Honoring the Child, Honoring Equity Conference

Honoring the Child, Honoring Equity 12
Troubling truths: bridging divides for equity

Welcome to the 2012 Conference home page.

We hope you can join us for the 2012 conference from Friday 16 November to Saturday 17 November 2012 at The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia.

2012 Conference Themes:

  • Tactics and strategies for change
  • Challenging power and knowledge
  • Querying communities
  • Valuing/validating diversity in practices and policies
  • Shifting and searching for theoretical possibilities and perspectives
  • Sharing stories of bridging divides for equity

More information will be available online shortly. If you would like to be added to the mailing list to receive information about the conference please email your details to: education-ceiec@unimelb.edu.au

For information on the 2011 conference please download a copy of the Post Conference Report.


Conference Venue & About Melbourne

Conference Venue
University of Melbourne
Parkville, Victoria

Parkville Campus Map

Telephone: +(61 3) 8344 4000
Fax: +(61 3) 8344 5104
After hours emergencies:
+ (61 3) 8344 6666

The University of Melbourne Parkville campus is located next to the central business district of Melbourne, Australia. The campus is close to restaurants, hotels and public transport hubs; and just 20 minutes by car from Melbourne Airport (30-45 mins during peaks hours between 7am-9am and 4:30-6:30pm).

About Melbourne

With a population of some 3.5 million, Melbourne, the capital of the state of Victoria, is Australia’s second-largest city. With its multicultural and multilingual population, and a reputation as a vibrant centre for arts, culture, dining and shopping, Melbourne is a popular and exciting travel destination.

For more information about Melbourne and Victoria, visit the following websites:
Visit Melbourne - www.visitmelbourne.com
Australian Tourism Commission - www.australia.com

Getting Around

To get from the Melbourne Airport (www.melbourneairport.com.au) to the CBD you can either catch a taxi which will cost you approx $50-$60 AUD or pre-book on one of the shuttle bus services:

Domestic travellers arriving at Avalaon airport (www.avalonairport.com.au) should allow at least 1 hour for travel to the CBD. Taxis, buses and trains are available with details on the Avalon airport website.

Around Melbourne

The conference venue is easily reached by train or tram from all over the city.
For tram and train timetables see www.metlinkmelbourne.com.au
For public transport trip plans see www.connexmelbourne.com.au
Road and street maps: www.whereis.com or maps.google.com.au

The free Melbourne City Tourist Shuttle (red bus) stops at key tourist attractions and destinations in and around the city of Melbourne. Hop on and hop off the bus at any of the stops at key city destinations including: The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Museum and Carlton Gardens; Queen Victoria Market; Melbourne Aquarium; Immigration Museum; Southbank; the Shrine of Remembrance; Royal Botanic Gardens and Chinatown. The shuttle runs between 10am and 4pm daily. The complete trip takes approximately 50 minutes, listen to the informative on-board commentary as you travel around Melbourne. For more information about the Melbourne City Tourist Shuttle, download a copy of the brochure from the website listed below, or pick up a copy from Melbourne Visitor Centre at Federation Square.

The free City Circle tram travels the perimeter of Melbourne’s central business district, taking in many of Melbourne’s landmarks every day of the year except Christmas Day and Good Friday. Services operate every 12 minutes between 10am and 9pm from Thursday to Saturday, and between 10am and 6pm from Sunday to Wednesday.

Time Zone

There are several time zones in Australia. Australian Eastern Standard Time (Melbourne) is GMT plus 10 hours. www.timezoneconverter.com


If you are not an Australian citizen you will need a valid visa or Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) to enter Australia. For more information, see: http://www.immi.gov.au/visitors/index.htm. Please check visa regulations very carefully, and make visa arrangements well in advance.

Australia has strict customs and quarantine regulations. For more information, please visit: http://www.customs.gov.au/site/page.cfm?u=4224


Keynote Speakers Overview

Please note there has been a change to the keynote speakers attending the conference and we are delighted that Professor Beth Swadener is able to be a keynote presenter at the conference this year. Unfortunately, Professor Valerie Walkerdine is no longer able to attend.

Professor Pat Dudgeon

Professor Pat Dudgeon,

School of Indigenous Studies, University of Western Australia, Honorary Research Fellow, Centre for Research Excellence Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing, Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, WA

Professor Pat Dudgeon is from the Bardi people of the Kimberley in Western Australia. She was the first Aboriginal psychologist to graduate in Australia and has made outstanding contributions to Indigenous psychology and higher education.

She is a research fellow at the School of Indigenous Studies, University of Western Australia.

Her roles include Chief Investigator in a ARC (Indigenous Discovery) grant, Cultural Continuity and Change: Indigenous Solutions to Mental Health Issues. This project is to develop Aboriginal understandings for improved social and emotional wellbeing in the Aboriginal communities of Broome and Perth. Concepts of cultural continuity and social and emotional wellbeing will be compared and validated by the Aboriginal communities of Perth and Broome through a series of focus groups and community meetings. Indigenous mental health statistics are of grave concern and different approaches that encompass locally derived Aboriginal knowledges and how these can be actioned are essential. The outcomes of this research will inform programs, services and policy to better meet the mental health needs of Indigenous people.

She is also a Chief Investigator in the NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence Grant. Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing: From Marginalised to Empowered: Transformative Methods for Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing in the Telethon Institute of Child Health Research, Perth Western Australia.

She was the Head of the Centre for Aboriginal Studies at Curtin University, for some 19 years, leading the field in providing culturally appropriate education.

