We are pleased to be visiting Hobart and Burnie as part of our National Tour and Study Tour in April this year. We already have many bookings. April 9-12 we are visiting Tassie. Please see details of our National Tour on the website bookings page for details or contact us.
A busy week this week in SA. Two days of the National Tour where Kathy is speaking on a range of issues related to planning, documentation, neuro science and personalised teaching and learning in the Walker Learning Approach. Then off to a WLA study tour with Shona Bass at Antonio School for an R-2 and 3-7 tour of wonderful learning environments.
It was exciting for Early Life Foundations to be part of the 21st VEYF conference at Hilton on the Park on Saturday 22 March. Kathy was one of the 3 keynote speakers and provided a depth of knowledge about the importance of understanding the brain to understand how to teach through play based curriculum.
Wonderful to have Claire Worden from Scotland sharing her work on play and children in the natural world.
We congratulate Kathy on receiving the OAM for her work in Education. She is off to Government house this week to receive the Award.
We were delighted to work with passionate teachers and leaders from all over Western Australia as a part of our National Tour professional development sessions this week! Thank you to the Catholic Education Office of WA for gracious hosting us this week. For more information on our upcoming National Tour dates and sessions across the country, please give us a ring on (03) 9596 9056.
Don't miss Kathy's keynote address at the upcoming 2014 Victorian Early Years Foundation Conference on Saturday, March 22 at the Hilton on the Park in Melbourne! For more information or to register, please visit www.earlyyearsfoundations.org.au or ring (03) 9309 1181. Registrations close on Friday, March 7.
Our first newsletter of 2014 is now available to download! Early Life Foundations publishes 4 free newsletters each year. The newsletter is available electronically and in hard copy; it can be downloaded by all subscribers at no cost. The newsletter is for professionals and parents across early childhood and the primary school years and provides a variety of different topics, issues and handy hints.
Want to come and mix with other parents and bring the children? Our new purpose designed Demonstration Unit with lots of play space for children and coffee and conversation with our team of parenting experts will be open 2 Mondays each term this year. Numbers will be limited to ensure quality of play for children and quality of discussion and chatting between parents and our team. Booking in online through our Bookings Page, or give us a ring for more details. Our next Coffee, Play & Chat Morning will be held on Monday, February 17.
Attention: Parents, Melbourne - Join us for our upcoming Monday Night Parent Presentation with our Directors, Kathy Walker & Shona Bass! "It's All About Personality: Making a Goodness of Fit Between the Parent & the Child" This session presents an understanding about how the personality of your child and your own personality impacts on family life. It considers how to avoid the personality clash and how to build healthy and productive relationships in families by understanding in greater depth how personality impacts on relationships, behaviours and dynamics between siblings and family members. Practical strategies to work with personalities are provided. When: Monday, February 24, Time: 7:00pm - 8:30pm, Venue: Early Life Foundations Centre, Cost: $10/person, Bookings: On our Bookings Page, Questions: (03) 9596 9056
Don't miss our upcoming Early Childhood Educators professional development session in Melbourne! Join us on February 14 for "Preparing for the NQF: Reclaiming Your Own Integrity, Professionalism & Body of Knowledge." This session gets back to the basics of what early childhood professionals have known and studied or experienced for many years! It debunks the myths that you have to have hundreds of learning stories or portfolios, or that you have can’t ever identify a need for a child. It supports educators in reclaiming your own philosophy and using the framework as a guide, audit and support. It identifies and highlights that ultimately it’s about interactions, scaffolding and knowing children. It emphasises using language in documentation that is specific and knowledgeable about children, not just copying and pasting terms and outcomes. Register now through our Bookings Page, or give us a ring for more details.
Join Early Life Foundations Directors Kathy Walker & Shona Bass for our upcoming National Tour professional development sessions in Adelaide! Book in now through our Bookings Page or give us a ring for more details!
Download our latest podcast! "Preparation for Starting School – Tips for Your Child and The Whole Family" Starting school in the Foundation year is exciting, sometimes overwhelming and emotional (particularly for parents!), and the next major milestone in a child's learning and life. The preparation is not only for your child but for the whole family, and not only for the first few days but for the next 13 years of school, and can make a real difference for a child's future. So it's not just about the school uniform, bag and getting to school on time, although those things are important. It's actually about a whole lot more! Download this podcast from our online shop and gain some tips, ideas and support as you prepare to send your child to school and to help them into their future lives.
