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Children’s Services Professional Learning Program

Are you an educator working with children aged 0-12 years old? Each year Maroondah City Council develops a Professional Learning Program to support educators to access high quality, relevant and affordable training opportunities locally.

The program includes an extensive range of topics, to be presented by respected and inspiring speakers.  Council is committed to achieving positive outcomes for children, families and educators in the City of Maroondah.

Sessions are suitable for educators who work in a range of services (primarily early childhood and primary school).  Check the details of each session for suitability.

Bookings will open:

  • 27 February for all sessions in the first semester
  • 26 June for all sessions in the second semester 

Download the program:
Maroondah City Council Professional Learning Program 2018  (pdf, 2MB)

How to book

  • Bookings are essential as there are limited places available for each session.
  • All sessions are $37 per person (GST inclusive).
  • No refund is available should you be unable to attend.
  • Certificates will be issued for each session.
  • Arrive 15 minutes before the start of the session to allow time to park, sign in and collect your certificate.

Authentic celebrations and events - rethinking the way we choose, plan calendars and celebrate days of significance

Celebrations assist the development of cultural competency and provide opportunities to share children’s learning with all members of the community.Karen will encourage educators to reflect on their current events and celebrations calendar. She will discuss ways to plan events and celebrations at your services which are authentic and valuable to each member of the learning community.

The session will inspire participants by including examples of how early years services can provide authentic learning opportunities through their events calendar.

About Karen Glancy

Karen Glancy is an early childhood trainer, consultant and mentor. Karen has extensive experience working in all sectors of early childhood and as well as being co-founder of Early Childhood Pickers. Karen co-owns a gardening and landscaping business and has a range of qualifications including a Bachelor of Early Childhood Studies and a Horticulture Certificate.

Presented by:Karen Glancy
Suitable for:Educators from early childhood services
Date:Wednesday 14 March
Time:7pm to 9pm
Venue:Maroondah City Council Offices

This session is now complete.

Planning for learning with infants and toddlers - a fresh take on the cycle of planning

The aim of this session is to celebrate the joy of working with infants and toddlers and recognise their enormous capacities to be agents and participants in curriculum decisions.

Participants will be encouraged to reflect on the way they use the cycle of planning with the youngest children and critically examine each step of the cycle as it relates to their work with infants and toddlers. We will work through the cycle using examples moving from observation to planning and then assessment for learning and development.

Our focus will be on ensuring that our approaches to planning with infants and toddlers:

  • Notice their interests, ideas and invitations
  • Respond to their agency and desires to lead their learning
  • Create opportunities for rich and meaningful learning and play

In this session participants will:

  • Practice observation techniques that focus on young children’s learning agendas
  • Think about planning for learning rather than for activities
  • Explore ways to document the learning and development of infants and toddlers, working with the guidance of National Quality Standard in relation to QA 1

About Sandra Cheeseman

Dr Sandra Cheeseman a senior lecturer in early childhood at Macquarie University, Sydney. She brings to this role extensive experience as an early childhood teacher, director and senior manager. Her current research focuses on infants’ encounters with curriculum – in particular the implications of the introduction of a mandated learning framework for children from birth. As a member of the writing team of the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) for Australia, Sandra is interested to work with infants/toddler educators to ensure that the youngest children and their educators experience great learning and joy in their day-to-day work.

Presented by:Dr Sandra Cheeseman
Suitable for:Educators from early childhood services
Date:Wednesday 18 April
Time:7pm to 9pm

This session is now complete.

Who's in your family? Rainbow families are everywhere!

Australian families come in all different shapes and sizes and an increasing number of these include lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, gender diverse, intersex and queer parents and carers and their children. This informative session explores the diversity of our rainbow families and highlights the challenges they face with a focus on early childhood and primary school aged settings.

It also reveals what educators can do to create inclusive environments that welcome all children, no matter the sexuality or gender of their parents or carers, or how their family was formed.

In this session participants will:

  • Explore the challenges faced by rainbow families and learn ways to respond to difficult situations
  • Learn how to navigate tricky conversations about different types of families with both children and their parents
  • Discover how to create inclusive spaces that embrace the diversity of families at your service

About Rainbow Families

Rainbow Families Victoria is a 100 per cent volunteer organisation that supports and promotes equality for same-sex and LGBTQI families. They work with families, ECEC services, schools, businesses and government to make Australia a better place for all LGBTQI families.

Presented by:Rainbow Families Victoria
Suitable for:Educators from early childhood & primary school aged services
Date:Wednesday 2 May
Time:7pm to 9pm

This session is now complete.

