Please see below our Provisional Program for the 2021 conference. We are building a dynamic and varied program that will be delivered in short sessions over the course of the week. Sessions will begin with a keynote presentation followed by live Q&A. Following the keynote, delegates will break into streams to learn more about how policies and practices are being shaped by data. Poster sessions will provide opportunities to learn about new ideas and approaches being trialled in different settings around the country and the globe. Continue to visit the website regularly to learn about confirmed 2021 presenters, as this will be updated as planning proceeds.

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Program times are listed in AEDT. To convert program times to your timezone, CLICK HERE

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Monday 15th March 2021

1030 – 1100 Please join us for our first networking session at the conference.
1100 – 1130 Opening Address & Welcome to Country
1130 – 1230

Keynote Speaker

Population data for shaping education policy

Luis Crouch, Senior Economist, International Development Group RTI

1230 – 1300 Networking Session to catch up with peers and colleagues to share your thoughts on the morning and what the following days will bring.

Tuesday 16th March 2021

1145 – 1200 Join for some networking before the keynote presentation
1200 – 1300

Keynote Presentation

Reflecting on improvements in the AEDC in light of changes to the Western Australian service system over time

Dr Rosemary Cahill, Chief Investigator, Telethon Kids Institute






Dr Aresh Anwar, Chief Executive, Child And Adolescent Health Service






Colin Pettit, Commissioner for Children and Young People WA






David Zarb, CEO, Playgroup WA






CHAIR: Jonathan Carapetis, Director, Telethon Kids Institute

1300 – 1330 Community Education (ECEC and schools) Government / Policy Research

Determined that no child in Parkes Shire would be an invisible child, Project Sprouts was formed as a new community-led model to address children’s developmental health in rural NSW

Mrs Sherree Rosser
Project Sprouts

Bays Cluster Health and Wellbeing Hub: Creating an integrated model of service within a Queensland primary school

Skye Frazer-Ryan
Children’s Health Queensland Hospital & Health Service

Kathleen Webb
Hercules Road State School

Child Health Pop-Up Clinics

Soulmaz Rostami
Children’s Health Queensland

Key Data Challenges for Place-Based Prevention and Implementation in Australia and workshop discussion.

Geoffrey Woolcock
Logan Child-Friendly Community Ltd

(This presentation will be one hour and include a workshop discussion component)

1330 – 1400

Connect 4 Children Strategy

John Fry
Connect 4 Children, Department of Education Queensland

Melissa Kidd
Department of Education Toowoomba

Exploring how schools can influence children’s academic achievement trajectories through planning and programs in the early years

Ashleigh Collier
College of Medicine & Public Health, Flinders University

Supporting families experiencing significant vulnerability and/or disadvantage access early childhood education for their pre-school aged children

Johanne Gow, Anthony Shannon
Department of Communities and Justice, NSW

Rapid Presentations
1400 – 1430

The Waverly Community Skills 4 Kids Café
Sherridan Emery

Neyg, Launceston, Australia
Danielle Watkins
The Smith Family, Launceston, Australia
Paint the West REaD Community wellbeing and engagement to improve a child’s first 1000 days of life through attachment, literacy, learning and school engagement in areas of significant childhood developmental vulnerabilities. Using AEDC data, collective impact models and results-based assessment methodologies in community development.
Maggie Mccabe

Department Of Human Services, Taperoo, Australia
Look Who’s Talking: an interactive guide for parents to facilitate their child’s language development. 
Suzanne Finn

Burnie Child And Family Centre, Burnie, Australia
Healthy Kids – Bringing early childhood education and care communities together to improve the health of our Queensland kids 
Kym Dunstan

Centre for Children’s Health and Wellbeing, Children’s Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service, Brisbane, Australia
Sing&Grow: Skills for School- Supporting Early Childhood Educators’ use of Music to Develop Children’s School-Readiness   
Lorna Berry, Dr Alison Stewart