As well as leadership in Indigenous higher education, she has also had significant involvement in psychology and Indigenous issues for many years. She has undertaken much work and many publications in this area and is considered one of the ‘founding’ people in Indigenous people and psychology. She is involved in many organisations and of note; she was inaugural Chair of the Australian Indigenous Psychologist’s Association. She is a currently a research fellow at the School of Indigenous Studies at the University of Western Australia, researching Aboriginal women and leadership.

She is actively involved with the Aboriginal community, having an ongoing commitment to social justice for Indigenous people. Pat has participated in numerous state and national committees, councils, task groups and community service activities. Of significance; she was a member of the Parole Board of Western Australia for several years. Pat Dudgeon has always worked in ways that empower and develop other Indigenous people.

Current committee memberships include:
Commissioner, National Mental Health Commission,
Chair, Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Mental Health Advisory Group to DoHA
Member, National Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Advisory Group,
Member, The National Indigenous Health Equality Council,
Member, Research Advisory Committee for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation,
Steering Committee and Founding Member of Australian Indigenous Psychologist Association (AIPA),
Board Director, Derbarl Yerrigan Health Service, Perth.
Board Director, Marr Mooditj Aboriginal Health Training.

Keynote Title & Abstract
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perceptions of Social and Emotional Well Being

Aboriginal people have suffered through the effects of colonisation and dispossession. While these impacts have varied according to patterns of settlement, all Aboriginal people are living out the consequences of these impacts in their contemporary lifestyles. There is recognition that traditional Western mainstream public health approaches have failed Indigenous people and this is largely due to interventions having little or no understanding of Indigenous people’s realities and exclusion of Indigenous people in these. Despite the resources made available for addressing Indigenous mental health, a gap remains between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations. This presentation will overview Aboriginal concerns and solutions, propose ideas of culturally appropriate concepts of Indigenous mental health and examine how the Aboriginal community perceives these and how they can be addressed and strengthened. This will include a discussion about the need for holistic approaches that are owned by the community, also Aboriginal understandings of domains of social and emotional well being that include connection to family, to community, to culture, to ancestry, to land and spiritually. These domains will be examined and Indigenous perceptions of what needs to be strengthened to create healthy cultural environments for Indigenous children will be discussed.


linda mitchell photo

Associate Professor Linda Mitchell

Faculty of Education, University of Waikato

Linda Mitchell is an associate professor (Early Childhood Education) at the University of Waikato. She was project leader for the longitudinal evaluation of New Zealand’s strategic plan for early childhood education 2004, 2006 and 2009 and is currently leading an evaluation of the Ministry of Education’s early childhood education Participation Programme. A key aspect of this evaluation is interviews with families about their views and experiences of early childhood education. Her recent research includes a community research project with Congolese refugee families examining experiences of resettlement, aspirations for their children and views about early childhood education and care, research undertaken in collaboration with teachers analysing multi-modal literacies, a literature review on outcomes of early childhood education, national surveys of early childhood services and research investigating quality in parent/whanau (family)-led services.


Keynote: Early childhood provision: Democratic communities for citizenship and social justice?

How might policy and practice enhance early childhood care and education services as democratic communities for citizenship and social justice? In such provision, children are positioned as members of a social group and wider community, and families’ funds of knowledge are valued and woven into the fabric of the curriculum. Early childhood care and education is valued as a public good and a child’s right. These ideas can be linked to policy and curriculum. It is crucial to examine them in a world where childhoods are changing rapidly, discrepancies in wealth are evident both between and within countries, and commercialisation and marketisation are becoming hallmarks of provision in many countries. Several writers have argued that new ways of constructing children that emphasise citizenry rights are needed to enable responsiveness to these and other changing conditions of childhoods and to living in a democracy.

This paper draws on research undertaken by the author and a body of international research to analyse what a construct of the “child as citizen” implies for developing policy frameworks and pedagogy to support democracy and citizenship. Tactics and strategies for change are examined. An innovative project undertaken by a coalition of early childhood organisations in New Zealand to develop a shared vision for community-based provision is used as an example to argue that researchers, academics and practitioners all have a responsibility to work collectively and individually for policy changes. Challenges for practitioners may mean letting go of power and exploring their practice with their own communities and in response to social and economic change. The paper also illustrates small tangible steps being made through research with refugee families and a community action group in planning for an integrated children and family centre to address aspirations of refugee and migrant families.


Workshop: Enquiring teachers and responsive pedagogy

A body of international evidence has highlighted the very positive outcomes that can accrue from participation in early childhood education – benefits for children and also for families and society. In parallel, considerable interest has emerged in policy frameworks to encourage access to education and care, and support and sustain responsive pedagogy. The comprehensive country reviews done by the OECD in 2001 and 2006 have emphasised the roles of curriculum, pedagogies, teacher education and access of staff to professional development and resources.

This workshop presents findings from recent New Zealand policy evaluations to examine the impact of policy initiatives on participation. My main argument will be that a range of policies focused on improving teacher qualifications and professional capabilities and developing communities of learners provided conditions for teachers’ engagement with theory and pedagogical discussion with others – including parents, teachers, and external academics. These were key to shifts that started to occur in New Zealand’s early childhood landscape towards more open and democratic provision.

This presentation sets the scene for participants to examine and compare their own policies and practices, and how they might incorporate ideas about the teacher as learner and researcher within their settings.

