REGISTRATION

Use the buttons below to book your registration for the 2024 DEKTA Conference.

VENUE

Uni Hill Conference Centre

30 Graduate Rd,
Bundoora VIC 3083

https://unihillconference.com.au/

Parking: 70 Spots available at the rear of the venue.

Public Transport: 86 Tram stop nearby (Janefield Dr/Plenty Rd)

AGENDA 

8am – Registration and Trade Fair opens
8.45am – Welcome and House Keeping
9:15 – 10:45am – Morning Keynote Speaker
10:45-11:15am – Morning Tea
11:15 – 12:45pm – Break out workshops
1-2:30pm – Lunch – Networking and Trade fair
2:30 – 3:30pm – Afternoon Keynote Speaker
3:30 – 4pm – Plenary and Lucky door prizes drawn

MORNING KEYNOTE

TOPIC: Neuro-diversity and affirming practice within kindergarten

Topics Included in the Morning Keynote address are as follows –

  • What is neurodiversity? Neurodiverse vs Neurodivergent. The Neurodivergent umbrella.
  • Autistic identity.
  • The paradigm shift in how we view Neurodivergence and how this applies to kindergarten children.
  • Affirming language when working with Neurodivergent children and parents/carers.
  • Neurodivergent traits in girls vs boys.
  • Myths about Neurodivergent children
  • The importance of Kindergarten teachers in early identification of Autism and ADHD.
  • Accommodations needed for Neurodivergent children within kindergarten settings.
  • Environmental barriers and supports to facilitate engagement. (Sensory, toileting, eating, play, friendships)
  • Strategies to ensure equitable access to the kindergarten experience.

KEYNOTE SPEAKER: PAIGE – DIRECTOR

Paige is a mother of two and a neuro-affirming allied health professional, who hopes for a world where everyone feels welcome and safe to be themselves.
Professionally, Paige has a long history of working across both private and community health sectors in a clinical setting and in inclusion and diversity project roles. Paige has always been a fierce advocate for inclusive change and has completed her Master’s of Public Health with a specialisation in Advanced Practice, focusing on inclusion in healthcare.

Paige’s passion for neuro-affirming education and support comes from lived experience with a neurodivergent sister and son. Paige hopes for a world where inclusion prevails, where individuals can

live without barriers, and she is driven to be a part of that change.

KEYNOTE SPEAKER: EMILY – DIRECTOR

Emily is passionate about creating a world in which neurodivergent communities are not just accepted for their authentic selves but embraced and valued for their unique perspectives.

With a focus on inclusion, Emily leverages her extensive knowledge gained over a decade of teaching in education settings and working closely in the classroom with Autistic and neurodivergent students, as well as children with diverse learning needs. Her commitment to inclusion goes beyond professional spaces, with lived experience.

This personal connection fuels her advocacy, infusing it with empathy and a firsthand understanding of the challenges faced within neurodivergent communities.
In her ongoing work to promote and build education around authentic acceptance, and positive change for neurodivergent communities, Emily is currently pursuing a Diploma in Counselling. This not only underscores her dedication to her personal connection to building more inclusive spaces, but also reflects a commitment to evolving her skills to better serve the diverse needs of her community.

WORKSHOPS

Workshops are required to be selected at time of online registration.

WORKSHOP 1

CHILDREN’S SOCIAL IDENTITY
PRESENTER – JO GAISSL

WORKSHOP 2

HOW TO ENSURE ABORIGINAL CHILDREN FEEL A SENSE OF IDENTITY IN OUR SERVICES
PRESENTER – MADELEINE LOWRIE

WORKSHOP 3

Identity: A protective factor for mental health
PRESENTER – NICOLE LEES

WORKSHOP 1: CHILDREN’S SOCIAL IDENTITY
PRESENTER – JO GAISSL

Jo Gaissl has a passion to become a ‘PEBBLE’ in early childhood  educational settings to Teach Inspire Motivate and Empower educators and parents.

Over the last 40 years she has taught in preschool and day care settings as a full time teacher, worked in centres solely as a music facilitator, taught at a ballet school and creative dance studio and comes from a musical family.

Gifted in 2010 with a NEITA ASG Inspirational Teaching Award, Jo offers a wide range of services to the early childhood sector and parents of young children.

Jo will present a workshop at this year’s conference titled: Children’s Social Identity

In exploring this topic, Jo will lead you through the elements that develop socialisation. She will look at the links between moral development and how they impact on our interactions with individual children, as no one strategy fits all.

Then you will have “fun” by using the musical components of the PALS program to gain some  practical tools that you can use to facilitate positive social outcomes for your children.

WORKSHOP 2: HOW TO ENSURE ABORIGINAL CHILDREN FEEL A SENSE OF IDENTITY IN OUR SERVICES
PRESENTER – MADELEINE LOWRIE

I am a Tommeginne women of Palawa descent.  From the Wynyard/Horton settlement/ Emu Bay region,  now Burnie in Tasmania, impacted by massacres and colonisations families were sent and ‘dispersed’ – broken and split up placed in colonization camps around Australia, from extremely young ages, yet unable to be identified as stolen Gen due to inconsistent and incorrect documentation.

  • Bachelor of Education, recently completed Grad Cert of Indigenous Trauma and Recovery and Masters of Indigenous Health 2025,
  • 17 + years of Early Childhood Education, room assistant – room team leader and onto Director of Services,
  • Inclusion Support Facilitator for state of Vic.
  • Peer researcher for First 1000 Days (Indigenous)
  • Documented barriers of Indigenous representation in Early Childhood Services and was used to create core topic at a university of Implementing Indigenous Perspectives in Early Childhood and have had other research papers published considering
  • Presented at conferences and consulted with various services on topics from Early Education through to Impacts of Racism.
  • Advocate for children and families and the role they play in their teachings and learnings and strengthen the role of educators and teachers in Implementing Cultural aspects to their programs.
  • Currently at VACCA, developing and overseeing programs for children and families experiencing vulnerability, experiencing or exposed to FV, including Koorie Kids Playgroups and Brief early intervention supports
  • Mum of 4 children – 3boys then a girl, currently 4 grandsons, 2 step granddaughters and another due very soon.

WORKSHOP 3: Identity: A protective factor for mental health
PRESENTER – NICOLE LEES

When a child’s sense of identity, belonging and self-esteem is strong, they’re more likely to participate in social experiences and form strong relationships in their early learning service community. This acts as a buffer to stress when they’re experiencing difficulties.

Together we will delve into:

  • Protective factors for mental health
  • Identity through a wellbeing lens
  • The awareness of difference, an opportunity
  • Gender identity in the early years
  • Inclusion and belonging – the ’typical’ or ‘average’ child doesn’t exist
  • Planning for empowerment

AFTERNOON KEYNOTE

TOPIC: Gender Diversity

Marly is an early childhood professional who has worked in an array of roles in education for almost 40 years. These include community based preschools, local government early learning services, schools, TAFE and the NSW Early Childhood Directorate. Marly has been a proud member of the Rainbow Families community for about 19 years.

Since becoming a parent she has been an advocate for LGBTIQ+ parented families, gender diverse children and their families. She has witnessed a great deal of change for LGBTIQ+ families in early education but knows there is still work to be done.

In March 2024 Mary joined the Rainbow Families team in a role that she calls her dream job. Marly continues to learn about the wonderful diversity within LGBTIQ+ families and the ways in which we can help reduce disadvantage and discrimination.

OTHER EVENT INFORMATION 

  • Dietary requirements will be requested at time of online registration