Hot Topics in Inclusion Webinar Series - Term 2 2020

KU's Preschool Inclusion Team have put together a series of exciting webinars for educators from preschools supported by the KU Sector Capacity Building Program. We are aware of the challenges for preschools as a result of COVID-19 and envisage that access to high quality free inclusion-related professional learning will allow opportunities for educators to continue developing their skills and knowledge at this time in an online format.

These professional development activities can be used towards teacher identified hours with NESA. Teachers will need to record this activity in their NESA online account. Related professional teaching standards are listed for each webinar.

Live Webinar: I am worried about a child’s development. What next?


Date: Tuesday 12 May 2020
Time: 1:00pm - 2:00pm
Presenters: Linda Margan (KU’s Sector Capacity Building Program) and Kumari Taylor (Lifestart’s NDIS Early Childhood Early Intervention Program)
Related NESA Professional Teaching Standards/Focusses: 1.5, 1.6, 4.1, 4.3

In this webinar, Linda will examine what educators need to think about if they have concerns about the development of a child in their preschool. She will discuss developmental documentation and screening tools, relationships with parents and families and referral pathways to support, assessment and intervention.

Kumari will be speaking to us about the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) Approach. As the primary pathway into the NDIS for children aged 0-6 years, an understanding of this program is central to preschool’s ability to be able to support families as they start their early intervention journey.

Linda is a Preschool Inclusion Consultant with KU’s Sector Capacity Building Program and a Director at a community-based preschool. She has previously worked in the federally funded Inclusion Support Program and has worked as an Early Childhood Teacher for many years. Her interests lie in supporting educators build their capacity in the area of inclusive practice, child and family relationships and pedagogy.

Kumari is a Community Capacity Building Lead at Lifestart and a Social Worker by professional background. Up until recently, Kumari worked as an ECEI Coordinator since Lifestart became the Partner in the Community with the NDIS in July 2018. Kumari has previously worked for several organisations in the disability sector, across a variety of roles supporting children and families.

Live Webinar: More than Belonging: Working Together to Enhance Being and Becoming


Date: Monday 18 May 2020
Time: 1:00pm - 2:00pm
Presenter: Kerry Staples
Related NESA Professional Teaching Standards/Focusses: 1.5, 1.6, 3.7, 4.1, 5.1, 5.5, 7.3, 7.4

Generally, educators have positive relationships with families and other professionals supporting a child’s learning. However, sometimes there can be underlying frustrations that disrupt the process and reduce the effectiveness of the partnership.

This webinar will explore how you might enhance collaboration by:

  • Fostering mutual relationships with families and other professionals;
  • Identifying “what matters”;
  • Using a common language and visible documentation;
  • Developing your relational expertise; and
  • Using 'Working Together' resources.

Kerry Staples has managed both inclusive ECEC settings and specialist intervention services prior to working as an academic at Western Sydney University. Her research and teaching focus is on enhancing inclusion of children with disabilities through reciprocal and collaborative relationships, family-centred practices and the role of early childhood educators as community leaders.

Live Webinars: Playspaces®: How to promote a secure base culture within your preschool (Part 1) and Playspaces® including all children in preschool life (Part 2)


Date: Monday 25 May 2020
Time: 11:00am - 1:00pm
Presenters: Dr Robyn Dolby and Gianna Black
Related NESA Professional Teaching Standards/Focusses: 1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.5, 3.6, 4.1-4.5, 7.3

Part 1: Playspaces®: How to promote a secure base culture within your preschool

Playspace® Learning shows how to gain attachment influence within a preschool community that is shared between parents and educators and felt by all children.

In this webinar presented by Dr Robyn Dolby, educators will learn:

  1. What a secure base is and how it links to children’s learning.
  2. What a Playspace® is.
  3. How to become a secure base.
  4. How to help each other to be a secure base.

Through videoclips, educators will see what Playspaces look like and how, using Playspaces, educators help specific children (such as those with autism spectrum disorder or anxiety) to ease into connection and play at their own pace and experience inclusion and find companionship with their peers.

Please note that there will be a 15 minute break at the end of the Part 1 webinar. Part 2 will start at 12:15pm with Gianna Black’s presentation.

Dr Robyn Dolby is a psychologist and co-founder of Secure Beginnings. She has worked in the field of infant mental health for forty years. Her interest is in the emotional communications of infants and children and how these communications are understood by parents and educators. She introduces educators in early childhood settings to the way being still gives them room to really see themselves and the children and to be curious about what is happening in the moment. Robyn has written the booklets, “The Circle of Security: Roadmap to Building Supportive Relationships”; “About Bullying”; “Promoting Positive Behaviour”; and “Secure Transitions: Supporting Children to Feel Secure, Confident and Included”, published by Early Childhood Australia.

Part 2: Playspaces® including all children in preschool life

Gianna will share practical examples of implementing Playspace® Learning Program in the preschool setting and how the connections and relationships with all children and families are supported. This will be a great opportunity to hear the first hand experiences shared by the preschool Director from their journey of implementing Playspace® approach.

Gianna has worked for KU Children’s Services as a Director and Early Childhood Teacher over the last 34 years. Gianna has undertaken training in Circle of Security Parenting and in the Playspace® Learning Program which have given her a greater depth of understanding and reflective insight into the significance of supporting and nurturing each child’s social and emotional wellbeing, actively seeking the ‘everyday’ moments within the program where these practices can be supported. Gianna’s many professional learning opportunities have driven her to develop and implement innovative relationship-based practices within the educational program at the services she has worked in.