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Zorica Trikic photo

Ms Zorica Trikic,

Program Director, CIP – Centre for Interactive Pedagogy

Zorica Trikic is Program director in one of the most influential NGOs in Serbia, CIP- Centre for Interactive Pedagogy and program specialist in International Step by Step Association operating in 29 countries (Central, South East Europe, Eastern Europe and Central Asia).

Zorica has more than 25 years of experience in the early year’s sector, working with children, parents, communities, educators and policy makers. Her focus was always on developing and implementing psychosocial and educational programs to support children and families facing most challenging life experiences such as armed conflicts, extreme poverty, social exclusion and oppression in Serbia, Balkan region, Central Asia and ex Soviet Union countries. She strongly believes (and has proof) that education has power to transform broader society and that educators are agents of change with capacity to go beyond their traditional roles - they can name realities in which children live and injustices they face, they can give voice to silenced groups of children and parents and initiate alliances in order to create more justice and equity.

In the last 20 years she has worked on Roma education issues – establishing and supporting work of community based kindergartens in Roma settlements; introducing Roma Teaching Assistants in the educational system in Serbia; building partnerships with Roma communities, Roma leaders and Roma NGOs; personal and professional empowerment of members of Roma community, especially Roma woman and mothers. She is one of the main researchers in EU MAP project “Monitoring Equal Access to quality Education for Roma in Serbia” and first-author of a National report on Roma Early Childhood Inclusion. She is one of the authors of an education for social justice program implemented in 29 countries and member of different international professional groups working on issues of peace building, equity, respect for diversity and early years programming.


Keynote Title & Abstract
Being an educator in times of crisis – challenges and opportunities

While the world is facing one of the biggest economic crisis many not so visible, but endangering practices are establishing. Is it by accident that just now world leaders are stating that the project of multiculturalism has failed?

The recent situation with Roma population all over Europe is opening many questions and can be used as an example for what we want to address and stress. We are more or less silent bystanders as we watch unacceptable practices occur, such as building walls around Roma settlements (old fashioned ghettoes with more sophisticated justification), forced evictions, expelling people over the night from their homes and transporting them to their native countries, closing the borders, committing atrocities on them… Is the present situation of Roma heralding the future of all who are poor, undereducated, different…?

This keynote speech will explore potentials and strengths of education and educators to create a change not only for children and families but also for society in general. It will focus on both professional and personal empowerment of educators as key adults who work with children, but at the same time share the same/similar problems as the children and families they are working with... It will be illustrated with examples from the practices established in Eastern Europe and Balkans during and after wars and ethnic clashes in conditions of extreme poverty and uncertainty.


Workshop: "Dreams we have for our children, what we can do to make them come true"

“Like a bridge over troubled water I will lay me down…” The lyrics of the famous song written by Simon and Garfunkel in late 60s may become (and in our case was) a moto for key adults in years to come... But can we as educators do that if we are overwhelmed with our own problems... What do we need and from whom to become more balanced and strong...? Is there a topic around which everybody can gather and share beyond class, ethnic background, race, gender?

This experiencial workshop will showcase one practical, simple but powerful activity which can be used to provide psychosocial support to educators working in times of crisis, support them to reconnect with core values of their profession, gain and give empathy and focus their attention on themselves, as well as to every child and all children they are working with. During the activity and exchange the model naming - voicing - building allies will be presented and explored.

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Professor Beth Blue Swadener

Arizona State University

Beth Blue Swadener is professor of Justice and Social Inquiry in the School of Social Transformation as well as Childhood Studies at Arizona State University. Her research focuses on internationally comparative social policy, with focus on sub-Saharan Africa, and children’s rights and voices. She has published nine books, including Reconceptualizing the Early Childhood Curriculum; Children and Families “At Promise”; Does the Village Still Raise the Child?; Decolonizing Research in Cross-Cultural Context and Power and Voice in Research with Children and serves as Associate Editor of the American Educational Research Journal. She has also supervised over 100 PhD dissertations and was recently recognized as Outstanding Doctoral Advisor of 2012 at her university.

Beth has done work in sub-Saharan Africa since the mid-1980s and first came to Kenya in 1992, and in Greece with focus on Roma education issues, since 1997. In 1994-95, she lived with her family in Kenya as a Fulbright Research Scholar and volunteered with street children. She was a co-founder of The Jirani Project and has continued to do volunteer work and research in Kenya. She is also a co-founder of Local to Global Justice and active in a number of child advocacy organizations.

Keynote Title & Abstract
Linking Global to Local in the Lives of Children and Families: Impacts of Neoliberal Policy

This paper draws from collaborative projects with colleagues in Kenya, Greece, South Africa and the USA to connect global (neoliberal and neocolonial) policies to local lives and experiences of families and children. Parent and child narratives from Kenya convey the unintended consequences of development/dependency patterns in relation to policies of the World Bank and IMF and the inherent contradictions in “education for all.” Roma families and children in Greece have continued to inhabit the margins of social society and access to education, though recent initiatives have begun to address their social and educational inclusion in more effective ways. Black parents in South African townships reflect on the persistent racism and social exclusion in post-apartheid education policies and "integrated" school practices. Finally, a brief discussion of how U.S. and Arizona policies, including English-only, anti-immigrant, and banning of Ethnic Studies curriculum, impact efforts to build alliances and work for social justice. Ally strategies and decolonizing methodologies are also discussed.

