Application to present

Application to present is open!

The Early Childhood Australia 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 policymakers, program administrators, academics, researchers and those involved in pre-qualification training and ongoing professional development. The conference is live streamed and in 2023 attracted over 2,400 national and international participants.

To have the opportunity to join these esteemed sector colleagues and present your chosen topic, simply submit your abstract online (which must be no more than 300 words and be accompanied with a 50 word biography for each presenting author & author affiliations).

Download a copy of the application to present

Apply now

Key dates

Submission and post-selection schedule Deadline
Closing date for submission of your application to present 19 January 2024
Review of all applications by ECA Conference Program Committee 19 February 2024
Outcome notification to applicants 18 March 2024
Draft program published on conference website 8 April 2024
Prerecording of presentations June–July 2024
Closing date for successful applicants to register 30 June 2024
Submission of the final PowerPoint presentation 16 August 2024

Essential information

‘Realising the vision: an integrated future for the early years

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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Applicants are required to submit a 300-word abstract and will be asked to identify the target audience for the presentation, i.e. who is most likely to benefit. For example, presentations might target one or more groups or individuals, including but not limited to:

  • educators and teachers working with infants and children under the age of three years
  • educators and teachers delivering preschool programs to three- to five-year-old children
  • educational or pedagogical leaders in early childhood services and schools
  • family support workers or parent educators
  • service or school leaders and executives with managerial responsibilities
  • providers of pre-qualification training and/or ongoing professional development
  • those involved in quality improvement or regulation/assessment
  • researchers, academics and thought leaders
  • policymakers and program administrators within government agencies.

The application process will ask about the experience of the presenter(s) and whether the content has been presented elsewhere. This information will help ECA balance the program with a mix of new and known material. It will also help us to meet our aim of delivering consistent, high-quality presentations and give new or inexperienced presenters an opportunity to gain experience.

Applicants will also need to list the position and affiliation/organisation of each author, and provide biographies for each presenting author.

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Presentation type

There are two presentation categories for the conference. Applicants must specify which presentation format they are applying under.

1.         Oral presentation

Oral presentations are allocated 45 minutes, including time for attendees to ask questions or engage in a discussion with the presenter(s). ECA encourages presenters to deliver their presentation in an interactive way. There will be a 10-minute room change opportunity between sessions. Presenters may be asked to present twice during the conference if their session proves to be very popular.

Please note: For all presentations, the room configuration will be in a theatre style setting. Applicants must ensure their submission reflects the room setting, as changes to the configuration and setup of the room are not possible throughout the conference.

Selected presentations will be live streamed to a virtual audience. By accepting to present at the ECA National Conference, applicants grant ECA permission to live stream and record presentations to be available for delegate viewing for up to 60 days after the conference. Presenters may also be requested to record their presentation should they be successful in their application.

ECA reserves the right to request successful presenters to host a longer or shorter presentation.

Audio-visual requirements

Presentations must be in PowerPoint format. The full and final electronic presentation will need to be submitted by Friday 16 August 2024, to ensure compatibility with the system available at the venue.

At the venue, presenters will have access to facilities such as data projectors, computers, screens and the internet. The conference will be networked, which means that presentations will be loaded from the Speaker Preparation Centre.

2.    Poster presentation

All poster presentations must follow a standard format and adhere to the following dimension and layout criteria:

  • The maximum size allowed for posters is 1.2 metres (h) x 1.0 metre (w).
  • The title and author names must be clearly indicated at the top of the poster. Large letters are to be used for the title (equivalent to 80-point font size or larger).
  • All text on the poster is to be legible from a distance of one metre. It is suggested that headings be a minimum of 30-point font size and body text be a minimum of 24-point font size.
  • Posters are to be either printed on poster paper or assembled on light cardboard.
  • Use of columns is recommended as it is easier to read than material arranged in rows.
  • Presenters are encouraged to include visual aids in their posters (e.g. images, flow charts, graphic representations of data).

A designated 15-minute time slot will be determined during the conference for successful applicants to present their posters.

If successful, poster presenters will be requested to record a short video presentation to talk about their poster for viewing after the conference via the mobile app and virtual platform. The recording will be made available to delegates for up to 60 days after the conference.

Recorded presentations remain the property of ECA, for the purposes of the ECA National Conference only. 