Documentation doesn’t mean surrendering your life over - quality and never quantity (2 part seminar)

Do you feel overwhelmed with the requirements of documentation as an early childhood educator?

Each year we receive many requests from educators to provide more learning sessions on the topic of documentation.

Come along to this two part seminar to hear Anthony share his knowledge and challenge the ways in which we have come to understand documentation.

Anthony’s objectives for these sessions are to:

  • Critique and explore the functions of documentation
  • Assess the purpose of documentation as a means of curriculum improvement rather than a communication device
  • Explore effective ways of documenting learning
  • Analyse and identify ways of making documentation less stressful

About Anthony Semann

Anthony Semann is one of the Directors and founders at Semann & Slattery. For the past 15 years he has worked as a researcher, consultant and manager with a broad range of government, non-government and private organisations. His skills and expertise has seen him work with organisations across Australia and overseas including Columbia University (New York) as well as in France and New Zealand. Anthony has an exceptional capacity to challenge organisations and people to reflect on how their approaches to communication, leadership, diversity, values, relationships and workplace culture affect their services, businesses and ultimately the community.

Presented by:Anthony Semann
Suitable for:Educators from early childhood services
Date:Monday 14 May AND Tuesday 12 June
Time:7pm to 9pm

Session notes:
Anthony Semann - presentation slides session 1  (pdf, 1MB)
Anthony Semann - session flyers  (pdf, 889KB)
Anthony Semann - presentation slides session 2  (pdf, 14MB)

These sessions are now complete.

Aboriginal cultural awareness sharing with Murrundindi

The Wurundjeri, also known as the Yarra Yarra tribe, was one of the three tribes that shared the Upper Yarra and Healesville areas. As Melbourne's traditional custodians of the land and of local Aboriginal culture, the Wurundjeri roamed throughout an area from Healesville to Lake Eildon, towards Westernport Bay and as far as Wonthaggi.

Murrundindi is directly descended from these two great Wurundjeri leaders via his mother, Gumbri, who has taught him to respect and honour his Aboriginal heritage.

Murrundindi and brother Warendj conduct cultural education programs in preschools, primary and secondary schools throughout Melbourne. They visit schools regularly and present the diversity of their Aboriginal culture to the children through song, dance, language and music. Murrundindi also does educational work at Healesville Sanctuary who nominated him for a reconciliation award in 1997.

Presented by:Murrundindi
Suitable for:Educators from early childhood & primary school aged services
Date:Tuesday 29 May
Time:7pm to 9pm

This session is now complete.

Semester 2 program 

Literacy and numeracy through play - creating a context for meaningful learning

“The disposition to seek understanding is one of several important inborn dispositions that early childhood educators should strive to support and strengthen, by providing a wide range of opportunities for young children to explore and investigate important aspects of their environments and experiences....” (Lilian Katz)

Positive attitudes and competencies in literacy and numeracy are essential for children’s successful learning. The experiences we provide and the way in which we interact and respond to children’s play has a deep impact on opportunities for deep level engagement and learning.

This workshop will explore how to embed literacy and numeracy as part of the everyday curriculum in a way that is authentic and meaningful for children.

Participants will:

  • Reflect and build on their knowledge of how children learn effectively
  • Gain a deeper understanding of the role of the environment in creating meaningful opportunities for literacy and numeracy development
  • Share and explore how the process of documenting children’s learning can inform responsive and differentiated planning.

Please note:due to unforeseen circumstances, Kirsty Liljegren is no longer able to present this session. Karen Szydlik will now facilitate the presentation and the topic and content for the session will remain the same.

About Karen Szydlik

Karen Szydlikhas been working with and advocating for children for over 35 years.

Her career as a kindergarten teacher began at Bialik College where she worked with 3-5 year olds. She has also been the Principal of a Children's Drama Academy. Her career in tertiary education began as a teacher in the Certificate 3 and Diploma of Children's Services at the Gordon Institute. She went on to be a tutor at the University of Melbourne in the CEIEC, and then a lecturer, subject coordinator, year level coordinator and acting program coordinator in the Bachelor of Early Childhood at Melbourne Polytechic.(formerly NMIT)

She has a Diploma of Teaching (IECD), a Graduate Diploma in Dance and Movement, a Graduate Diploma in Creative and Experiential Arts Therapy and is a Doctoral Candidate in the Arts Therapy program at MIECAT.She has presented around Australia on a diversity of topics relating to children, teaching and parenting and in particular the educational project of Reggio Emilia.

Her current position is Professional Learning Coordinator at REAIE (Reggio Emilia Australia Information Exchange, where she coordinates the professional learning events, is an editor on the Challenge Journal and the support person for the Australia-wide networks REAIE is an organisation she has been involved with for over 20 years.