This paper documents links between globalized neoliberal policies and their impacts on programs and people in the context of local, state and national early childhood policy regimes –with emphasis on direct impacts on families and children in often marginalized groups. It draws from several studies (over the past two decades) in which I have sought to link global policies and struggles to local impacts, as well as from my experiences in anti-oppressive and social justice work in diverse communities. The paper unpacks unintended consequences, including good sense/bad sense contradictory impacts several U.S. state and federal policy initiatives, and also draw from research done internationally.

My analysis intends to complicate the discussion of model and management issues using nuanced and often contradictory observations of how state and national policies embody elements of good sense/bad sense (Gramsci, 1971) and reflect persistent hegemonies of power, privilege and neoliberal policy, even as they attempt to be “inclusive” and more “democratic.” My analysis builds upon previous early childhood policy analysis and critiques of neoliberal policy impacts (e.g., Dahlberg & Moss, 2005; Perkins, Nelms & Smyth, 2004; Ryan & Lobman, 2007; Swadener, 2003; Swadener, Kabiru & Njenga, 2000).

Drawing from a critical analysis of experiences with/in changing state and national early childhood systems, I adapt Antonio Gramsci’s notions of common and good sense to analyze the hybrid discourse propelling these initiatives and (re)consider the roles, problems and opportunities of specialist intellectuals in both perpetuating common sense (i.e. uninterrogated, assumed and often contradictory) notions of “good” early care and education and inclusive education campaigns, and acting as interlocutors to engage with colleagues in search of good sense approaches. I join other scholar-activists to rethink our analysis of understanding “the Neoliberal turn” and its impacts on the field’s engagement with policy issues and structures that intimately affect people’s lives. Specific discourses and policies include narrowing definitions of quality and readiness, eligibility issues in obtaining support with childrearing, and use of standardized accountability measures and some of the many unintended consequences directly affecting families and communities. I also draw upon postcolonial theory and decolonizing methodologies.


Workshop: Children’s rights and voices in cross-cultural contexts

This workshop draws from research focusing on children's rights and voices in several nations, with an emphasis on child consultation and participation in diverse communities.Children’s rights, as defined by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC, 1989), are examined in all their ramifications: as discourse, as law, as constitutive commitments, and as a set of policies and services that impact the everyday life experiences of children. I will share examples from countries, municipalities (including earlier work in Melbourne), and organizations that have strong public commitments to children’s rights, have created and established key infrastructures and universal entitlements to promote child and family well-being, and enacted policies to end child poverty and promote the “progressive realization” of children’s rights.

Implications for children in marginalized communities are emphasized. I will also draw examples of child consultation from a recent longitudinal study of children and families in Arizona. Participants will share ways in which their programs and research may take child rights-based approaches or aspire to do so.


Conference Registration

  • Early Bird Registration Deadline: 31 July 2012
  • Full registration is inclusive of GST and includes: teas, lunches, all conference sessions & book of abstracts.
  • All prices are inclusive of GST.
  • Registrations close Friday 9 November 2012. Late registrations may be accepted. Please email education-ceiec@unimelb.edu.au
  • Presenters are expected to pay full registration as soon as their proposals are accepted. Abstracts will be withdrawn from the conference program if registration and payment are not received within one month of proposal acceptance.
  • Cancellation fees: before 15 September 2012 - $50, 16 September - 15 October 2012 - $100. No refunds from 16 October 2012.
  • Students must submit a copy of their Student ID card showing proof of full time study status with their payment form (a letter from your University Faculty will also be acceptable).
  • Please download a registration form

Conference Social Function

The conference social function will be held on the evening of Friday 16 November 2012 at Cafe Italia. If you are interested in attending, please register your interest via email to:education-ceiec@unimelb.edu.au.

To Register

  • Send completed registration form/s by mail to:
    Attn Kate Alexander
    Melbourne Graduate School of Education
    Level 5, 100 Leicester Street Building
    The University of Melbourne
    Parkville VIC 3010 Australia

  • Or fax completed registration form/s to: +61 3 9347 9380

Payment enquiries can be directed to: education-ceiec@unimelb.edu.au


Program & Abstracts


Download a copy of the conference program

Friday 16 November
8.30am Registration Opens
9.00am-9.30am Welcome and Opening
9.30am-10.30am Keynote Presentation 1 – Professor Pat Dudgeon
10.30am-11.00am Morning Tea
11.00am-12.30pm Session 1
12.30pm-1.30pm Lunch
1.30pm-2.30pm Session 2
2.30pm-3.30pm Session 3
3.30pm-4.00pm Afternoon Tea
4.00pm-5.00pm Keynote Presentation 2 – Associate Professor Linda Mitchell
5.00pm Day Concludes

Saturday 17 November
8.30am Registration Opens
9.00am-9.30am Storytelling
9.30am-10.30am Keynote Presentation 3 – Ms Zorica Trikic
10.30am-11.00am Morning Tea
11.00am-12.00pm Session 4
12.00pm-1.00pm Session 5
1.00pm-2.00pm Lunch
2.00pm-3.30pm Session 6
3.30pm-4.00pm Afternoon Tea
4.00pm-5.00pm Keynote Presentation 4 – Professor Beth Blue Swadener
5.00pm Conference Concludes


Abstracts for papers that have been accepted will be uploaded as they become available.




Sheri Leafgren, Miami University of Ohio & Andrew Gilbert, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT)

Looking inward: Journeys in resisting assimilation into the collective consciousness of schooling as compliance.