Join us for our Tuesday Night Parent Workshop Series! These 3 sessions are conducted by parenting experts and authors Kathy Walker and Shona Bass. Participants commit to attend all 3 sessions which build upon and link to each other so that parents are able to discuss, ask questions, share with each other and be provided with ideas and practical strategies. The sessions provide parents with the opportunity to practice at home and to bring back a reflection each week about how things are going – what worked and what didn’t go so well! The sessions are tailored towards individual needs of the participants and provide theory and practice that underpins effective parenting. Our Tuesday Parent Workshop series are held at the Early Life Foundations Centre on the following Tuesday’s from 7:00pm – 9:00pm: February 25, March 4 & 11. For more information or to book in, please download our 2014 Parent brochure from our Bookings Page or give us a ring at (03) 9596 9056.
Congratulations to our Founding Director, Kathy Walker on the announcement of her Medal of the Order of Australia! Kathy was awarded for her outstanding achievement and service in early childhood education in the Australia Day honours announced earlier this week.
Join Early Life Foundations Directors Kathy Walker & Shona Bass for our upcoming National Tour professional development sessions in Sydney! Venue to be announced soon. Please call us for more details. Cost for each session - $160 + GST, including morning/afternoon tea. Book in now through our Bookings Page! Please download the attached brochure below for more details.
ATTENTION: Adelaide! Don't miss this INCREDIBLE opportunity to attend an Early Life Foundations & Zart Art Play Based Learning Professional Development session! Due to the popularity of this session in Victoria, this session will be running in Adelaide on Saturday, March 29 for the first time! "Bringing Art Experiences into the Learning Environment" with Kathy Walker and Tania Di Berardino. This practical workshop gives new ideas on increasing your own skills on how to use art, craft, natural materials and resources to extend and enrich children’s open-ended play, creativity, exploration of and use of their imagination through the use of art, clay, wire, paints and materials. This session will model the range of rich provocations and uses of materials to use in a range of open-ended ways to provoke thinking, imagination, creativity, skill development, language and other areas of learning and development. For more information or to book in, please give us a ring or check our Bookings page early next week. *Limited to 25 participants, so please book in early!
Congratulations to our Founding Director, Kathy Walker, on her recent Australian of the Year nomination!
"It is an imperative that for all those educating children, knowledge in the field of neuroscience is a priority.
Understanding the brain and how children think, perceive, process and recognising through deep knowledge of how the brain works that children are not the same as adults, means that only then can we truly personalised learning and meet the needs of each individual. Recognising culture and community is an imperative also, but you can't have one without the other." - Kathy Walker, Early Life Foundations Founding Director
As we travel across Australia visiting schools in all areas and demographics, we witness some excellent teaching and teachers. We also witness great diversity and a wide range of standards of teaching across all demographics, including the lack of continuity of relationships and practices, particularly in poor and indigenous communities, where teachers leave, where different programs are introduced almost every year, and where no consistent approach is used or embraced by local communities. By far, the universities producing future teachers need to drastically improve what they are doing to improve the rigour of teaching for the future. In this current debate, we also need to ensure we don't decline into the simplistic notion that higher standards of teaching simply means locking children all into rows and bore them all to death and test more. We can have rigour and explicit teaching and engage them in relevant learning at the same time. It requires creative and intelligent teaching and teachers drawing upon evidence that tells us not only what to teach but how to teach. In addition, leaders in school actually need to know how to lead pedagogy and to be given time to do so.
If we were to judge and assess readiness for school only upon academic scores at the end of 13 years of schooling, then we probably wouldn't bother much in empowering parents and informing them to make assessments about their own children in a range of ways about quality of life and the journey throughout school. School is not just about the academic. School is about life, patterns of relationships, interactions, development of identity and school's despite their best intentions, have increasing demands and standards. Readiness is a complex range of issues for young children, particularly children in Australia where we continue to have one of the youngest age entries into school of most places across the world. Schools continue to try to be more ready for children which is great. However, attempting to measure the emotional and social elements of what it means to do more than just "cope" with the demands of school are not easily packaged for pre-schoolers. Measuring children repeating a grade in their primary years and then attempting to use that same measure and circumstance onto readiness of preschool children is like comparing apples and oranges. At Early Life Foundations, luckily we don't have to enter into the political or economic pressures that Government face or place at the current time upon the arguments or trends about readiness. We will always continue to uphold a family and child's right to think carefully about when is the best time for each individual child and family to start their school journey. Some will be ready and some won't be for a range of reasons which need to be respected. Frightening families with bits and pieces of obsolete studies based upon primary aged children repeating grades in primary school is not helpful.