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Children’s Services Professional Learning Program

children playing outside in garden 

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 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:

  • Semester 1 - Tuesday 4 February 2020
  • Semester 2 - Thursday 25 June 2020 - see details for each session below.

How to book

  • Bookings are essential as there are limited places available for each session.
  • All sessions are $40 per person (2-part courses are $80 per person). All prices are GST inclusive.
  • No refund is available should you be unable to attend. You may give your ticket to another person, so they can attend in your absence. Please email with any changes.
  • Certificates of attendance will be issued for each session.
  • Arrive 15 minutes before the start of the session to allow time to park and sign in. 

Semester 2

Read more about the presenters

STEM for early childhood educators

This fast-paced, interactive session will step educators through the scientific method and how it can be taught with experiments that use simple materials that are able to be sourced from the supermarket or hardware store. Examine how science experiments can be adapted for ages 3 to 5, as well as how they can be incorporated into the Early Years Learning Framework.

Throughout the session, we’ll look at a wide variety of science experiments that help learners understand how basic scientific principles work in everyday situations. Kitchen chemistry, forces, sound, light and much more will be addressed, with the activities specifically covering materials that you can easily source.

Participants will be given access to a Google Drive folder that is filled with additional teaching ideas, podcasts and experiments for early learning educators.

Presented by: Ben Newsome (Fizzics Education)
Suitable for: educators from early childhood services
Date: Thursday 16 July
Time: 7pm to 9pm
Venue: this session will now be held online via Zoom.

This session is now complete. 

Creating beautiful environments (2-part course)

There's the saying ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’, however, how do we negotiate the ideas of beauty within an early childhood space if each person has a different definition of ‘beauty’. What is the role of beauty within education?

Spaces speak and they can speak of democracy and a love for aesthetics. Spaces can also affect how we engage and learn. In this two-part presentation we will be venturing in the beautiful and lush world of aesthetics and we reimagine what can be possible within our education sites.

Please note this is a two-part course and sessions cannot be booked separately.

Presented by: Anthony Semann
Suitable for: educators from early childhood services
Date: Wednesday 29 July and Wednesday 19 August
Time: 7pm to 8.30pm
Venue: This two-part course will now be held online via Zoom.

This session is now complete. 

Ethics in action

Ethics is everywhere in children’s services. Educators make hundreds of decisions about what is right and/or good and try to act with integrity and responsibility. It makes for a sometimes complex, process that needs time and space often when these things are in limited supply.

Informed by Early Childhood Australia’s (ECA) Code of Ethics, and referencing ECA’s recent publication,Ethics in Action: A practical guide to implementing the ECA Code of Ethics, this workshop will explore the ethical dimensions of our work and strengthen our capacity to make more effective and respectful decisions.

Using the Guide and the Code of Ethics to support our professional thinking, participants will be invited to practice the art of ethical decision-making, and work together to reinforce approaches that enhance the rights and wellbeing of children, families, our colleagues and the community.

Presented by: Catharine Hydon
Suitable for: educators from early childhood services
Date: Thursday 21 May rescheduled for 14 October
Time: 7pm to 9pm
Venue: online

Book online

Educator wellbeing

Early childhood educators are mandated by the EYLF to ensure children have a strong sense of wellbeing. There is however, an inherent connection between educator’s wellbeing and their capacity to provide quality education and care.

With education being an emotional vocation, educators must have strong personal wellbeing in order to flourish professionally and facilitate children’s academic, developmental and wellbeing success. But what do educators utilise to maintain their own wellbeing that reflects their unique work environment and profession?

Participants will have the opportunity to identify, connect and discuss:

  • Why early years education is critical.
  • What is wellbeing and how is it malleable?
  • The value and power of mindfulness for wellbeing.
  • Why being compassionate to ourselves is key to our health.
  • Relationships matter – how connectedness fuels wellbeing, for children and adults.
  • How gratitude can have a significant impact on our wellbeing.
  • What we can learn about thriving from the best teachers around – the children we work with!

A workshop booklet will be included to provide participants with a toolkit of takeaways for wellbeing.

Presented by: Lisa Baker
Suitable for: educators from early childhood and outside of school hours services
Date: Thursday 8 October - rescheduled for Thursday 12 November
Time: 7pm to 9pm
Venue: this session will be held online

Book online

Bookings for this session will open on Tuesday 1 September. 

Providing an anti-bias curriculum: focussing on gender

Educators must not underestimate how powerful they are in shaping children’s identity. Everything they say and do can reinforce or challenge stereotypes and bias. Educators need to consider the social justice and equity implications of their approaches and avoid practices that directly or indirectly contribute to gender inequality, prejudice and discrimination.

Providing an anti-bias curriculum is not about being 'politically correct' and it is more than providing an inclusive environment. It is about being aware of your own unconscious biases and to challenge and address exclusion and injustice.

The session will:

  • explore the exceeding themes of social justice and equity
  • give practical examples of challenging gender bias in the curriculum
  • identify books, resources and materials that promote gender equity.

