The FDCA 2022 National Conference will provide delegates with the opportunity to select from a wide variety of workshops to choose from. These interactive workshop sessions will cove a range of different topics that will appeal to all those within the family day care and early childhood education and care sector.

To view a summary of the workshops, please scroll down or click on the links below.



Real Kids in an Unreal World: Building Resilience and Self-esteem in Today’s Children (10 Resilience Building Blocks)

Maggie Dent (workshop also available on Saturday)

Are you worried, confused or concerned about parenting in today’s chaotic world? Children need to have certain basic experiences to build the competencies that will help them manage life – the good, the bad and the ugly. Maggie has developed a common-sense, practical model of 10 building blocks that will reassure parents that what we have always known to be important in the early years of a child’s life is still important. This seminar will offer you practical, common-sense ideas and strategies to make small changes in your home, which will make a big difference to your children’s cognitive, physical, psychological, emotional and social health later in life.

Educational leadership in family day care

Perry Campbell, Senior Manager, Priority Support, National Projects, ACECQA

Being an effective family day care educational leader relies on adopting multiple strategies that bring together educators, and those who lead and work with them, to commit to improving the quality of educational programs and practices. The role in family day care is unique, and presents many challenges and opportunities.

This workshop will explore the opportunities educational leadership in family day care offers.

Educational leaders are not the only drivers of quality improvement, but quality improvement needs champions who inspire and lead practice and have the courage to imagine what is possible, and family day care educational leaders are those champions.

Naturally kids play

Tracy Blaszkow - Manager of Playground Advisory Service, Kidsafe Western Australia

Natural Playgrounds offer financial benefits, as well. They're less expensive than equipment, they aren't replaced when safety regulations change, they can lower playground injuries, they offer higher play value at lower cost, and they're part of the greening movement that reduces costly environmental impacts while improving wildlife habitats and beautifying their surroundings. And --- they're perfect outdoor classrooms!

Let’s talk about what Natural Play can do to benefit all children and see the possibilities that natural play can open up for you in your playground and most importantly create memorable playspaces for your children.

Observe, Reflect, Improve Children's Learning (ORICL): A new tool for infant-toddler educators to enrich children's learning

Dr Sheena Elwick, Professor Linda Harrison, Laura McFarland, Sandie Wong, Kate Williams and Magdalena Janus - Charles Sturt University, Macquarie University, Queensland University of Technology and McMaster University (Canada)

Quality infant-toddler pedagogy and practice are significant challenges for Australia’s early childhood education (ECE) sector. Even though the first 1000 days of life are critical for children’s learning, development and wellbeing, educators report inadequate training on the developmental and pedagogical needs of children aged birth-two years; and limited access to professional development on provision of quality experiences for this age group.

In this interactive workshop, we discuss and share the contents of the Observe, Reflect and Improve Children’s Learning (ORICL) tool: a tool that was designed with a panel of 20 ECE experts from across Australia and evaluated with educators in family day care and long day care services.

7 keys to healthy, assertive conversations in your personal and professional life

Robyn Henderson - General Manager, Networking to Win

In this interactive informative session, author and international business educator, Robyn Henderson will share:

  • How to create a calming effect in hostile situations with directors, parents, educators and children.
  • Understanding soft/hard communication – have your point of view heard without reaction.
  • Simple methods to enhance rapport, credibility, and positive relationships both at work and home.
  • The importance and benefits of respecting all cultures without judgement.
  • How to bring healthy boundaries and behaviour codes into your daily habits.
  • The importance of listening to learn not waiting to respond.
  • The benefits of avoiding rushing and being present in conversations.

Minds Together: Increasing the capacity and confidence of educators to support the mental health and wellbeing of children

Dr Sally Fitzpatrick - Everymind, Program Manager

Dr Caitlin Mitchell - Everymind, Research Officer

This workshop explores programs developed by Everymind which use technology to support wellbeing for those working in the family day care industry.

Minds Together for family day care educators is an eight-week online education program which aims to increase the capacity and confidence of educators to support the mental health and wellbeing of children. Informed by Australian family day care educators and early childhood education experts, Minds Together outlines the knowledge, skills and practices family day care educators need to support children’s wellbeing and provide early intervention when needed. The program also encourages educators to reflect on their own mental health and wellbeing.

In this workshop we will present the results from the Minds Together efficacy trial to demonstrate the benefit of the program in enhancing educators’ self-efficacy and confidence to better support the mental health and wellbeing of children in their care.

Exploring legal risks and implications in family day care

Myles Bryant and Connor Molloy, Clyde & Co

This workshop will cover the myriad of legal risks associated with operating a Family Day Care Scheme or conducting your business as a Family Day Care Educator. Primarily, the workshop will address the importance of setting strong foundations and defining relationships between service providers, educators and parents. We will look at how to create an ‘iron-clad’ educator agreement and to minimise the risks associated with the independent contractor model.

