool are an integral part of NECS. Each term, the NECS Cultural Integrity team presents two workshops aimed at increasing staff knowledge, skills and confidence in teaching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures. This curriculum work is closely linked to the NECS RAP. The team also works closely with identified partners to deliver Culture Club, which aims to strengthen all students’ knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and contributions and to enhance families’ connection to the school.

Who can register?
The masterclass is open for registration to all 2022 ECA National Conference delegates.

Register now

STEM in the early years: We can all do STEM

Masterclass with Associate Professor Kym Simoncini

Early childhood is the natural starting point for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learning. Young children are born explorers, investigators and scientists. They are capable of considerable learning in maths and science, but adults often underestimate their abilities. Early childhood educators are well placed to foster children’s engagement and enjoyment of STEM. More importantly, they are well placed to extend STEM learning and help children believe they can ‘do’ STEM.

Educators do STEM activities everyday but may not typically make them explicit, missing many learning opportunities. This masterclass will highlight the importance of STEM in the early years and discuss simple ways in which educators can support STEM learning. It will also investigate a range of activities and resources—including children’s literature and manipulative materials—that can be used to promote and enhance STEM learning.

Participants will receive a copy of the Early Childhood STEM Habits of Mind resource to use during the masterclass and in their daily practice. Each of the habits will be explored through hands-on activities, with special consideration given to language and questioning that can promote STEM learning.

This masterclass is for any early childhood professional who wants to learn more about teaching STEM in the early years and implementing it in their setting without a large technology budget or major changes to practice.

Date: Wednesday 5 October 2022
Time: 9.00 am to 12.30 pm
Venue: National Convention Centre Canberra
Presenter: Associate Professor Kym Symoncini
Cost: $99.00

About the presenter

Kym Simoncini is an Associate Professor of Early Childhood and Primary Education at the University of Canberra. She has worked with schools and universities for more than 20 years. Her research focuses on play, family learning and teacher professional development. Kym was part of the Early Learning STEM Australia (ELSA) Pilot project team and was responsible for conceptualising the ELSA Families Web App, children’s books and resources that accompany the children’s apps, and educator professional learning. She has developed several STEM artefacts, including the Early Childhood STEM Habits of Mind resource, which facilitates a shared language and framework for children, parents and educators engaging in STEM. She regularly delivers professional learning centred on STEM in the early years for preschool and early childhood teachers.

Who can register?
The masterclass is open for registration to all 2022 ECA National Conference delegates.

Register now

Once upon a time … 101 ways to share stories with children

Masterclass with Joanne Darbyshire and Jane Bourne

Storytelling is among the oldest forms of communication. Storytelling is the commonality of all human beings, in all places, in all times (Rives Collins, American author and university professor).

Stories hold a special place in our hearts and offer children wonderful words, ideas, perspectives and a space for imagining. Humans have been sharing stories for thousands of years for a range of purposes—particularly First Nations Australians, who have been passing down stories for more than 50,000 years through the oldest form of storytelling, The Dreaming.

During this masterclass, Joanne Darbyshire and Jane Bourne will share some of the ways in which they have enjoyed communicating stories to children over many years of working in the early childhood sector. They will show you how to use drama, poetry, puppets, art, props, mime, songs and sounds to share and embellish stories and engage children. They will also talk about rituals for ‘setting the scene’ and ideas for maintaining connection throughout the story. To help you extend the storytelling experience for children, Joanne and Jane will discuss practical tips on how children can be encouraged to further explore the story or participate in the sharing and become confident storytellers themselves.

So, bring along your favourite story or storytelling idea to share and be prepared to participate and have fun!

Date: Wednesday 5 October 2022
Time: 1.00 pm to 4.30 pm
Venue: National Convention Centre Canberra
Presenters: Joanne Darbyshire and Jane Bourne
Rates: $99.00

About the presenters

Joanne Darbyshire has been involved in the early childhood sector for more than four decades. During her extensive career she has held several roles, including kindergarten teacher, early intervention coordinator, parent support worker, visiting preschool teacher and TAFE and university lecturer.

Currently, Joanne is an educational practice advisor in south-west Queensland and supports educators in reflecting on and building their knowledge of curriculum, pedagogy and practice. She recently worked with the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority on reviewing the Queensland Kindergarten Learning Guidelines and developing online resources for early childhood educators. Sharing stories with children has been a highlight of Joanne’s career and she now enjoys story time with her own grandchild.

Jane Bourne is a highly regarded expert in the early childhood education and care sector, with more than four decades of experience. Jane has held a variety of senior management and executive positions in both profit and not-for-profit organisations, including eight years as CEO of Lady Gowrie Queensland and four years as CEO of C&K. She is currently retired but serves as a Member of Early Childhood Australia’s National Board.

In September 2020, Jane received the QUT Faculty of Education Outstanding Alumni Award for her contribution to early childhood education and care. During the COVID lockdowns, Jane and her puppet friend Stanley shared stories with hundreds of C&K children and families throughout Queensland.

Who can register?
The masterclass is open for registration to all 2022 ECA National Conference delegates.

Register now

Using an adaptive leadership framework to re-imagine early childhood leadership today

A virtual ECA leadership masterclass with Dr Anne Kennedy

Early childhood leaders, new and seasoned, have spent the past couple of years supporting their teams, families, children, and their early childhood settings through a worldwide pandemic. This has led to a re-imagining of what is meant by early childhood leadership and how this is enacted in times of crises. This is known as adaptive leadership, where early childhood leaders anticipate the future needs of their teams and organisations, build a collective understanding of action, engage in continuous learning to ensuring effective adjustment of practice, and ensure an openness to change, challenges and feedback. Using adaptive leadership as a framework for considering effective practice may very well situate the early childhood leader as a progressive beacon of hope during uncertain and evolving times.

In this masterclass, you will:
• reflect on your own leadership identity, the influence of your leadership and the ways in which your leadership has evolved over time
• consider the traditional and contemporary approaches, theories and research that underpin early childhood leadership today
• use the adaptive leadership framework to contemplate how the pandemic has shifted your leadership practice and what can be learnt from the highly adaptive way you’ve lead over the past couple of years.

Date: Wednesday 5 October 2022
Time: 10.00 am to 2.00 pm
Venue: Virtual
Presenter: Dr Anne Kennedy
Rate: $121.00

About the presenter

Dr Anne Kennedy works as a consultant, writer, trainer, researcher and advocate in the early childhood education sector. She is a Fellow of the Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne and a Member of the Victorian Children’s Council. She is also a Board Member of the Australian Education Research Organisation (AERO) and a Non-Executive Director of The Front Project. Anne was a member of the Charles Sturt University team that developed the national Early Years Learning Framework (2009). She was also a part of the ECA working group that reviewed and revised the ECA Code of Ethics in 2006 and 2016. Anne is a co-author of ECA’s Ethics in Action implementation guide and has developed a range of other resources for early childhood professionals in collaboration with ECA.

Who can register?
The masterclass is open for registration to all 2022 ECA National Conference delegates.

Proudly brought to you by

ECA Learning Hub 

Register now