Presented by: Louise Dorrat
Suitable for: educators from early childhood and out of school hours services
Date: Tuesday 2 June - rescheduled for 1 December
Time: 7pm to 9pm
Venue: Karralyka

This session is currently closed for bookings. More tickets may be released as social distancing restrictions ease.  

Connecting children with nature every day

In this session we will explore the benefits of nature play and how to create opportunities for connecting children with nature within early years learning environments and out in our local communities.

A built environment can never replicate a bush or nature space, however, there are ways we can ensure that all early years spaces have elements of nature that children have access to every day. Practical ideas for connecting children with nature and for supporting children’s learning in and about nature will be shared. This session will include inspiration for educators working in natural environments and for those in spaces that are mostly artificial.

Presented by: Karen Glancy
Suitable for: educators from early childhood services
Date: Wednesday 16 September - rescheduled for 23 February 2021
Time: 7pm to 9pm
Venue: Karralyka

Book online 

The National Quality Framework: The Musical!

In an all singing all dancing extravaganza, dynamic dramaturgical early childhood thespians, Dr Red Ruby Scarlet and Louise Dorrat, present a splendiferous spectacular salubrious engagement with the National Quality Framework.

Grounded in poststructuralist theory, this piece of professional development is based on the following questions:

  • What counts as valid knowledge?
  • Who decides?
  • And 'in whose interest are they enacted?'

Get ready for an intellectual, ironic, engaging, toe tapping, hand clapping, finger snapping interactive performance festooned with favourite tunes including the smash hits ‘QIP’ (composed in collaboration with ABBA), ’The Assessor’ (composed in collaboration with The Family von Trapp) and ‘E.Y.L.F.’ (composed with The Village People).

You’ll be dancing away convinced that dramatic arts are valid knowledge and they are a useful way to engage with, build understandings, and make sense of, The National Quality Framework.

Written and performed by: Dr Red Ruby Scarlet and Louise Dorrat.
Suitable for: educators from early childhood and out of school hours services
Date: Wednesday 25 March rescheduled for 10 March 2021
Time: 7pm to 9pm
Venue: Karralyka

This session is currently closed for booking. More tickets may be released as social distancing measures ease. Read more about the event on the Karralyka website


Semester 1 - 2020

Semester 1 sessions are now complete. 

Embedding Aboriginal perspectives in early childhood curriculums (2-part course)

“We know we should, but we don’t know how!” is a common statement made by many well-meaning educators in reference to Aboriginal programs. It is still a popular belief that Aboriginal culture should only be acknowledged and celebrated on particular calendar events and not included in the everyday curriculum.

This course will highlight the importance of including Aboriginal perspectives into services programs and why it needs to be done every day.

These are practical hands-on sessions that provide educators with multiple examples of experiences.It will guide educators through Aboriginal programming step by step for infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers.

Please note this is a two-part course and sessions cannot be booked separately.

Presented by: Jessica Staines (The Koori Curriculum)
Suitable for: educators from early childhood services
Date: Wednesday 12 February and Wednesday 26 February
Time: 7pm to 9.30pm (please note these sessions are 2.5 hours long)
Venue: Karralyka

These sessions are now complete.

Celebrations in early childhood: should or should we not?

Should we or should we not cease events such as Father’s and Mother’s Day? What about Easter? The questions related to celebrations is early childhood education can bring to the surface some challenging yet necessary debates and emotions.

Deciding what we should include and what we shouldn’t requires a level of deep reflection and analysis; and isn’t as simple as banning a celebration or significant event.

In this presentation we will tackle the hard questions related to the role of celebrations in early childhood and if they remain how they might be integrated into the curriculum

Presented by: Anthony Semann
Suitable for: educators from early childhood services
Date: Wednesday 11 March
Time: 7pm to 9pm
Venue: Karralyka

This session is now complete.

Program and planning: the planning cycle in action

The cycle of planning is regularly cited as an issue requiring more attention, as a result of services being assessed. Despite endless amounts of documents related to planning and children’s learning been kept within education settings, demonstrating a cycle of planning in action remains a challenge for many.

How might we demonstrate the linkages between the documents we keep and how might we maximise their impact? In this session we will explore the wondrous world of planning and the cycle in action.

Presented by: Anthony Semann
Suitable for: educators from early childhood services
Date: Tuesday 5 May
Time: 7pm to 9pm

This session is now complete.

Speak Up - Identifying and responding to child abuse

This session was cancelled. We apologise for any inconvenience. All ticket holders were notified.

Speak Up is an introductory training program which aims to help you identify and recognise signs and indicators of child abuse and build confidence about what to do if you have concerns about a child. The training includes an overview of the legislative context around child safety and mandatory reporting at an introductory level.

Speak Up is suitable for staff and volunteers that work with children and have had no prior knowledge about child abuse.

