Keynote Speakers

Maggie Dent

One of Australia's favourite parenting authors and educators and "Queen of Common Sense".

Maggie, who has become one of Australia's favourite parenting authors and educators, with a particular interest in the early years and resilience, will present a keynote address and two workshops at the conference.

Maggie’s experience includes almost two decades as a secondary teacher before moving into counselling, palliative care and suicide prevention. Maggie is an advocate for the healthy, commonsense raising of children in order to strengthen families and communities, and is a passionate, positive voice for children of all ages.

Now an in-demand writer and speaker, Maggie is host of the ABC podcast, Parental As Anything. She is also a regular contributor to the Essential Kids website, can often be heard on commercial and ABC radio around the country and regularly seen lending her expertise to a range of national TV programs. Maggie is the author of seven major books, several e-books and is a prolific creator of resources for parents, adolescents, teachers, early childhood educators and others who are interested in quietly improving their lives.

She is also the proud mother of four sons, and an enthusiastic and grateful grandmother.

Professor Linda Harrison

Professorial Research Fellow in Early Childhood, Macquarie University, Sydney and Adjunct Professor of Early Childhood Education, Charles Sturt University, NSW

Linda is one of Australia’s best known early childhood researchers, whose work includes the 2021 Update of Belonging, Being and Becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia (EYLF) and My Time Our Place: Framework for School-age Care (MTOP). Linda’s record includes the initial development of the EYLF, the design of the child care components of Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, and many collaborative research projects with government departments and early childhood education and care organisations, including with Family Day Care Australia. Linda will present a keynote address and is a co-presenter in two workshops.

Linda has a special connection with family day care, having worked as a Child Development Officer (CDO) for four years, where she learned to value the individuality of family day care educators, the diverse strengths they bring to their work with children and their support for families, and the close, lasting relationships they form with families and children.

Much of Linda’s research and writing focuses on very young children’s experiences in early education and care settings. She has a particular interest in educator-child interactions and how supportive relationships encourage and promote a sense of belonging. She provides insights and advice on ways to support young children during difficult times in her recent publication, Transitions in children’s everyday lives, an Early Childhood Australia booklet for educators and families.

Jay Laga'aia

FDCA is very excited to announce that Jay Laga'aia will be returning to the FDCA National Conference after a show stealing performance as our Master of Ceremonies at the FDCA 2018 National Conference Gala Dinner.

Best of all, not only will Jay be joining us as our Gala Dinner Master of Ceremonies, but Jay will also be featuring as a keynote speaker to share stories from his life and career.

Jay is a proud father of eight, a much-loved Play School presenter, children’s entertainer, accomplished actor and has also performed his original music with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, WA Symphony Orchestra and SA Symphony Orchestra.

Leanne McLean - Commissioner for Children and Young People, Tasmania

Leanne McLean - , Tasmania Commissioner for Children and Young People

We are pleased to be welcoming Leanne McLean, Commissioner for Children and Young People, Tasmania, as a speaker at the FDCA 2022 National Conference

Leanne is a Tasmanian from the deep south of the state. She was appointed Tasmania’s Commissioner for Children and Young People in November 2018. Her role is to promote the rights and wellbeing of Tasmanian children and young people - including ensuring that their rights are considered and respected by adults when making decisions that may affect children.

Leanne has a wealth of experience as a leader in social policy development, including working at the coal face with young people and in senior public service and government advisory roles. As Commissioner, her work to date includes instigating the Tasmanian Government’s forthcoming strategy to improve the wellbeing of Tasmania’s children and young people, establishing mechanisms for children and young people to have a say in matters that are impacting on them, working with young Tasmanians across the state to influence the development, implementation and communication of policies which affect them, and empowering them to shape their own future.

Leanne is passionate about providing a voice for children and young people, believes strongly in the transformative power of education and early intervention, and the value of every young person in shaping the future of Tasmania.

*Images in banner courtesy of Alastair Bett (1 and 3) and Stuart Gibson (2).

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