Tuesday, 19 March 2024

ELEVATE - Early Education Online Conference

Celebrating Being: Nurturing Children's Authentic Selves

Be inspired by stories and approaches that illustrate how you can foster an environment where every child feels understood and valued

Our popular 1-day online conference will focus on fostering inclusive education, understanding diverse perspectives, and nurturing the holistic development of every child, all while embracing the latest updates to the EYLF V2.0.

  • One SERVICE ticket provides access for your entire team 
  • Individual SINGLE tickets also available  
  • Sessions to inspire ALL LEVELS of ECEC professionals 
  • LIVE streaming format 
  • All attendees will receive a certificate of attendance for the session/s they attend 
  • A recording of the sessions will be available after the conference

A fundamental role of educators is to guide each child in recognising and valuing their inherent identity, paving the way for a future where they can confidently express themselves and respect the diversity of others.

Michele Carnegie, CELA CEO

Event details



Tuesday, 19 March 2024 - 9.00am-4.00pm (AEST)
or view a recording at a time that suits you or your team

We realise that many services are facing serious staffing challenges at the moment. If you book a ticket and you or a team member can't make a session, a recording will be made available after the event.


Online - Live streaming

What you'll discover

From understanding how to create inclusive play spaces, to facilitating mixed-age groupings and implementing the Zones of Regulation, our jam-packed program begins with stories and approaches from exercise physiologist Robyn Papworth, Director Niki Moodie, and ECT Kirsty Piendl and Educational Leader Melanie Elderton.

Our afternoon sessions are designed to deepen your understanding and skills in creating inclusive and nurturing environments. Dr Rachel Chapman will explore key questions surrounding the importance of addressing gender representations in educational settings. Cultural advisor Lisa Walker, in conversation with CELA's Jannelle Gallagher, will discuss how to create a nurturing environment that respects and celebrates First Nations educators and children.

To conclude the day, autism advocate and keynote speaker Travis Saunders will provide insights into autism and family life, sharing what parents wish educators knew from day one, plus strategies for effective communication and relationship building.

Note: The session is not NESA accredited, however teachers may consider using this course towards their Elective PD, to maintain teacher accreditation requirements in line with the Elective PD Guidelines.

Did you know that choosing CELA as your training parter benefits you and your team?

CELA is a not for profit peak body. Any profits from training fees are reinvested into our advocacy work, member benefits and professional development initiatives.

The Elevate Conference always has knowledgeable speakers and is a highlight of my yearly professional development. It's great to have access to the recordings so you can go back and refresh yourself on information presented."

Cheryl I, Preschool Director - Elevate 2023 attendee


9.00am-9.15amWelcome ~ Michele Carnegie CEO, CELA

9.20am-10.20am Creating inclusive play environments for children with special needs

Robyn Papworth - Paediatric exercise physiologist and developmental education specialist

This workshop aims to empower educators with the knowledge and skills to design and implement inclusive play environments for children with special needs and development delays. 

Workshop Outline: 

  • Understanding the importance of inclusive play 
  • Types of special needs and their impact on play 
  • Challenges faced by children with special needs 
  • Adapting existing spaces for inclusivity 
  • Strategies for promoting interaction 
  • Building empathy and understanding 

10.35am-11.20amHow letting children group by interest, rather than age, can create a community rather than a classroom

Niki Moodie - Director, The Rumpus Room

Niki Moodie explores the transformative approach of grouping children by interest rather than age, to cultivate a community of learners rather than a traditional classroom. This session delves into the journey towards an inclusive setting that embraces all ages, recognising children as unique individuals leading their own learning journey.

Workshop outline:

  • Benefits of mixed-age grouping: Exploring the advantages for children and educators, including enhanced learning experiences and opportunities for personal growth.
  • Implementing interest-based grouping: Practical strategies for creating an environment where children can lead their learning, and staff can draw upon their strengths and passions.
  • Tailoring mixed-age grouping to fit the unique needs of your service and community.
  • Navigating the path toward change: Tips on maintaining momentum through reflective practices and open communication within your team.

11.25am-12.25pmUsing the Zones of Regulation with young children

Kirsty Piendl and Melanie Elderton, Explore & Develop 

Working closely with an occupational therapist to support a specific child in managing their emotions inspired the implementation of the Zones of Regulation at Explore & Develop Annandale. Zones of Regulation, created by Leah Kuyper, has now become a teaching tool for the whole preschool group at Explore & Develop Annandale. Kuyper’s work transforms the complex notion of self-regulation, as developed by Stuart Shanker, into a child-appropriate tool to support children in understanding their emotions and associated behaviours.