In this learning circle, we will share rhizo/artful/narrative findings that confront the barrier-truths of the “goodness” of compliance—children’s and teachers’ compliances—as false. Our research troubles the “truths” that impede teachers’ joyful relationships with children and content, and directly challenges those school-knowledges that do harm to the spirit/identity of children.

Prasanna Srinivasan, University of Melbourne

I don't like my postcolonialism, but...

In this paper, I speak of the tension that I grapple with when using postcolonial theories to make meaning of my research experiences. I speak with some of our ‘cultural’ interactions from my study, to complement how these theories interact with ‘them’ and ‘us’, by dividing, yet uniting our experiences with our postcolonial backdrop.

Dr Miriam Giugni, Ms Anna Whitty, & Ms Bronwyn Tamplin, Goodstart Early Learning

From ABC to Goodstart: The shift from corporate to not for profit early learning

Perspectives about whether or not early learning should be for, or not for profit, vary across Australia. This presentation explores some of those perspectives highlighting some of the local differences in everyday practice in what were ABC Learning but are now Goodstart Early Learning Centres.

Sophie Ruldoph & Katherine Watson, Collingwood College

Supporting Diversity and Seeking Equity: Class Conversations and Pedagogical Documentation for Democracy in Lower Primary School Classroom

The practice of holding class conversations while seated together in a circle on the floor has become embedded in the pedagogy of Collingwood College.  This year the teachers from Prep to Grade Four conducted research asking: how does pedagogical documentation and listening to children contribute to democratic learning communities?

Cassandra Kotsanas, Sharon Saitta, Emma Buchanan, Kim Browne, Claudine Lam, Bruce Hurst & Kirsten Courtney, University of Melbourne

Challenging (and being challenged by!) power and knowledge as postgraduate researchers: Shared stories from a postgrad group.

Postgraduate researchers at different stages of the research process will share their stories of using poststructuralist conceptual and methodological tools to honour equity. Themes such as first forays into theory, deconstructing documents, getting ethical approval, positioning yourself as a researcher and inviting collaborative analysis will be explored through the frames of our different research topics.

Jennifer Moule, The University of British Columbia

Early childhood anti-bullying curriculum and constructing the "problem child".

The more recent infiltration of bully discourses into preschools makes its problematisation particularly poignant. This research, and the session's discussion, intends to deconstruct images of the “problem child” and how they are contributed to via discourses of bullying, and the use of “anti-bullying” curriculum in early childhood settings.

Natalie Jones, Janice Deans, Margaret Bakes, University of Melbourne Early Learning Centre & Jessica Adams, Kids’ Own Publishing

A Recipe for Community

This workshop follows from the 2007 workshop, ‘Peace on the Farm’ and presents a funded community project, ‘A Recipe for Community’,  that brought a group of preschool children together with differently-abled adults to explore relationship building via a ‘meet and eat’ and art-making in the local community.

Heather Campbell, Charles Sturt University

Body Talk: How female teachers talk to young girls about their genitals. Euphemism and denial and their impact upon identity formation

How do Early Childhood and primary school professionals approach discussions with female children about those children's genitalia? A lack of commonly accepted terminology, simply and freely communicated, leaves many girls unable to talk about their own bodies without resorting to euphemism, something that affects identity formation.

Claudine Lam, Education (Early Years) NMIT

How do we know the child: uncovering the dominant discourses in the Transition Learning and Development Statement.

This paper will explore beginning research into the Transition Learning and Development Statement as the sanctioned transition practice within Victoria. It will critically examine how dominant discourses of the child, parent and educator inform our (mis)understandings of the child and challenge what can be known about the child.

Helen (Mel) Hazard,
Charles Darwin University

Troubling Truths: An Intruder’s story of Early Childhood Teacher training in Remote Aboriginal Australia

Using a story of my experience walking into a remote NT Aboriginal community childcare centre which has grown to implement a local Aboriginal community’s vision of early childhood education, I consider how truths I have brought with me from our regional university early childhood teacher education program have been unsettled.

Cassandra Kotsanas, University of Melbourne

Early childhood educators creating practical and theoretical possibilities for children’s participation rights in the everyday

This presentation draws on research that aimed to bridge the theory/practice divide in relation to children’s participation rights. It explores the process of creating a space for educators to engage with theories and to interrogate the practical implications of theory on the everyday participation of children in early childhood curriculum.

Sophie Alcock, Unitec Institute of Technology & Maggie Haggerty, Victoria University of Wellington

Play, interests, and modalities: A nexus of possibilities for addressing issues of equity and inclusion

This paper is a response to the increasing national and global emphasis on ECE as preparation for academic school success, manifested in a raft of literacy policy initiatives (Ministry of Education, 2009, 2011; Education Review Office, 2007, 2011). In this paper we explore the New Zealand context in which this situation has arisen despite the open-ness of the early childhood curriculum, Te Whaariki (1996) and a growing body of research that emphasises the complexities involved in modes of learning (Kress, 1997; Malloch & Trevarthen, 2009; Wohlwend, 2008).

Dr Susan Krieg, School of Education, Flinders University

Play, purpose and power: Revisiting the links between play, literacy and social justice

In an age of measurable literacy outcomes, a play based approach to literacy learning is at risk. This paper acknowledges that whilst young children learn to be literate in many ways, some of the ways young children learn to be literate are more socially just than others. Freebody and Luke’s (1990) framework offers a valuable tool for exploring this assertion. The paper re-visits research indicating that play provides the most authentic opportunity for young children to become literate for it offers children the opportunity to use their literacies in powerful ways to not merely replicate their worlds but to also challenge and transform them.

