Drawing on over 125 years of experience, we explore and discuss meaningful topics in early childhood education with some of the sector's most experienced educators and subject matter experts. With each short episode, our aim is to provoke minds and inspire excellence in early childhood education.


Listen to Dr Criss Jones Diaz talk about why it is essential to support children to maintain their home language. What are the benefits and how do we provide language rich environments for children who speak languages other than English?

What are the contemporary pedagogy issues facing early childhood educators today? Spend time with Sally Beesley as she shares an example of practice, reflecting on gender curiosity and authentic partnerships.

What does a positive team culture look and feel like? Join KU Croydon Director Amanda Alderman as she shares her tips and strategies on how, as the leader in the space, she began the journey towards building a positive team culture.

Sally Beesley talks about her lived experience as a person living with a physical disability. She gives powerful insights into hidden messages behind our words and actions and what they can mean for the children and families in our services.

Documenting differently starts with thinking differently. Hear how Nicole uses the simplicity of the words ‘see, think and wonder’ to write a story that ends with more questions than answers, focusses on what she really sees, and consequently elevates parent engagement.

In this episode, Jan Faulkner and Fiona Harris explore questions that encourage stories of practice – stories that inspire us to engage in critical reflection.

Listen to Fran and Fiona discuss how to support children’s emerging identities as active citizens in their neighbourhoods and communities. Reflect on how, in your service, you match ideals for community connections to everyday practice.

In this episode, Occupational Therapist Caitlin Duckworth talks about sensory processing and its impact on children’s play. She provides some practical tips on how to spot red flags and support children’s sensory awareness.

What is the greatest gift a leader can offer the team? Dedicated time. Join Lisa Coghlan, an Education and Quality Manager with KU, as she shares her surprises and offers her tips for introducing individual weekly ‘catch-ups’ with her team.

A world that cares for people must also care for the planet while ensuring a fair share for all, including current and future generations of children. Educators have a duty of care to support children’s right to live within a well world. Join KU Sustainability Manager Deb Watson and KU West Pymble Preschool Director Katrina Hendry as they explore Becoming Eco Smart Together, a journey of continual growth for the early childhood community that steps towards a more sustainable world.

In this episode Lynn Farrell and Fran Bastion discuss agency from a children’s rights perspective. They also explore what an infant and toddler program might look and feel like when our youngest children are afforded agency.

Laure Hislop talks with Megan Dodds, KU Corrimal East Director, about how she has maintained her sustained commitment to the teachings of Circle of Security. She talks about her enthusiasm for professional learning and how she continues to look at improved ways to 'be with' children. Hear how she mentors her team as they work through a 'Curriculum of Feelings'.

In this episode we explore possibilities for the young child’s future world, while encouraging work towards a world that sustains all life – recognising that the decisions we make today, impacts future generations of all living species. We recognise Deb Watson, KU Sustainability Program Manager, and KU services that contributed their stories to the development of ‘Because We Care - Education for Sustainability in Action’ which supports the Becoming Eco Smart Together program.

“A career highlight,” says Susan James.
This episode invites listeners to hear about the project ‘Inside Mary Elizabeth’s House’ from the teachers’ perspective. Susan James and Bei Bei Liu offer some critical insights into the evolution of the project, and interrogate some key practices that enabled collaborative thinking and theorising and the co-construction of inquiry based curriculum.

Vickie Ren provides insights into what a speech pathologist does and explores how language develops in young children. She also gives some tips for early childhood educators on what to look out for as children’s language develops.

This episode is an invitation to share a story of an unexpected, co-created project and investigation. Inside Mary Elizabeth’s House will offer listeners an insight into the pursuit of big ideas undertaken by children with educators – a story of co-constructed curriculum at its best.

Why are routines and rituals important in our early childhood programs? Jan Faulkner and Laure Hislop unpack this question and discuss the special significance they have to children’s wellbeing, relationships and sense of belonging.

We are joined by Associate Professor Kylie Smith to explore the topic of gender and play. Kylie shares insight into how young children develop their understanding of gender and the important role early educators have in noticing and challenging gender stereotypes and bias.

Listen to Dr Gai Lindsay’s inspirational reflections on the importance of the arts in the lives of young children. Hear her talk about why children have the right to an early childhood education that is rich in the joy of art.

In the final episode of this series, Ann Pelo discusses Sam’s Story using the Thinking Lens to guide educators to dive deeply into Sam’s identity. Amal Nsar and Caitlin Burns from The Joey Club Sydney will reflect upon the Thinking Lens as a protocol for writing and as a generative tool for rich and robust professional conversations.

Ann Pelo illuminates the world of the toddler in the story she shares of time spent with Sam at The Joey Club Sydney, capturing incidental moments that tell rich stories of identity, community connection, thinking and learning. Amal Nasr, Director of The Joey Club, and Caitlin Burns, Early Childhood Teacher working with the infant and toddlers, will then discuss Sam’s story, the immediacy and intimacy of the connection between Sam and Ann and the potent picture she crafted in telling of Sam’s Story – a story that matters.

Ann Pelo revisits Lily’s Story using the thinking lens as a protocol to guide us to reflect and document purposefully with care and insight. Fran Bastion and Kelly Slip, Director of KU Isobel Pulsford Preschool, consider together the thinking lens as a protocol or discipline that enriches the opportunity for educators to write with care and reverence the stories that matter.

Ann Pelo extends an invitation to educators to be present and attuned to the children in our care. She offers a beautifully crafted narrative of Lily in companionship with Ann – a moment of connection and synchronicity. Her offering again asks the question, ‘Why is this a story worth telling?’. Fran Bastion and Kelly Slip, Director of KU Isobel Pulsford Preschool, discuss the thoughtful nuances in the life of the story, delighting in seeing Lily through Ann’s eyes.

Ann Pelo revisits the tenets of the story ‘Kids and Cars’ and offers the Thinking Lens as a protocol for thinking, writing and reflection. Fran Bastion is again joined by Kelly Slip, Director of KU Isobel Pulsford Preschool, and they continue their conversation about pedagogical documentation and discuss using protocols such as the Thinking Lens to reframe the documentation process.

In the first episode of this series, renowned thinker and author Ann Pelo shares a story ‘Kids and Cars’ – a story of play and connection at KU Isobel Pulsford Preschool. Joining her attentions to the children’s attention she poses the question, ‘Why is this a story worth telling?’ Fran Bastion and Kelly Slip, Director of KU Isobel Pulsford Preschool, discuss Ann’s narration and the implications for reflective practice and meaningful documentation.

Fran Bastion and Laure Hislop share their memories and thoughtful reflections on children’s literature as well as inspirational tips for choosing and sharing books in early childhood programs.

KU Chatswood Community Preschool undertook practitioner research to enhance the orientation process. Director Kathy Hatcher shares with us their highly successful strategy, which is based on gratitude and holds relevance for many, including this culturally and linguistically diverse community.

Dr Robyn Dolby, a psychologist with 40 years’ experience in infant mental health, discusses the importance of attachment to children’s learning and connections and gives some tips for how early childhood educators can apply this theory to practice.

Deb Watson’s childhood experiences in nature sparked a lifelong passion for the environment. She considers why connecting young children to the natural world continues to matter, and offers inspiration on incorporating it sustainably within an early childhood education program.

Why is critical reflection important? Marg McLeish and Jan Faulkner discuss what it means to our practice as early childhood educators, and share some tips to get started.

In our first episode of Provoking Minds - An Early Childhood Podcast, we chat with Lynn Farrell about Infant-Toddler Relationships and Wellbeing, reflecting on her professional growth and learning, research and child rights.