​Marg Simmons from St Augustine's Mont Albert North and Maggie Dent (right)

AECS Conference May 2012

The Anglican Early Childhood Services Staff Conference was held on Wednesday 16 May 2012 at The Centre for Adult Education (CAE) in Flinders Lane. The conference was arranged for all staff of the kindergartens within the AECS programs. Feedback from attendees revealed that the day was deemed a great success and all the workshops were both useful and informative.

Keynote speaker Maggie Dent, whose excellent reputation in this field, was a worthwhile investment. She engaged the attendees and provided great inspiration.  Further information about Maggie Dent can be found at her website: www.maggiedent.com

Keynote speaker

Maggie Dent

Maggie Dent has a wide experience in teaching, writing, broadcasting and speaking.  Much of this has been in the area of early childhood education, but Maggie is also committed to encouraging people of all ages to take a positive step forward in their lives in order to maximise their potential. Maggie is currently running seminars nationally and internationally that increase awareness of the importance of building personal and professional resilience, qualities which enable us to be effective educators. We look forward to being inspired and enthused for the challenges ahead.

Workshop summaries

Dare to be Exceptional for Early Years Professionals
Maggie Dent

Maggie is a teacher, author and parenting and resilience specialist, who brings to her presentations a wide professional experience. She is committed to encouraging people to maximize their potential.

This seminar challenged the mediocrity of meeting minimum standards and shaping people to be able to do a job, instead of creating a person who can change the world. Maggie inspired big thinking in a simple and practical way and showed that anyone can be exceptional in their chosen career provided they follow their passion and use their natural abilities and talents. Our children deserve the best care and early education possible – this seminar had us inspired to be exceptional.

Bush Kinder: Learning from Nature, Learning in nature
Doug Fargher

Doug is the founder of Bush Kinder, and is teaching in the Bush Kinder pilot program at Westgarth kindergarten and directing its implementation, as well as consulting and speaking nationally about this exciting and innovative program. He has a passion for allowing children to learn through play, outdoors in nature. Doug has been working in Early Childhood Education for over 20 years and is a finalist for the 2012 VCTU Outstanding Early Teacher Award. Doug explains “I often dreamt of teaching in the Australian Bush. In 2011 I got to live my teaching dream; Bush Kinder had begun.

This session was an introduction to Bush Kinder and explored how personal and collective passion can energize, excite and inspire teachers. Many people have reflected on the important role that being outdoors in nature has had on their lives. Some adults lament the fact that today’s children sometimes miss the opportunity to spend extended periods of time playing outdoors. Bush Kinder allows children the freedom to be children, providing opportunities to explore, to play freely and to reflect. These spaces invite open ended interactions, spontaneity, risk taking, exploration, discovery and connection with nature (NQS 3.1). Be challenged to be the educator you aspire to be. 

EYLF and NQF without tears
Susie Rosback

Susie is the Director of St. Paul’s Kindergarten, Canterbury, and the recently published author of “EYLF and NQF Without Tears”, and has run many seminars for early childhood educators on the topic. Susie was awarded the National Excellence in Teaching Award (State and Territory) by the Australian Scholarships Group in 2011 and has been nominated for the National Award in 2012.

In this session Susie took us through the practical steps taken at her kindergarten as they began to incorporate the EYLF and NQF into their programmes. Susie’s aim is to encourage staff as they begin this process by providing some information, and explaining the steps taken to involve all staff in contributing to the necessary documentation, to support each of the frameworks and regulatory requirements. This session provided some guidelines, which could be adapted to each kindergarten’s specific situation.
Susie’s book can be ordered online www.teachingsolutions.com.au

Everyday Science
Sherry Hutton and Donna Burns

Sherry and Donna are known to many of us as past staff members of St. John’s Kindergarten, Croydon. Their commitment to the necessity for play is absolute and drives the provision of “irresistible ideas for play-based learning” which many of us follow on their website.

This workshop appealed to those who feel a little overwhelmed with the thought of teaching science. Donna and Sherry shared their own practical, tried and true ideas, using everyday materials we all have at hand to enhance the children’s learning opportunities and encourage them to explore. Their ‘irresistible science’ workshop gave us the impetus to engage with science on a regular basis with our children, whatever their ages or interests.

The Importance of Calmness, Silence and Stillness in Children’s Lives
Maggie Dent

Today’s world is full of the immediacy of a busy life and it is impacting on children. This seminar explored the what, the why and most importantly the how, of calming our children. We learned about self-regulation, how to calm hyperactive children and about stress in children’s lives. We discovered the cognitive, social and emotional benefits of silence and stillness and how it brings immediate benefits to our centres. Maggie also explored building mindfulness in young children, which will help with their ability to interpret and interact more positively with their world.

Using IT to investigate, explore and enhance Early Childhood practice
Alan Milstead

Alan teaches at St. Paul’s Kindergarten, Canterbury. He is enthusiastic about the potential for using technology in early childhood education, assuring educators that, with some basic practice, its use is well within the capacity of all staff.

Alan explained the significance of this workshop. “Since early last year we have incorporated a diverse range of IT equipment into our program at St. Paul’s Kindergarten. In this session we shared the benefits that these resources have had in enhancing child development and educational engagement. We demonstrated how we have used IT to extend the children’s learning, while providing practical advice and assistance to help educators implement their own approach to using IT resources. This session was not about children playing games on computers, rather, it was about responding to child-initiated inquiry and investigation, and the opportunities that technology affords us as educators. This has assisted us in supporting the implementation of the five learning outcomes which form the EYLF.”


 TMA articles from the conference