Keynote Speakers

The Organising Committee is pleased to confirm the following speakers:


Dr Dan Siegel

Brain research continues to show us that childhood is a time of incredible neural growth. A child’s brain literally changes shape in response to everything it encounters – from new experiences to through to positive/negative relationships.

As professionals working with children it is critical that each of us understands the influence that we can have on this growth in order to be able to nurture a child towards a positive healthy life trajectory.

Dr. Dan Siegel is a leading expert in all things “neuroscience “and child development. He provides practical strategies that have enabled many parents and professionals throughout the world, to improve on their own approaches on supporting children in a variety of contexts. We are extremely privileged to have Dr. Siegel join us at the Early Childhood Learning & Development Conference this year. Not only is this his first time visiting WA, but he will share insights on the child’s developing mind that will leave you enthralled.

Dr. Siegel has such a brilliant, unique way of explaining key concepts and thought-processes that instantly creates a way for you to connect and recall for use in your practice. In the videos below you will hear Dr. Siegel speak about ‘the hand model’ of the brain and how as adults we can ‘flip our lids’ with children. This self-awareness, or ‘Mindfulness’ is critical when working with children.

Video Links
Hand Model of the Brain
Connecting to Calm
Nurturing a child’s developing mind through connection

There is also a wonderful documentary with several (including Dr. Siegel) of the world’s leading experts on Trauma, Relationships and the effects on the child’s developing brain.

While many of Dr. Siegel’s videos are aimed at ‘parents’, his message is universal. He has presented extensively around the world to all professionals working with children from 0 to 18 years in varying capacities from Education and Care, Schools, Academic Institutions, through to Health and Medical professionals.

Dr. Siegel truly is a wealth of knowledge, and Child Australia is honoured to present practitioners from all walks of life with this once in a lifetime opportunity to hear his words of wisdom at the ECLD 17 Conference.

Jack Shonkoff

Shonkoff photoJack P. Shonkoff, M.D., is the Julius B. Richmond FAMRI Professor of Child Health and Development at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Harvard Graduate School of Education; Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital; and Founding Director of the university-wide Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. He has served as Chair of the Board on Children, Youth, and Families at the National Academy of Sciences and led a blue-ribbon committee that produced the landmark report, From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development. Dr. Shonkoff has received multiple honors, including elected membership to the Institute of Medicine (now the National Academy of Medicine) of the National Academy of Sciences, the C. Anderson Aldrich Award in Child Development from the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Award for Distinguished Contributions to Public Policy for Children from the Society for Research in Child Development. In 2011, he launched Frontiers of Innovation, a multi-sectoral learning community of researchers, practitioners, policymakers, community leaders, parents, investors, and experts in systems change who are committed to driving science-based innovation that achieves breakthrough impacts on the development and lifelong health of young children facing adversity.


Heather Finlayson

FinlaysonH-HeadshotHeather commenced with Goodstart Early Learning in 2012 and is General Manager – Capability and Early Learning Strategy. She began her career providing early years programs for children and families in educational and therapeutic settings and has held a range of senior positions in tertiary education, the community sector and with the former Australian Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA). 
Heather is passionate about systems change to improve the quality and responsiveness of the early years’ service platform to improve child outcomes. She has a particular interest in the social enterprise model of service delivery. Heather holds a Master’s Degree in Education and completed a research thesis on leadership in early childhood.

Anthony Semann

Anthoney SemannAnthony Semann is one of the Directors and founders at Semann & Slattery a national consulting and professional development firm. For the past 15 years he has worked as a researcher, consultant and manager with a broad range of government, non-government and private organisations.  His skills and expertise has seen him work with organisations across Australia and overseas  Anthony has an exceptional capacity to challenge organisations and people to reflect on how their approaches to communication, leadership, diversity, values, relationships and workplace culture affect their services, businesses and ultimately the community.  Anthony is currently completing a PhD at Macquarie University.  His PhD is a study of the nexus between leadership and courage.

Anne Stonehouse

Anne StonehouseAnne Stonehouse AM works as a consultant, writer and developer of videos and other resources on a variety of topics in early childhood education and care. She was a member of the Charles-Sturt-University-based consortium that wrote the national Early Years Learning Framework. Since its launch in 2009 she has been involved in a number of projects related to the EYLF and the nature of excellence in pedagogy, particularly with under three year olds. In recognition of her contribution to children and children’s services, Anne was appointed a Member of the General Division of the Order of Australia in 1999.


Prof Donna Cross

Donna Cross_ 31Professor Donna Cross is a Professor with the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences at the University of Western Australia and the Telethon Kids Institute. She is the Head of Health Promotion and Education Research and Director of the Early Childhood Development and Learning Collaboration. Donna has led over 50 applied longitudinal school and community-based research intervention projects in Australia and the USA investigating ways to enhance the social and emotional development (online and offline) among children and adolescents. She currently leads 11, 3-5 year research projects investigating ways to enhance young people?s health and well-being, especially among vulnerable school-age children.

Associate Professor Dr Lennie Barblett

Lennie_Barblett_3[2]Dr Lennie Barblett is currently a senior lecturer and researcher in the Early Childhood teaching program in the School of Education at Edith Cowan University. Lennie had extensive experience working in preschools as an early childhood educator before returning to University to complete further studies. She has a keen interest in quality early childhood curriculum and practices, learning through play, effective environments and guiding children’s behaviour. Lennie has been invited to contribute to the work of numerous state and national committees and working parties focussing on curriculum reform, ethics, teaching standards and learning frameworks. She is an invited keynote speaker and workshop presenter at state and national conferences. Further, she was a National Board member of Early Childhood Australia, a co-writer of the early Childhood Australia Code of Ethics and is presently the Editor of the Australasian Journal of Early Childhood. Lennie is a board member of the Western Australian School Curriculum and Standards Authority.

Online Registration Form

Please note that all persons intending to attend the Conference must register online.

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Key Dates

Conference Dates:
30 March – 1 April 2017

Registrations Open:


Call for Abstracts:





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