Sing&Grow, Playgroup Queensland, Australia
Effective approaches for removing barriers for children to access early learning in the year before Kindergarten 
Simon Hammond, Michael Dempsey 

Department Of Education Tasmania, Glenorchy, Australia,
1630 – 1730

Keynote Presentation

Bringing together Queensland Health and Education to support children and families across Queensland

Dr Grant Webb, Assistant Director-General, Early Learning and Development Branch, Early Childhood and Education Improvement, Department Of Education Queensland






Adjunct Professor Frank Tracey, Health Service Chief Executive, Children’s Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service

1730 – 1745 Networking Session to mingle, meet and chat, with presenters and other attendees

Wednesday 17th March 2021

1200 – 1215 Networking Session
1215 – 1315

Keynote Speaker

Systemic reform to reduce inequalities in children’s outcomes in socio-economically deprived communities

Michael McAfee, President And CEO, Policylink

1315 – 1345 Community Education (ECEC and schools) Government / Policy Research

Grassroots and Grass Tops: How a Shared Data Set Can Promote Change

Rebecca Halperin & Jaclyn Vasquez, Anisha Grimmett, Elizabeth Richardson
Erikson Institute, Chicago

The 2020 Tasmanian Kindergarten Development Check results, and what it might mean for the 2021 AEDC results

Michael Dempsey
Tasmanian Department of Education

Using research evidence to inform practice in early childhood education related to the five areas of development measured by the AEDC

Danielle Toon
Evidence for Learning

Dr Sandra Cheesman
C&K (The Creche and Kindergarden Association)


1345 – 1415

Enhancing Children’s Well Being through Relationships in Place

Susan Cary, Isabel Stankiewicz
Department of Education, Queensland South East Region

The Thriving and On Track Program: A Collaborative, Place Based Initiative Responding to High Levels of Developmental Vulnerability

Frances Bugden
Brisbane South PHN

Melissa Taylor Hansford
Queensland Department of Education

Queensland’s Early Childhood Development Core Story

Madeline Hagon
Queensland Department of Education


Risk factors at birth and later developmental risk of mental disorders

Felicity Harris
School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales

Rapid Presentations
1415 – 1445 Early Physical Development: Its fundamental importance to later academic success.
Deb Cavanagh
Elf: Education Linked To Families, Perth, Australia

A School with no “Teachers” – Blair Athol North,
Shaun Harris
Blair Athol North B-7 School Children’s Centre, Blair Athol, Australia
The Basics Channel
Maree Thompson, Kate Slater
Department Of Education
A Profile of School Readiness in South Australia: Perceptions of Preschool Directors
Alessia Pivato
University Of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia 
AEDC informing policy development, implementation and evaluation  
Caroline Croser-Barlow
Department for Education, South Australia
1645 – 1745

Keynote Speaker

Improving conditions for children, families and communities in Australia

Commissioner April Lawrie, Aboriginal Children and Young People, South Australia

1745 – 1815 Community Education (ECEC and schools) Government / Policy Research

The implementation of an integrated family and community hub on the grounds of a new primary school in the greenfield community of Yarrabilba

Andrew Resetti
Children’s Health Queensland

Ready, Set, Prep!: a collaborative approach to support school readiness and early life outcomes by increasing family engagement, implementing targeted interventions for the most vulnerable and streamlining early years health and education systems in northern Melbourne.

Kat Thorn
Merri Health

Enabling Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children to thrive in their early years

Andria Mastroianni & Sue-Anne Hunter
SNAICC – National Voice for our Children

Preschool Aged Children’s Accounts of their Own Wellbeing: How do Current Child Wellbeing Assessments Accord with Young Children’s Perspectives?