Alexandra Gunn, University of Otago

Inclusive early childhood education: Provocations for teacher education design and practice.

This paper examines inclusive education from the perspectives of initial teacher educators and teachers in the field. Do these groups of teachers talk past each other when considering inclusion? And what might it matter anyway? Provocations and perspectives will be examined and challenges for teaching discussed.

Bruce Hurst, University of Melbourne

Older children in Outside School Hours Care: deconstructing the discourses of the difficult child

It is a widely accepted "truth" that children aged 9 to 12 years in Outside School Hours Care are challenging. This paper presents preliminary results of research into the experiences of older children in OSHC. It explores and seeks to disrupt the discourse of difficult older child.

Zsuzsa Millei, The University of Newcastle

‘Community’ nexus ‘democratic practice’ in ECEC: a critique and a possibility through the optic of Roberto Esposito

‘Community’ is a pervasive and uncontested concept, which underpins ‘best practice’ in ECEC. ‘Democratic practice’ appears increasingly in the literature as solution for particular problems. This paper looks at the association and contentions between these concepts and suggests Esposito’s idea of communitas as a useful way to think about ‘community’ in nexus with ‘democratic practice’.

Siobhan Hannan, University of Melbourne

Practitioner Research in Early Childhood Education

Reflective practice is now mandatory in Australia for early childhood educators. The spread of reflective teaching practice may increase academic research by practitioners if appropriate methods can be established. In this presentation, I will discuss ethical and methodological issues I confronted while exploring ways to research my own teaching practice.

Dr Karina Davis, Claudine Lam, Dr Karen Grubb & Karen Szydlik, NMIT, other presenters TBC

Working to build communities of learners through troubling truths in early childhood teacher education

This presentation will outline how changes in education have impacted an early childhood education teacher program. It will also discuss how the program, its staff and students are working to build a critical community of learners approach to pre-service teacher education that attempts to meet transition needs of HE students.

Carmel Phillips, VCAA, Dr Priscilla Clarke, Early childhood consultant, Maggie Bishop, VCAA & Sandie Prouse, CEO, FKA Children’s Services

Cultural Identity and responsive relationships

In Australia there are many children in early childhood services for who English is not their first or home language. The VEYLDF acknowledges that the families and communities in which children live are diverse and that responsive relationships support children’s learning and development. This workshop will provide an overview of the importance of maintaining the home language(s) and the vital role that early childhood professionals play in this.

Bridget Healey, DEECD & Dr Anne Kennedy, Consultant

Equity, Diversity and the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework

How can early childhood professionals help to bridge divides for equity in relation to children living with vulnerabilities? This workshop will challenge participants to critically reflect on issues of equity and diversity in early childhood practice, and propose approaches to ensuring equitable and respectful approaches to working with children and families, through the lens of the VEYLDF.

Merlyne Cruz, University of Melbourne

“I don’t have a choice. I’m compelled to just keep going.” Early childhood educators’ commitment to cultural diversity

My thesis explores the perspectives, principles, pedagogical practices and lived experiences of a group of early childhood educators as they honour cultural diversity. Theoretically and methodologically, my work is located within critical theoretical and bricolage approaches. The study is concerned not only with divergent methods of inquiry but with diverse theoretical and philosophical understandings of the various elements encountered in the act of research. In this presentation, I share my reconstructed understandings of the topic and humbly suggest what I see as possibilities for creating and sustaining commitment to cultural diversity.

Carmel Phillips & Kerryn Lockett, VCAA & Dr Jane Page & Dr Kylie Smith, University of Melbourne

Inquiry to Implemenation:exploring evidence of children's learning and development and connections with planning decisions.

Two inquiry projects (2010-2012) with early childhood professionals, policy-makers and researchers are informing implementation of the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework. Drawing on participant experiences in multidisciplinary groupings, this session foregrounds opportunities and challenges in documenting and assessing children’s learning to improve outcomes and inform planning in settings for children and families across birth to eight.

Dr Hannan Sukkar & Dr Sivanes Phillipson, Faculty of Education, Monash University

Sharing Stories of Bridging Divides for Equity

Family practices impact on children’s development and learning outcomes. It is a shared concern that families face issues of access and culturally responsive partnership with educators. The studies highlight strengths and weaknesses of existing social and cultural relations that effect children’s learning and development across diverse communities, cultures and childhoods.

Glenn Shea

The Storyteller: Australian Board Game Educational Resource

In this workshop participants will engage with The Storyteller board game, a multi-tiered educational resource that, in the words of its creator Glenn Shea, aims to "provide knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal people, society and culture from a generic and non-political perspective through alternative active learning pathways”. The Storyteller is currently used in diverse settings (schools, universities, neighbourhood houses) to further teaching and learning goals for intercultural understanding.

Michelle Hollier Newsome, Centre Director & Dr Miriam Giugni, Research pedagogue, Goodstart Early Learning

Overrated: Calling the National Quality Framework into Question

Goodstart Early Learning Centre at Bankstown in Sydney's South West was one of the first centres in Australia to experience the new Assessment and Rating process set out by ACECQA. This presentation tells the story about how the early childhood educators at the centre approached their Assessment process.

Karen Schnieder & Emma Lindner, Monash Children’s Centre Clayton

We DO do theory here

Collaborative Leadership; Whilst participating in a Bastow Leadership Course, two early childhood teachers empower a diverse community of educators to embrace their professional identity, reflect critically on their practice and 'get comfortable' with contemporary theories.