Information will include:

  • What is child abuse? How to recognise the physical and behavioural indicators of child abuse.
  • An explanation of the grooming process and how sex offenders can target children and young people.
  • An explanation of your responsibility in preventing and responding to abuse.
  • Building confidence in responding to and reporting child abuse.

Presented by:Child Wise
Suitable for:educators from early childhood and out of school hours services
Date:Wednesday 17 June- cancelled
Time:7pm to 9pm
Venue:Maroondah Council Offices, Braeside Ave, Ringwood

Learn more about the presenters who will be sharing their knowledge in our parenting information sessions. 

Presenter Anthony Semann 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 have 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 what they do, their services and ultimately the community.

Presenter Ben Newsome Ben Newsome

Ben Newsome founded Fizzics Education in 2004 to deliver science education across Australia and now reaches 350,000 students a year with staff in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra.

He is a qualified science teacher, former CSIRO Education member, 2013 Churchill Fellow, 2015, 2016 and 2018 Australian Small Business Children’s Education Services Winner.

In 2012 Ben co-founded the non-profit Virtual Excursions Australia, which has now grown to include over 40 major cultural institutions and departmental distance education managers. In 2015 he co-founded another non-profit called the Pinnacle Education Collaborative, a network of over 30 cultural organisations in North America that deliver virtual excursions to schools, retirement homes, remand centres and more.

Presenter Catharine Hydon Catharine Hydon

Catharine Hydon is the Director and Principal Consultant at Hydon Consulting. She has a Masters in early childhood education and draws on her experience and ongoing practice research to consider how theory connects and informs practice. 

Catharine’s involvement in the early childhood sector is an important part of her commitment to the outcomes for children.  She is a long-time member of Early Childhood Australia (ECA) currently serving as the Co-chair of the Reconciliation Advisory Group and is a regular contributor in ECA publications. Catharine has been a member of the ECA Code of Ethics working group for the last two reviews and is a co-author on the recently published Ethics in Action Implementation guide. Catharine is a Board Member of the Victorian Curriculum Assessment Authority  and the Early Years-10 Curriculum and Assessment Committee for the VCAA and has recently been appointed as a second tier reviewer for ACECQA.    

Catharine is a dynamic speaker and collaborative facilitator and is skilled at engaging professionals in reflective dialogue and creative conversations.   

Child wise logo Child Wise

Child Wise is one of Australia's leading not-for-profit child abuse prevention organisations. Established in 1991, Child Wise work to build awareness, deliver education and provide the tools to empower individuals and communities around Australia so they can actively prevent child abuse and exploitation. 

Presenter Jessica Staines Jessica Staines (The Koori Curriculum)

The Koori Curriculum is an Aboriginal early childhood consultancy based in Sydney’s inner west. Consultants at the Koori Curriculum facilitate a range of professional development workshops for educators that help guide the inclusion of Aboriginal perspectives in early childhood curriculums.

The Koori Curriculum is operated by Jessica Staines, a Wiradjuri woman who is also an early childhood teacher. Jessica has worked in early childhood for over ten years in both urban and rural services. Whilst working in early childhood Jessica naturally found herself supporting educators to become more culturally aware and feel confident in embedding Aboriginal perspectives in their program.

Presenter Karen Glancy 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. 

LBaker.jpg Lisa Baker

Lisa Baker has been in the field of early childhood education for 29 years. She holds a Master of Applied Positive Psychology and Bachelor of Education, specialising in Early Childhood, and over two decades of professional experience, action research and practitioner enquiry.

Lisa has a depth and breadth of knowledge and experience early childhood and is an engaging speaker.

Lisa believes early childhood is a critical and powerful time for growth and learning – in cognitive, social, emotional, neurological and physical domains. She advocates that wellbeing and meaningful relationships must be integral to positive education environments and that respect for the competency of children be prioritised in order that they flourish.

Presenter Louise Dorrat Louise Dorrat

Louise studied drama, voice and dance and performed professionally in Children’s Theatre before changing career 30 years ago to early childhood. She has a long history of managing a broad range of early year's programs and teaches the Bachelor of Education at a number of Universities focusing on social justice and the creative arts.

Louise assisted in the establishment of the Westgarth Bush kinder and worked in the bush setting for 2 years. She delivers professional development across Australia and New Zealand. Louise’s background in theatre results in presentations that are at once engaging and informative.

MEd, BTeach, Dip SSc,

Presenter Ruby Scarlet Dr Red Ruby Scarlett

Dr Red Ruby Scarlet is an activist, early childhood teacher, researcher, consultant, artist and academic. She has been working in early childhood for over 25 years and is devoted to creative, imaginative, inclusive practices that promote dignity and integrity in early childhood. She has developed curriculum and learning frameworks both nationally and internationally and has won numerous awards for her teaching and advocacy. 

More information

For information contact Cathie Wills on 9294 5740 or email

Read more about previous sessions we had on offer in 2019

Mailing list for educators

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

You can see how we how we keep your information private here

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

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