Country, community and educators: A framework used to connect educators to Country and community through Indigenous languages

Dr Francis Bobongie-Harris and Dr Grace O'Brien - Lecturers in Early Childhood and Inclusive Education, Queensland University of Technology

Country and community are interconnected. How do educators become part of this connection to embed First Nations Knowledge and perspectives into their teaching content and practice? This workshop will share the experiences of early learning educators that have explored personal and professional engagement with the Traditional Owners and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities of a regional town in Central Queensland.  

Using Indigenous research methodologies: deep listening, yarning and storytelling, we explore research that is based on a framework that represents a model of engagement between Country, community, and educators. The reflections of early learning educators were an important part of the process as they engaged with Traditional Owners and a ‘critical friend’ to connect with Country and community.

Start small, think big... Success in family day care is a continuous journey

Georgina Zadelj - Family Day Care Educator, Country Kids Child Care

What is success to you? Success is something that you must define for yourself, and no one can do it for you.

2020 saw a year of uncertainty and unforeseen challenges, educators needed assurance of stability in their business and within the sector. Many were already complacent, struggled to adapt to industry change, market trends or unforeseen influences in the world around them.

This presentation will motivate and encourage educators to think outside the box, to visualize future success and encourage them to think big to expand and prosper, remain viable and to be sustainable.

An audit of the family day care health environment

Dr Ruth Wallace - Lecturer in the School of Medical and Health Sciences, Edith Cowan University

This workshop presents research currently underway at Edith Cowan University (ECU), which aims to audit the health environment at family day care (FDC). The three research strategies include observations of the health environment at FDC, an audit of Family Day Care Educators personal health and, interviews with FDC Coordinators. Workshop participants will be engaged in activities to obtain their input into a) the acceptability of the proposed data collection methods and participant recruitment strategies and b) moving forward, the need for FDC specific resources to support health and wellbeing. This feedback will ensure such strategies are co-designed and appropriate for the FDC community.


Real Kids in an Unreal World: Building Resilience and Self-esteem in Today’s Children (10 Resilience Building Blocks)

Magge Dent (workshop also available on Friday)

Are you worried, confused or concerned about parenting in today’s chaotic world? Children need to have certain basic experiences to build the competencies that will help them manage life – the good, the bad and the ugly. Maggie has developed a common-sense, practical model of 10 building blocks that will reassure parents that what we have always known to be important in the early years of a child’s life is still important. This seminar will offer you practical, common-sense ideas and strategies to make small changes in your home, which will make a big difference to your children’s cognitive, physical, psychological, emotional and social health later in life.

To make a mark, to have a voice

David Gilkes - Education Consultant

When children first pick up a pencil, a paint brush or a stick and make a mark, they are doing something very powerful. They are communicating. They are saying "I am here. I have a voice. I have something to say". How can we be sensitive to these creative, knowledge-building and meaning-making processes? How do we ensure that we are providing contexts to support these experiences? How do we ensure that children are listened to - that their theories, thinking and imaginations are heard? David will talk about mark-making as an act of citizenship and participation, as a process of building relationships and knowledge. His presentation will be accompanied by stories from practice, as well as a 'hands-on' session making marks and encountering materials.

Effective leadership in family day care: Is it about position or role?

Professor Susan Irvine - Head, School of Early Childhood and Inclusive Education, Queensland University of Technology

Effective leadership is a key determinant in the provision of high-quality education and care. Such leadership facilitates ongoing professional learning, continuous quality improvement and enables excellence in educational programs and practices. This presentation will share findings from a new Australian study exploring distributed leadership in family day care (FDC) funded by the Queensland Department of Education and undertaken in partnership with Family Day Care Australia, the Family Day Care Association Queensland, Wynnum Family Day Care and Early Childhood Australia (Queensland branch). We will consider who are seen to be leaders in FDC, educators’ views of effective leadership, and leadership strategies that enable educator autonomy while building a sense of belonging to a FDC team. Supporting critical reflection, our research partners will respond to the study findings and consider their implications for policy and practice.

Mastering the art of communication - Tackling praise, sharing and big emotions!

Sylvia Arotin - Guide & Grow Pty Ltd, CEO and Founder

Ever hear yourself saying “No, stop, don’t do that, be nice, Share!” Frustrated of not knowing  what to say or do and feel like you are just managing a classroom rather than engaging in meaningful experiences with the children because you just don’t have time or no one listens?

Or maybe you are struggling to deal with some more challenging behaviour trying so many different approaches with no positive outcomes?

