2024 ECA National Conference - Realising the Vision: an integrated future for the early years

2024 ECA National Conference, 17–20 September, Brisbane

Realising the Vision: an integrated future for the early years

Realising the Vision: an integrated future for the early years is the theme for the 36th ECA National Conference, to be held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, Queensland, from Tuesday 17 September to Friday 20 September 2024.

The early years are at the forefront of policy debate and reform across Australia and globally. This is an extraordinary ‘moment in time’ to shape the future—to build a universal platform for early childhood education and care, to stabilise and recognise the early childhood workforce, and to better integrate supports for both children and families across allied health, social services and major service systems such as the NDIS . It is critical that reform is driven by a clear vision that puts children at the centre of policy and service design. It is also important that the early childhood profession is actively engaged in both decision-making and implementation.

We are also on the cusp of creating a reconciled nation that recognises, values and celebrates the enduring strength of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and identities. The early childhood sector has an important role in this—through embracing cultural responsiveness and inclusive practice to foster children’s connection to culture and identity, while also forming respectful partnerships to empower First Nations communities and families.

The ECA National Conference is an opportunity to come together and help shape the future of Australia as a nation and the legacy we leave for the next generation of children.

Apply now to present at the 2024 ECA National Conference

Your opportunity to present at the 2024 ECA National Conference is here!

Applicants wishing to present need to pick from one of the five areas of inquiry. The format can either be a standalone oral presentation or a traditional poster presentation. Applicants must submit an abstract of 300 words online and will be asked to identify the target audience for their presentation.

The closing date for submission is Friday 19 January 2024.

Learn more

The ECA National Conference provides a platform for professional discourse relevant to the rights, wellbeing and early education of young children (birth to eight years). It is attended by early childhood educators, teachers, service leaders and executives, as well as policy-makers, program administrators, academics, researchers and those involved in pre-qualification training and ongoing professional development.

Subscribe to the E-newsletter to stay up to date with the latest conference news.

2023 ECA National Conference Highlights

Celebrating and supporting the workforce

Working with young children can be demanding and challenging but also incredibly rewarding, fulfilling and joyful. The ECA National Conference is an opportunity to come together to celebrate and inspire early childhood educators, teachers and leaders. It is an opportunity to build professional belonging and pride. We welcome papers that celebrate and/or support the workforce.

Learn More

Play in curriculum, pedagogy and praxis

ECA is a champion for play and play-based learning, as articulated in the ECA Statement on Play released in 2023 and during our annual celebration—Early Learning Matters Week. The ECA National Conference seeks to advance public understanding of the importance of play and supports the professional skills of educators who teach through play in both early years and school contexts.

Learn More

Welcoming transdisciplinary practice

There are increasing expectations for professionals working with young children across a range of sectors to work collaboratively. It is essential to maintain our strength-based and holistic approach to working with children and families.

Learn More

Leading a sustainable future

There has been a strong focus on sustainability at ECA National Conferences over many years and it is imperative that we keep pushing ourselves to contribute to environmental, economic and social sustainability beyond the service setting.

Learn More

Future directions in digital technologies

We live in a time of rapid digital technology evolution. The early years are a critical time to teach children important skills that empower them to navigate complex social and ethical challenges likely to arise across their lifespan.

Learn More


Welcome from Trevor Brown, ECA National President

Trevor Brown, ECA National President

The Early Childhood Australia (ECA) National Conference is so many things—a platform for sharing ideas and theories, a showcase of exemplary practice, and an opportunity to connect and celebrate. It is highly anticipated and it never fails to excite and inspire.

This year, the 36th ECA National Conference is called Realising the Vision: an integrated future for the early years. Whether working with children, making policy, or providing services, we need to engage with reliable information and make time to connect and converse.

During the 2024 ECA National Conference and associated events, you will have many opportunities to meet with old and new acquaintances and to forge relationships with others from the sector and beyond. I look forward to warmly welcoming delegates to the 36th ECA National Conference, Realising the Vision: an integrated future for the early years in Brisbane next September!


Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre

Cnr Merivale and Glenelg Streets
South Bank, Brisbane

+61 2 6242 1800 conference@earlychildhood.org.au

Artist—Laurie Nona

Laurie Nona has been collected by the National Gallery of Australia since the 1990’s and is regarded as one of the most exciting artists in the Torres Strait.

Laurie works beautifully across lino relief, copper plate etching and carving with a unique strength – both in style and symbol. He is ambitious and courageous as an artist, and has successfully completed some superb works including a massive tribal drum, standing over 6 feet tall.

All of Laurie’s work shows his deep connections to, and recognition of the importance of Island culture. His work recognises his place in the greater wider world and shows beautiful relationships with the fish and other creatures from the ocean, the skies and winds, the storms and currents and the Islands of the Torres Strait.

The Turtle and the Dugong are frequent reference points, as are some of his unique symbols – which are the artists signature marks. Little known are his informal collaborations with other artists of significance, including Joseph Au, Aiona Gaidan Jrn, Weldon Matasia, Matilda Nona and Alick Tipoti – and also his monumental efforts in the early 2000’s supporting Joseph Au in starting the Badu Art Centre with support of Alick Tipoti, and leading the push to have Badu Artists recognised.

A leader and a warrior at heart, “Uncle Laurie” is revered across the Torres Strait and well known for his work. His versatility is almost perhaps without precedent – and he journeys into colour, form and design across his tribal drums, hand coloured etchings and prints. Perhaps one of his greatest strengths is the purity of his line, and the careful and wise balance of form, design and function in his imagery.

Kirisgamul Mut

© Licensed by Laurie Nona

Kirisgamul Mut (Sunbird)

'In this image I show flowers from my mum’s garden around my home - padau muthd (house on the hill) - here on Badu Island, where I grew up and still live today. As one of my many after school and weekend jobs, I would water my mum’s garden of hibiscus and frangipani flowers. Whilst watering the plants, I would get visited by this kirisgamul mut (little yellow chested sunbird). This little visitor seemed to me a very free, friendly, joyful and happy singing little bird. The designs within the bird image represent its flight from flower to flower in search of sweet nectar and insects for its young. I would watch the kirisgamul mut fly from flower to flower, listening, licking its beak and manoeuvring in ways that would have me stunned by its ability to defy laws of gravity. Even today, I still see the what could be the same kirisgamul mut repeating its daily flight plan around my mum’s garden. From this bird I learnt that if he or she could live life freely, friendly, joyfully and happily, I could too! I now believe we all can thanks to the kirisgamul mut.'
Laurie Nona 2011