Dr Kylie Smith, University of Melbourne

Creating ruptures in the neo-liberal agenda to create new lines of flight for Australian early childhood Educators

In this paper I will engage with the concept of rhyzoanalysis to map current discourses of the neo-liberal early childhood educator and trace feminist poststructural and feminist postcolonial theories over this mapping to create raptures and ‘new lines of flight’ to make visible other fairer identity discourses for early childhood educators. This paper will advocate critical and alternative perspectives on ECEC policy issues to support educators to resist neoliberal discourses and engage and advocate for ‘otherwise’ understandings of their teaching world.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

An A-Z of Conference FAQ, updated as your questions arrive.

Where can I find relatively cheap accommodation?
Check out our accommodation list for accommodation near the University. It has accommodation of various pricing levels listed.

Financial Support
Can you provide financial support for delegates? Can you sponsor delegates?
We are a not-for-profit organization and therefore are unable to provide financial assistance to individuals cannot afford the charges (registration fee, airfare and accommodation costs) that may be incurred in attending our conference. We must cover all costs associated with the conference. We can only provide financial support for delegates if we receive sponsorship or specific grant-aid for specific delegates.

Can you print copies of the notes and handouts I want to give to the people that attend my session?
We are unable to print notes, slides, readings or handouts for presenters to distribute in their sessions. We recommend that presenters bring along approximately 20-30 copies of the materials they wish to distribute. If this is not enough, we suggest taking down contact details of people and sending electronic copies after the conference.
What day and time will my session be?
Presenters are expected to be available to present their sessions at any time during the conference. Presenters will be notified of the date and time of their presentation on 22nd June 2012. A copy of the conference program will be available via the conference website in early November.
How can I publish my conference paper?
All presenters are encouraged to publish their fully written papers via IJEIEC. For submission details, visit: http://www.education.unimelb.edu.au/ceiec/resources/journal.html


What happens if I have registered but can no longer attend the conference?
Please let us know in writing as soon as possible either by email (education-ceiec@unimelb.edu.au) or fax (+61 3 9347 9380). We are a not-for-profit organisation and must cover all costs associated with the conference. Cancellation fees for cancelled conference registrations do apply. Registrations cancelled before 15 September 2012 will incur a $50 cancellation charge. Registrations cancelled between 16 September-15 October 2012 will incur a $100 cancellation charge. Please note that there are no refunds on registrations cancelled on or after 16 October 2012.

Visas for Australia

What type of visa do I need to attend the conference?
Every international visitor should familiarize themselves with visa requirements well in advance of the conference. We encourage you to apply for your visa as early as possible, at least three (3) months prior to the conference. We CANNOT INTERVENE with Australian Embassies abroad or the Department of Immigration and Citizenship in Australia on behalf of any conference participant.
However, if you need a personal letter of invitation to be able to present or attend the conference, please:

  • submit your abstract (if presenting);
  • complete the registration process;
  • pay the registration fee and
  • provide via email ( education-ceiec@unimelb.edu.au) or fax (+61 3 9347 9380) the following information:
    • Full Name
    • Complete Mailing Address (including phone and fax numbers)
    • Passport Number / Country Issued
    • Date of Birth

Your letter will be e-mailed (pdf format) and mailed to you, so request it well in advance of when you expect to need it. For more information on Visa application, please visit http://www.immi.gov.au/ or contact your local consulate.

Do you need volunteers? If yes, what's the arrangement?
We are no longer accepting applications for volunteers for the 2012 conference.

Call for Papers

Call for papers

The Call for Papers for the 2012 Conference is now open.
Deadline: Friday 1 June 2012

Conference Themes and Aims

We invite seminars, colloquia, workshops and learning circles that explore the issues and questions that address the broad conference themes in the early childhood and children's services field. Papers that explore these themes as they apply to pedagogies, practices, programs, policies, theories and research will be especially welcomed. We invite papers that share stories of hope, challenge and/or change in relation to these themes and that inspire others to work for change within their areas of responsibility in children's services and early childhood.

2012 Conference Themes:

  • Tactics and strategies for change
  • Challenging power and knowledge
  • Querying communities
  • Valuing/validating diversity in practices and policies
  • Shifting and searching for theoretical possibilities and perspectives
  • Sharing stories of bridging divides for equity

We invite proposals that explore the following questions:

  • How can we trouble truths to honour equity?

  • What actions are we taking or might we take to explore bridging divides for equity?

  • What tactics and strategies for change have been explored?

  • How can we explore issues of challenging power and knowledge?

  • How can we query communities?

  • How can we value and/or validate diversity in practice and policies?

  • What has research and practice raised in the search for diverse theoretical possibilities and perspectives in honouring equity?

  • How can we share stories of bridging divides for equity?

The delegates - your audience
The conference is an annual international conference attended by academics, activists, professionals and policy makers. In 2011 the conference attracted delegates from countries including Australia, Canada, The Netherlands, New Zealand, United Kingdom and the United States of America. Some delegates return annually, some will be attending for the first time.

Review of Proposals

On the Wednesday 13th June 2012, Equity and Childhood Program staff will review all proposals submitted to the conference for presentation. Presenters will be notified of a decision regarding their submission on Friday 22nd June 2012 along with their presentation date and time.