Workshop outline: 

  • Learn about the Zones of Regulation and how the program’s success at E&D Annandale prompted the teaching team to consider how the Zones could support younger children’s developing emotional literacy, while also providing a framework for the team to talk about their own mental health and emotional well-being.
  • Find out how the Zones of Regulation have become an embedded practice and the tools the team use to support self-regulation.
  • Hear stories of how the Zones have supported families at home. 

1.10pm-1.55pm Cultural safety for First Nations educators and children


Lisa Walker, Cultural Advisor in conversation with CELA's Jannelle Gallagher


"Cultural safety is the positive recognition and celebration of cultures. It is more than just the absence of racism or discrimination and more than ‘cultural awareness’ and ‘cultural sensitivity’. It empowers people, enables them to contribute, and feel safe to be themselves.” (SNAICC, 2021)

Cultural safety is essential for the well-being of First Nations children, families, communities, and team members, representing a lifelong journey of mutual cultural learning. Unlike simply avoiding racism or discrimination, cultural safety celebrates diverse cultures, empowering individuals to fully participate and be themselves. Neglecting cultural safety can have detrimental effects on First Nations communities.

During our yarn with Lisa, we will unpack what cultural safety looks and feels like in an early learning service and the cultural harm that can impact on First Nations families, children, and team members when there is a lack of cultural safety.

Lisa will share her vast experience in creating a culturally safe environment, gifting educators practical examples of how their service can begin and sustain their journey toward being an authentic and culturally safe space where First Nations peoples feel welcomed, respected and valued for who they are and what they bring to your space.

2.00pm-2.45pm Impacts of media representation of gender in early childhood education

Dr Rachel Chapman, Lecturer and Curriculum Specialist, Melbourne Polytechnic

This workshop delves into the effects of gender representation in media and popular culture on children and early childhood education. Rachel will explore key questions surrounding the importance of addressing gender representations in educational settings, the selection of resources mindful of these representations, and the overall impact on young learners.

Workshop outline:

  • Examine contemporary research in this area, including Rachel's research study that examined early childhood educators’ perceptions and understandings of gender identities, and their roles within early childhood settings.  
  • Explore the need for the enactment of gender-inclusive and expansive practices through addressing gender holistically in practice, including an understanding of the messages being delivered through media, including popular culture and books. 
  • Understand implications for future practice in early childhood education.  
  • Gain practical guidance on analysing, selecting and utilising resources. 

2.55pm-3.55pmEmbracing autism and thinking differently

Travis Saunders, autism advocate and keynote speaker

Autism advocate, mentor and keynote speaker Travis Saunders will take you on a journey to provide a deep dive into autism and family life. He explores what all parents wish teachers understood about their child from day one. Teachers will leave with strategies to support effective communication and develop long-term relationships with children and their whole family. 

Workshop outline:

  • How and why Travis and his family cycled 5,600 kms across the USA with their autistic son Patch, and how he learned to communicate via spelling on a letterboard. 
  • What an autism diagnosis looks and feels like for the entire family 
  • The importance of embracing autism and thinking differently 
  • How presuming competence changes lives 
  • Why words matter 
  • The importance of community 
  • Communication: Choice and control 
  • Meaningful participation, equal rights and active inclusion 


"This presentation is emotional, it's uplifting, it's thought-provoking… and ultimately help you build a community for the neurodivergent children that you support." 

Hear from Autism advocate and keynote speaker, Travis Saunders:

Limited availability. Don't miss out.

Choose your ticket type now

You can choose between a single ticket or a service ticket depending on your needs and requirements.


$350 member / $450 non member

For individual educators 

Recordings will be made available after the conference for those who are unable to attend on the day. A certificate of attendance will be issued for each session you attend. 


Note: During booking, please add one attendee name only.


$450 member / $550 non member

For one service to enable multiple educators to attend the day 
Recordings will be made available after the conference for those who are unable to attend on the day. A certificate of attendance will be issued for each session you attend. 


Note: During booking, please add one attendee name only. Additional attendee details will be gathered in the feedback survey after the session. 

Hear what CELA early education specialist Jannelle Gallagher says about this year's event

Meet the facilitators

Robyn Papworth ~ Paediatric exercise physiologist and developmental education specialist

Robyn Papworth

Robyn Papworth is a dynamic force in paediatric exercise physiology and developmental education. With a master's degree under her belt and a personal journey through neurodiversity stemming from childhood trauma, Robyn brings a unique and empathetic perspective to her work. Her burning passion? Equipping educators, teachers, and families with the tools and understanding to champion children facing challenges like trauma, ASD, ADHD, dyspraxia, cerebral palsy, and dyslexia.  