Her work with children and adults is greatly influenced by the principles of the educational project from Reggio Emilia. In addition she is fascinated in the power of 'the narrative' and 'experiential learning'.

Presented by:Karen Szydlik
Suitable for:Educators from early childhood services
Date:Monday 6 August
Time:7pm to 9pm

This session is now complete.

Implementing physical education within your early years service

Do you want your group of children to be more active and enjoy physical education?Do you want to feel confident and have fresh ideas on how best to implement physical education within your setting?Do you want to learn how to link physical and gross motor experiences back to the EYLF?

If you answered yes to all or any of the abovequestions then perhaps this session is for you.

Participants will gain the confidence, ideas and knowledge to implement physical educational games, activities and experiences suitable for 1 to 6 years olds within a range of children’s services.

Paul will:

  • Outline and dissect the need for children to engage in physical education in an early learning setting and how to link this back to EYLF
  • Identify how and when physical education can be implemented into the curriculum
  • Explore useful equipment to conduct physical education experiences and the variations
  • Demonstrate resources to make and use in your service; such as hula hoops, relay batons, bean bags, etc.

About Paul Pennisi

Paul Pennisi has extensive experience in early learning; particularly in physical education in the early years. He started his working life in 1997 as an Early Childhood Educator and hasa Diploma of Children’s Services in addition to a physical education qualification.

In 2001 Paul founded Sports 4 Kinders – an age appropriate physical educational program specifically designed for children1 to 6 years old.Sports 4 Kinders now develops and delivers sport/physical education programs in over 65 early learning settings across Melbourne.

In 2007 Paul was commissioned to write training curriculum on implementing physical education into early childhood titled ‘Kinder Moves’. This accredited training booklet is now distributed through training colleges across Australia.

Presented by:Paul Pennisi
Suitable for:Educators from early childhood services
Date:Thursday 6 September
Time:7pm to 9pm
Venue:Maroondah City Council Offices

This session is now complete.

Looking after yourself working in Children’s Services whilst trying to juggle it all

How can you prepare children for life when you are not looking after yourself?

How do you have time to look after yourself when there is an endless cycle of regulations, quality standards, frameworks, meetings, documentation, intentional teaching, community engagement and partnership forming?

  • Gain strategies to stay fresh and inspired whilst juggling a multitude of tasks
  • Listen to a 10 step program that will improve your mental wellbeing
  • Learn to spend time on what is important, not what is urgent
  • It begins with you

About Louise Dorrat

Louise Dorrat (MEd, BTeach, Dip SSc) has a long history of teaching behaviour guidance at Swinburne, Victoria University and Deakin University. She has extensive experience in managing early childhood services and is contracted by organisations such as Federal State Governments, Early Learning Association Australia, Child Australia and Gowrie to deliver training across Australia. Louise’s presentations are at once engaging and informative.

Presented by:Louise Dorrat
Suitable for:Educators from early childhood & primary school aged services
Date:Tuesday 11 September
Time:7pm to 9pm

Book online

Creating engaging outdoor learning environments with intent

This session will explore how educators can create engaging outdoor learning environments that are planned with specific learning goals in mind.

Participants will explore:

  • The importance of intentional teaching in the outdoors
  • The educator’s role in outdoor play
  • How to highlight the value of outdoor play to families and the wider community through thoughtful documentation of children’s learning.

About Karen Glancy

Karen Glancy is an early childhood trainer, consultant and mentor.Karen has extensive experience working in all sectors of early childhood and as well as being co-founder of Early Childhood Pickers, Karen co-owns a gardening and landscaping business.

Karen has a range of qualifications including a Bachelor of Early Childhood Studies and a Horticulture Certificate. She has a particular interest in the development of engaging learning environments using natural and recycled materials, sustainable living, education for the environment, gardening with children and outdoor learning environments.

Presented by:Karen Glancy
Suitable for:Educators from early childhood services
Date:Wednesday 17 October
Time:7pm to 9pm
Venue:Maroondah City Council Offices

This session is now fully booked.

Mailing list 

If you would like to receive information on upcoming sessions for educators in and around Maroondah, you can join our Educator mailing list. Please send an email to


Sessions will be held at the following locations:

Maroondah City Council

Braeside Avenue,
(Mel ref: 50:A7)  


Mines Road,
(Mel ref: 50:A7) 

More information

For information contact Cathie Wills (Tuesdays and Fridays) on 9294 5740 or email

You may also be interested in Council’s Parenting Information Sessions for 2018 

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