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.

Dr Helen May, Emeritus Professor of Education, University of Otago

Dr Helen May

Helen May began her career in education as an early years teacher; later working in childcare, then teacher education. In the 1990s Helen worked with Margaret Carr, in the development of Te Whariki, the New Zealand national early childhood curriculum.

First published in 1996, Te Whāriki: He whāriki mātauranga mō ngā mokopuna o Aotearoa Early Childhood Curriculum provided a internationally celebrated framework which shaped a distinct approach to early learning in Aotearoa or New Zealand.

Unique in its bicultural framing, Te Whāriki expresses a vision that all children grow up in New Zealand as competent and confident learners, strong in their identity, language and culture. It emphasises New Zealand's bicultural foundation, its multicultural present and a shared future. It encourages all children to learn in their own ways, supported by adults who know them well and have their best interests at heart. This vision is expressed in different ways as early learning services work with parents, whānau and communities to design and implement a programme of learning and development that reflects local priorities and supports each child’s personalised learning pathway. The underpinning concept of the whāriki (mat) enables and supports this diversity.

In 1995 Helen was appointed to the first Professorial Chair in early childhood education in New Zealand, at Victoria University Wellington and in 2005 shifted to the University of Otago  as  the foundation Dean of the College of Education.

Helen has been involved in advocacy work and advisory roles regarding a range of policy initiatives in both New Zealand and international settings. Her research has focused on early childhood policy, history and curriculum and spoken and published widely both within New Zealand and overseas.

Jay Laga'aia

Family Day Care Australia 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.

We look forward to welcoming Jay to the FDCA 2021 National Conference.

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

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