This workshop will transform the way you teach and guide children’s behaviour through practical and effective communication skills that actually work! Understand more about where the behaviour stems from and learn how to tackle those stressful moments with ease and confidence. You will learn how to build children’s skill set so that they have the ability to self-regulate, communicate effectively, learn about healthy boundaries and build their self-confidence and motivation to be the best they can be.

Belonging, Being and Becoming Meets Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives

Sarah Peris - Cultural Officer, Kentish Lifelong Learning & Care Inc and Cecile Miel - Family Day Care Educator, Kentish Lifelong Learning & Care Inc

In this interactive, engaging workshop, Sarah and Cecile will share their experiences on how educators and services can embed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives within the FDC home and service

You will hear:

  • Why intentionally teaching about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Culture is important
  • Tokenistic mistakes to avoid in your embedded practices Journey
  • How to create simple learning experiences to enhance your practices
  • The difference between Acknowledgement of Country and Welcome to Country
  • Where to access complimentary professional learning and curriculum resources

Wellbeing for educators in family day care

Juanita Wilson - Be You Consultant, Early Childhood Australia

This session will focus on the mental health and wellbeing of educators. In this session, we will explore two of Be You’s latest releases, the Be You Wellbeing Plan for Educators and the Be You Planning for Wellbeing – Mine, Yours, Ours. Recognising and considering individual and service level strengths can support educators to achieve their best possible mental health; as well as form the foundation for finding ways of reducing and responding to stressors. Having a plan in place can support you to address the unique challenges you may experience as an educator, and consider strategies and resources you can use to protect your wellbeing in and outside of your role. As an extension, we will explore how this information could inform and guide your wellbeing policy.

Circle of Change revisited

Kerry Smith - Director, We Belong Family Day Care

The Circle of Change Revisited (COCR) is a method used to engage professionals from a variety of disciplines in critical reflection and conversation. The process consists of four steps and involves groups of professionals, deconstructing, confronting, theorizing and thinking otherwise about a phenomena or issue within practice. The model supports the implementation of critical reflection as part of every professionals core practice, thus supporting the facilitation of quality practices in working with children and families.

The workshop will provide the following:

  • An overview of how we use the Circle of Change Revisited method with our educators and coordinators to present to professional development training;
  • This interactive workshop will involve participants in learning about this way of reflection in their own work;
  • Activities that will invite participants to dig deep and reflect upon their understanding of children's behaviour from a brain development and trauma perspective.

The workshop will invite participants to critically reflect on their practices and notions of behaviour as we examine the idea of "How We Are With Children not What We Do With Children".

COVID-19 and health communication in family day care services

Professor Linda Harrison, Professor Manjula Waniganayake, Professor Sheila Degotardi, Associate Professor Fay Hadley - Macquarie and Sandie Wong - School of Education, Macquarie University

This workshop will focus on a recently funded national research study in which saw Macquarie University partner with FDCA along with a number of other key education and health organisations.

The workshop will present the findings from participants and encourage discussion and input in response to these findings.

Innovative approaches to risk management of outdoor environments

Chris Okunbor (Service Manager) and Team - Scheme Manager, Coastal Family Day Care

A team of educators, field coordinators and a Manager from Coastal Family Day Care, North West Tasmania, will co-present this session. These early childhood educators are passionate about the great outdoors, and challenging play environments for young children.

Participants will reflect on the risk assessments adults undertake in everyday outdoor environments, and how their own experiences and knowledge contributes to differing viewpoints about risk assessment for children. A number of challenging outdoor play situations will be presented and discussed. We’ll work together in small groups to design a “risky” outdoor activity for children, and plan how the hazards can be minimised, and duty of care maintained.

Kidsafe Tasmania and family day care educators work together

Jennifer Branch-Allen - CEO, Kidsafe Tasmania

During Jenny’s presentation you will see how by working proactively with individual family day carers, we ensured children were travelling in correctly fitted child seats while providing support and education for carers in a time when no-one else was available to help.

Peter Gillon, Kidsafe Tasmania’s Road Safety Manager will describe and show how to correct the main problems we found in child restraints during that period. These were simple mistakes in fitting a child restraint that can lead to injury or worse when a child is involved in a serious accident. Peter will give examples of family day carers he met who we helped during that time.

Building capacity for the inclusion of ASD children in family day care

Janice Francis - Children’s Services Manager – Family Day Care, Family Day Care Sydney Wide

A main barrier to inclusion for children with Autism SpectrumDisorder (ASD) into family day care has been the limited knowledge of inclusion, especially when including children diagnosed with ASD.

Family Day Care Sydney Wide have partnered with Plumtree, to develop and implement a tailored program of high-level information workshops;ongoing coaching and mentoring; site visits; links to therapists (occupational,speech and behavioural) and support for their ESO’s.

This workshop will examine the program and highlight how it assisted in building knowledge, skills and confidence to include children withan Autism diagnosis in their programs.