  1. All papers will be reviewed by at least 2 Equity and Childhood Program staff members. These reviews will be blind reviews.
  2. Where a conflict of interest is registered, reviews will be conducted by external reviewers who will be selected by the conference convenor.
  3. A third reviewer may be sought if there is not consensus about the initial review.
  4. The conference convenor will make the final decision about acceptance of papers.
  5. The conference convenor reserves the right to invite paper presentations and these will not be subject to the review process.
  6. We value contributions from first time presenters and practitioner researchers and will support strongly proposals from these groups by offering detailed and helpful feedback on proposals from these groups.

Review procedure:

  • Papers received
  • Acknowledgment of receipt of paper submision via email by conference committee by Friday 8 June 2012
  • Papers organised for distribution to reviewers with the review form and criteria for acceptance
  • Each paper to be reviewed by two reviewers against the criteria for acceptance
  • Reviewers complete the review form and forward to the conference convenor
  • Decision reached on 13th June 2012
  • Presenters notified of decision on 22nd June 2012

Criteria for acceptance:

  • Clear presentation of ideas
  • Sound rationale for the proposal
  • Related to conference themes
  • Follows submission format
  • Includes abstract

Submitting a Proposal

All intending presenters are required to:

Refer to review process for more details.

Registration for presenters

Presenters are expected to pay full registration as soon as their proposals are accepted (download a Conference Registration Form). Abstracts will be withdrawn from the conference program if registration and payment are not received within one month of proposal acceptance.

Mentors for 'novice' presenters

Are you a 'novice' presenter? Would you like a mentor to help with your proposal? Mentors can support 'novice' presenters in preparing a proposal, developing a paper and a presentation. Please email education-ceiec@unimelb.edu.au if you would like further information.


Milly Sydney Martindale Conference Award

Dr Sue Atkinson is a Yorta Yorta woman who has been involved in Early Childhood Education and Care for over 30 years and in Indigenous early childhood education and care since 1985. Sue was the first Koorie person to graduate as a kindergarten teacher in Victoria. Sue recently gained her PhD by examining "Indigenous self determination and early childhood education and care" with wonderful support from her Victorian Indigenous community. She currently is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne's Youth Research Centre's Equity and Childhood Program (formally the Centre for Equity and Innovation in Early Childhood).

Sue has developed six $200 awards called the Milly Sydney Martindale Conference Awards in honour of her late Godmother.
The awards are specifically designed to support students studying early childhood who are experiencing financial hardship to be able to attend the Equity and Childhood Program's Honoring the Child, Honoring Equity Conference. The Awards will cover the cost of a Student Full Conference Registration.

Applications are now closed. Applicants will be informed of a decision regarding their application by Tuesday 9th October 2012.

Equity and Childhood Program Conference Award

The Equity and Childhood Program at the Youth Research Centre, University of Melbourne is pleased to announce that it is presenting three awards to express its commitment to equity and change in research and professional development. Every year, the Equity and Childhood Program hosts the ‘Honoring the Child, Honoring Equity’ conference. The conference is an annual international conference attended by academics, activists, professionals and policy makers. The award will cover the full cost of conference registration fees. This is an award that is open to all staff currently working in the early childhood field or in the early years of school, including those with Certificate III, Associate Diplomas, Diplomas and Bachelor qualifications. The aim of this award is to support educators working in early childhood, who do not have access to funding to attend professional development, especially in the area of equity and social justice.

Who can apply?
The award hopes to fund early childhood practitioners who are interested in attending our conference, as a way to support practice for equity in their everyday work with children and families, who may otherwise be unable to attend due to lack of access to funding for professional development.
We would like to encourage all early childhood educators working in long day care centres, kindergartens, and other children’s services including family day care, outside school hours care and the early years of school. We would specifically like to invite staff working in rural early childhood settings.

Applications are now closed. Applicants will be informed of a decision regarding their application by Monday 8th October 2012.


Sponsorship & Exhibition

Honoring the Child, Honoring Equity conference delegates - Who attends?
Honoring the Child, Honouring Equity conferences are attended by people who are:

  • Diverse in their professional backgrounds and includes representatives from health, education, welfare backgrounds.
  • Diverse in their place of employment and include representatives from local, state and commonwealth government, advocacy groups, academics and practitioner groups.
  • Diverse in their geographical location with rural and regional presenters and local, national and international delegates.

Delegates include students, practitioners, policy makers, managers, trainers and researchers. The 2011 conference attracted almost 100 participants from six countries and delegates to previous Honoring the Child, Honoring Equity conferences have come from Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan, Belgium, China, Norway, The Netherlands, Ireland, Thailand, Sweden and Demark.

Advertisement Policy

We are committed to social justice and children's rights and our annual conference is part of our program to support this commitment. To this end, we will accept advertisement from organisations and individuals whose practices and policies are consistent with and/or in no way diminish this commitment.

Potential advertisers and exhibitors please download an information and application form.

Conference Sponsorship

We are committed to social justice and children's rights and our annual conference is part of our program to support this commitment. To this end, we will seek sponsorship from organisations and individuals whose practices and policies are consistent with and/or in no way diminish this commitment. Conference sponsorships will receive varying levels of visibility at the conference appropriate to their financial support.

Our annual international conference offers a wide range of promotional opportunities, which you can use to communicate directly with the international early childhood field. We offer Diamond, Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze Conference Promotional Packages and Keynote Sponsorship Packages.

Please contact us via email (education-ceiec@unimelb.edu.au) for more information on conference sponsorship.