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Presenter registration

A condition for being able to present is that all presenters must register for the day on which they will be presenting at the conference. All presenters will receive the ECA Member rate for full conference registration. A maximum of three (3) presenters per paper will be allowed to register and participate at the Member rate. If registration confirmation and payment are not received by Sunday 30 June 2024, abstracts will be withdrawn from the conference program.

Selection criteria

Key focus

Applications must focus on:

  • relevance to at least one of the conference themes
  • examples of emerging or exemplar practice that enhance children’s experiences and/or the sector
  • university research, action research or extension of existing thinking
  • relevance to the target audience, understanding that delegates attending the session may come from across Australia and overseas.

Required inclusions

Applicants must ensure that their papers:

  • specify the aims of the project or research questions and/or focus of inquiry, where applicable
  • outline research methods and/or analytical and/or theoretical framework in brief
  • have a strong emphasis on findings and/or translation to practice and contribution to the professional practice of the target audience.

Publication of papers

All selected abstracts will be published on the 2024 ECA Conference App. Presentations will be published on the website alone, after the conference has concluded. Presentations will not be edited and will be converted directly to PDF files from their submitted format.

Some presentations and papers may also be selected by the ECA Publications Advisory Committee for inclusion in other ECA publications. The ECA Publications team will approach presenters independently regarding potential publication. This may involve presenters summarising their paper or presentation for a magazine format. Further instructions will be provided by the ECA Publications team, as required.

Review process

All applications to present will be reviewed by a panel that includes members of the ECA Conference Program Committee. Members of the ECA Conference Program Committee will:

  • know the identities of the applicants
  • assess the applications to ensure the quality and relevance of the presentations
  • assess the applications in accordance with the ECA selection criteria.

Wherever possible, feedback will be given to unsuccessful applicants, depending on the number of applications received.

Conference live stream

The 2024 ECA National Conference will be live streamed to delegates who purchase a Virtual Delegate Pass. Selected papers will be asked to participate in the live stream. Presenters will be filmed and their presentation will be shown to the audience.

Following the conference, presentations will be made available for viewing in the library of presentations for a period of 60 days after the conference.


In keeping with ECA’s sustainability drive, all abstracts must be submitted online using the following link:

ECA seeks to minimise any negative environmental impact from the conference. We therefore encourage successful presenters to avoid the use of single-use plastics or unnecessary printed material—any handouts can be pre-loaded onto the conference website, app or USB.

Free of commercial interest

Applicants must confirm that their paper is free of commercial interest and declare if they are a commercial enterprise. Any paper that is selling or promoting a particular product or commercial service will not be accepted.

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Terms and conditions

Successful candidates must agree to the following terms and conditions:

  • ECA may broadcast selected presentation(s) via live stream to conference delegates. Presenters grant ECA the right to publish their recorded presentation in the library of presentations for a period of 60 days after the conference.
  • Presenters must ensure their availability for media comments about the conference.
  • All presenters must be available to present live in person and speak at any time during the conference.
  • All presenters must register for the in-person conference. Up to three (3) presenters will receive the ECA Member rate for full conference registration.
  • If the conference changes to a fully virtual format, all presenters must be present on the virtual platform during their presentation and have a virtual registration.
  • Presenters may be asked to repeat their session if it proves to be popular, or if delegates miss out on the session due to lack of space.
  • Presenters grant ECA the right to publish their papers on the conference website and/or in various ECA publications.
  • Abstracts will be withdrawn from the conference program if registration confirmation and payment are not received by Sunday 30 June 2024.

How to submit your abstract

Applications to present are now OPEN.

In keeping with ECA’s drive to improve environmental sustainability, all abstracts must be submitted online. 

Submission process

Step 1: Read all instructions carefully.

Step 2: Write an abstract (no more than 300 words) related to the preferred sub-theme.

Step 3: Ensure the abstract addresses the selection criteria.

Step 4: Submit the abstract online before Wednesday 19 January 2024, via—2024-brisbane-national-conference/2024-brisbane

Step 5: Ensure presenter biographies are no more than 50 words in total.

Step 6: Supply at least one presenter photograph with the application (limit file size to a maximum of 1MB).

Please note:

  • The abstracts and biographies of successful candidates will undergo editing before being published in the conference program.
  • A maximum of three (3) presenters will be allowed to register and present per paper at the Member rate.
  • Applicants may submit multiple papers but only one paper can be accepted to present at the conference.
  • Applications will only be accepted online.

Before you submit online, please ensure that you have read and understood this information.
If you have any questions, please contact the Conference Office for more information:

T: 02 6242 1800