Live Webinar: What does research tell us about inclusion in early childhood?


Date: Tuesday 2 June 2020
Time: 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Presenter: Dr Tim Moore
Related NESA Professional Teaching Standards/Focusses: 1.1, 1.2, 1.5, 1.6, 3.1, 4.1, 4.4, 7.3, 7.4

This webinar will explore the nature and rationale for the inclusion of children with developmental disabilities in early childhood services, and how participation in early childhood education programs functions as a form of early childhood intervention. It will also include an update on research and practice evidence, with a discussion of principles of universal design and tiered response systems.

The advent of the NDIS has had a major impact on how funding for inclusion is provided, and on the interface between early childhood services and early childhood intervention services. The resulting challenges will be discussed, with a particular focus on the extent to which these services from a coherent system are able to meet the needs of all children.

The webinar will conclude with some key implications for early childhood education programs.

A child psychologist by training, Dr Tim Moore is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Community Child Health (CCCH) at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Melbourne. He heads a small team with responsibility for monitoring, reviewing and synthesising research literature on a wide range of topics relating to child development, family functioning and service systems. He has been the principal writer on numerous Centre for Community Child Health reviews, reports and policy briefs, many of which have had a significant impact on policy and practice, nationally and internationally. Prior to joining CCCH, Tim worked as an educational and developmental psychologist in a variety of settings, including early childhood intervention services for young children with developmental disabilities and their families. He has taken a leading role nationally in the development of policy and training in the early childhood intervention field.

Live Webinar: Positive Approaches to Supporting Young Children with Additional Needs and Challenging Behaviour (Part 1 and Part 2)


Dates: Part 1 Wednesday 10 June 2020, Part 2 Wednesday 17 June 2020 (participants need to attend both sessions)
Time: 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Presenter: Marina Bailey
Related NESA Professional Teaching Standards/Focusses: 1.5, 1.6, 3.3, 3.5, 4.1, 4.3, 4.4, 5.4

This webinar will outline the principles of positive behaviour support, a tiered approach to prevention and intervention within an early childhood context and strategies to determine the function or purpose of a challenging behaviour.

Participants will walk away with a framework to assist in better understanding behaviour, how different vulnerabilities impact on emotional regulation and how to use that information when choosing how best to respond.

The workshop will also provide practical strategies aimed at increasing the participation of children with additional needs in the daily program with a focus on improving turn taking, cognitive flexibility, emotional regulation and social engagement.

Marina Bailey has been working in the field of disability for over 30 years as a psychologist, trainer and clinical consultant. Marina works across a variety of settings and age ranges, and specialises in young children with complex disorders. She has a strong interest in the areas of Social Thinking®, positive behaviour support and family well-being and resilience. Marina has presented at a number of conferences and worked both nationally and internationally in the areas of autism spectrum disorders and complex disability.

Live Webinar: Reframing our understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorder


Date: Monday 22 June 2020
Time: 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Presenter: Dr Melanie Heyworth
Related NESA Professional Teaching Standards/Focusses: 1.5, 1.6, 3.3, 3.5, 4.1, 5.1, 5.4

This webinar will offer an Autistic person’s lived experiences of Autism, and of parenting and teaching Autistic children.

Key topics include: thinking beyond a linear spectrum, reassessing functioning labels, what a strengths-based, interest- and child-led, individualised and ultimately respectful approach looks like, and how as teachers we support, not change, our Autistic children.

Mel is an Autistic mother of three Autistic children, who has postgraduate qualifications in autism and is a passionate advocate for creating a better world for herself, her children, and the Autistic community. Mel has given feedback to numerous governmental inquiries and consultations and provided testimony at Parliamentary Inquiries on behalf of the Autistic community. She sits on several advisory committees to guide respectful, inclusive best practice, and is on the Board of Autistic Self-Advocacy Network Australia and New Zealand.

The cornerstone of Mel’s advocacy vision is the not-for-profit organisation, Reframing Autism, which she originally founded. Reframing Autism aims to create a world in which the Autistic community is supported by families and allies to achieve genuine acceptance, inclusion, and active citizenship, and in which Autistic culture and identity are celebrated and nurtured.

Mel has a deep commitment to bringing parents of Autistic children to a more accepting, optimistic and hopeful parenting perspective, and firmly believes that social change can only occur when Autistic individuals are supported to explore and celebrate their authentic identities.

Live Webinar: Understanding Anxiety


Date: Wednesday 1 July 2020
Time: 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Presenter: Kasha Bedford
Related NESA Professional Teaching Standards/Focusses: 1.5, 1.6, 3.3, 3.5, 4.1, 4.3, 4.4

Kasha will be speaking to us on the topic of anxiety in young children, particularly those with disabilities, and the role that educators can play in supporting children through these complex challenges.

Kasha has over 25 years' experience providing psychology services in the public and private domains. She is passionate and highly experienced in promoting growth and independence in children, adolescents and adults and in particular those with additional needs. She is competent in running a range of evidenced based programs including Triple P (Standard, Stepping Stones and Enhanced), Westmead Feelings programs, cognitive behaviour therapy groups, Cool Kids Anxiety, sleep, and toilet training programs. She is an accredited Griffiths III provider for developmental assessments. She is competent and experienced in developing and implementing behaviour support plans for clients with complex challenging behaviours. She has presented to parents and other professionals on anxiety in the additional needs population.

Please note: In the event of a large number of registrations, a limit on the number of participants per preschool may be considered.

The Sector Capacity Building Program is funded by the NSW Government Department of Education.