Little People, Big Dreams event offers abundant opportunities to reconnect
The Sector > Quality > Professional development > Little People, Big Dreams event offers abundant opportunities to reconnect

Little People, Big Dreams event offers abundant opportunities to reconnect

by Freya Lucas

September 16, 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic changed many things about the way in which the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector both functions and is viewed.


For all its many challenges, the pandemic highlighted the value of the sector, of professional relationships, and of time spent together to connect, reflect and explore the nuances of pedagogy and practice. 


Every year, but particularly in 2022, after two years of restricted travel opportunities, the Little People, Big Dreams conference, hosted by Child Australia with the support of the Northern Territory Government as a major partner, offers an opportunity for individuals and services to come together and experience a range of local and national presentations that highlight innovation, the latest research and practice, and opportunities for connection with colleagues. 


Designed for teachers, educators, parents, policymakers and sector leaders, Little People Big Dreams allows opportunities for exploring themes related to the full range of children’s learning and development from birth to 12 years of age. 


The conference is an inclusive event for all service types, with the Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) sector especially welcomed to share perspectives and experiences and collaborate with professional peers. 


Keynotes and workshops to reflect and engage


The conference format offers something for every type of learner, with a keynote musical presentation from Dr Red Ruby Scarlet and Louise Dorrat in NQF The Musical, paired with a presentation from fellow keynote speaker Playworker Angus Gorrie to concurrent workshop sessions which explore everything from practical ideas for loose parts play to providing trauma sensitive ECEC, there are abundant opportunities for learning. 


In 2022, a new format offers the opportunity for learning before the big event, with pre conference masterclasses consisting of a two day educational leaders forum and road to excellence bus tour.


Underlying all the presentations is an emphasis on supporting one another, delving deeper into notions of wellbeing and mental health, and a sense of getting back on track post pandemic. The conference program is a genuine opportunity for personal and professional growth. 


“During the pandemic we observed, in their play, children playing with heavy, possibly scary themes, as they came to grips with ‘the new normal’ alongside the caring adults in their lives” Angus explained. 


“This ability to play out, and give context to things which confront us, at all ages, is a critical benefit of the play process and one not to be dismissed.”

Angus’ session will focus on unpacking play – we know that we ‘need’ to play… but WHY do we play? 


“Play is crucial to children’s lives, in many more ways than commonly perceived. I want to arm educators with the confidence to advocate for play, and find greater purpose in their roles.”


Highlighting the importance of play


While play is often seen at best as “a bit of fun for children” and at worst as something that happens in and around “the important stuff” Mr Gorrie’s keynote aims to help delegates to remember that play is the work of early childhood. 


He will discuss the history of the Adventure Playground movement from its beginnings through to the present day, also exploring the concept of Playwork, and the way in which play offers children a world of  educational, developmental and psychological benefits. 


During the session, Angus will give attendees the inspiration, evidence base and dialogue they need to return to their service with a ‘call to action’ around the vital importance of play in children’s lives.


“Play often comes second fiddle to adult agendas, outcomes and educational frameworks. This session will frame play not as the thing that happens when important stuff is not, but rather as the most critical pursuit of children,” he said. 


For more information about Little People, Big Dreams, please see here. To register for tickets, follow this link

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