Through innovative play and movement-based learning strategies, she fosters joyful connection and progress. As the brain behind Play Move Improve, Robyn crafts invaluable pathways to support early childhood education and overall well-being. She hosts the "Play Move Improve" podcast, making movement and play a fun, interactive experience for all. 

Niki Moodie ~ Director, The Rumpus Room

Niki Moodie

Niki Moodie is a devoted mother, loving wife, and dedicated teacher. Her career journey, fuelled by a deep passion for early learning, is academically backed by a double degree in Early Childhood and Primary Education.

Over the span of eight fruitful years, Niki has committed herself to a single centre, a nurturing ground where she has evolved through various roles, currently serving as a Director. This role has allowed her to champion best practices in early childhood education, share her fervent passion with others, achieve professional milestones, and continually engage in reflection and growth. Her path in early education is not just a career but a calling, driven by a willingness to explore new ideas and a commitment to excellence in nurturing young minds.

Kirsty Piendl ~ ECT at Explore & Develop Annandale

Kirsty Piendl, E&D Annandale

Kirsty Piendl is an early childhood teacher at Explore & Develop Annandale. She is currently studying Neuroscience and Education at the University of New England. Kirsty is interested in mental health and well-being and advocates for inclusive education and social justice. 

Melanie Elderton ~ Educational Leader at Explore & Develop Annandale

Melanie Elderton, E&D Annandale

Melanie Elderton is the Educational Leader at Explore & Develop Annandale. She holds a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education, a Bachelor of Arts (Art History) and a Bachelor of Art and Social Science Research (Honours). She is passionate about arts-based practice, education for sustainability, social justice and inspired leadership. 

Dr Rachel Chapman - Melbourne Polytechnic

Dr Rachel Chapman

Dr Rachel Chapman is an academic in early childhood education at Melbourne Polytechnic in Melbourne, Australia. Her research areas include gender, sexuality, early childhood education, media, popular culture, diversity, inclusion, policy and teacher practice. She has over 20 years of experience teaching, lecturing and researching in the early childhood sector. She is on the board of Social Justice in Early Childhood. Her book "Gender expansion in early childhood education: Building and supporting pro-diversity spaces" was published with Palgrave Macmillan in late 2023. 

Lisa Walker ~ Cultural advisor

Lisa Walker

Lisa Walker is a proud Galibal woman from Bundjalung Country, Far North Coast, NSW and has ties to the Yuin, Yaegl and Gubbi Gubbi Nations. She has worked across the ECE sector for the past 17 years in local, State, National and Global roles and started her own cultural consultancy 3 years ago to promote understanding of her Peoples' diverse ways of being and doing.

Lisa is grounded in connection to both her Country and mob and advocates for much needed change for her people through grassroots two-way respectful engagement. She believes all jarjums (children) deserve the same opportunities to belong, learn, thrive and succeed in life and it is our role as big people to guide them through this, after all they are our future generations.

Travis Saunders ~ Autism advocate and keynote speaker

Travis Saunders

Travis has a long history of advocacy for Autistic Australians as a father, educator, speaker, as Vice Chair of Autism Camp Australia and through the Australian Autism Research Council. Travis produced and presented the award-winning ABC podcast The Parenting Spectrum. In 2020 he was awarded Autism Spectrum Australia’s Parent/Carer of the Year. In 2023 he was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to investigate models of support that enable Autistic people to access and enjoy bushwalking. He is the founder of Inclusive Trails, supporting neurodivergent people outdoors. Travis is the proud father of an Autistic son who communicates using a letterboard.

Thank you for a totally awesome and inspiring day. It was well worth the money and time. I have so much to think and reflect on with my team. 

Terry A, Preschool Director - Elevate 2023 attendee

Not sure what ticket type to choose? Have other questions?

Get in touch! We are here to help. Call us on 1800 157 818 or email training@cela.org.au


When will the recordings be made available?

The recording will be made available to ticket holders via email within 1 week of the event. The recording will remain available to view until Friday, 5 April 2024. 

For how long will the recordings be available?

The recordings will remain available to view until Friday, 5 April 2024. 

When will I receive my certificate of attendance?

A survey will be sent out after the event to gather attendee details. Details will need to be completed for a certificate to be issued. All certificates will be sent by email before Friday 12 April. 

19 March 2024

Elevate your professional development

Enhance your team’s knowledge on celebrating being by creating a inclusive space that nurtures children's authentic selves. 


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