Jennifer Fane
Capilano University, British Columbia

1815 – 1845

Using the AEDC to Drive Community Action: Loddon, Victoria

Catherine Nolan & Jane Hosking
Department of Education and Training, Victoria

Tiny Tots Talking in Doonside – A Model of Effective Place-Based Service Integration

Cathrine Nielsen-Hewett
University of Woolongong

Children’s Ground: Backing Aboriginal people to lead the way in systems and service reform

Jen Lorains
Children’s Ground, Alice Springs

Early life predictors of suspensions from primary school: a longitudinal multi-agency record-linkage study

Kristin Laurens
Queensland University of Technology

1845 – 1915 Networking Session to share your thoughts and learn with/from the other attendees

Thursday 18th March 2021

1200 – 1215 Networking Session
1215 – 1315

Keynote Speaker

Empowering communities to create sustainable change

William Tilmouth, Chairperson, Children’s Ground






Chair: Jane Vadiveloo, CEO, Children’s Ground


1315 – 1345 Community Education (ECEC and schools) Government / Policy Research

Compounding impacts of Bushfire on Developmental Vulnerability in Rural and Remote Communities: Intervening to change trajectories

Sarah Eagland
Royal Far West, NSW

Jacqui Emery
Royal Far West NSW

Dr Sarah Verdon
Charles Sturt University

No one gets left behind: Managing early learning equity and COVID-19

Myra Geddes, Dr Kate Liley
Goodstart Early Learning, Queensland

Child development and student wellbeing: A six-year follow up study using 2009 AEDC data

Tess Gregory
Telethon Kids Institute

Child protection profiles for children with special health care needs: A population record linkage study

Gabrielle Hindmarsh
School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales

1345 – 1415

Improving educational outcomes in a disadvantaged community: using AEDC as a reference point for cross-sector collaboration

Liz Chapman OAM
Tomorrow Today Foundation, Victoria

Twelve Books for Twelve Months: Enhancing the language and pre-literacy teaching skills of Early Childhood Educators using a multifaceted resource

Jessica Anton
South Western Sydney Local Health District (SWSLHD) Speech Pathology Department

Trauma informed practice in education: a South Australian example of how AEDC data is being used to inform wellbeing initiatives and track outcomes in schools

Tania Plueckhahn, Lizzie Button & Yasmin Harman Smith
Telethon Kids Institute

Jurisdictional change over time in the AEDC

Sally Brinkman
Telethon Kids Institute

1415 – 1445 Supporting Vulnerable Families & Communities to Achieve Better Developmental Outcomes for Their Children
Ruth Callaghan, Manik Gadre
Woodville Alliance, Fairfield, Australia
Regional distribution of mental health risk at age 5 years in an Australian population sample.
Felicity Harris
University Of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
Siblings of individuals with neurodevelopmental disabilities: Exploring dynamic networks of risk and resilience to enable early identification, intervention, translation, and implementation of sustainable scalable change.
Brittany Mann
Telethon Kids Institute, Subiaco, Australia, and The University of Western Australia, Crawley, Australia. 
Thriving Qld Kids Partnership: enabling systems leadership for child wellbeing
Michael Hogan
Thriving Queensland Kids Partnership, Brisbane, Australia. 
Integrating early childhood services: determining definitions and factors for success 
Vicky Saunders
Health Research Institute, University Of Canberra, Canberra, Australia
1845 – 1945

Keynote Speaker

Shaping early years education policy for our future generations

Dr Georgie Nutton, Senior Lecturer in Education & Course Manager, Bachelor of Education Early Childhood Teaching, Charles Darwin University

1945 – 2015 Community Education (ECEC and schools) Government / Policy Research

Using AEDC data as the foundation for collective action in improving children’s oral language and emotional maturity before school

Rebekah Pick
Mission Australia, Queensland

Improving Child Development Outcomes by Connecting Early Learning and Care Services and Schools

Anne Nilsen Ngala; Nicole Hunt, Connecting Community for Kids; Christine Bewetz, Leda Primary School.

Stronger Starts Brighter Futures – Exploring trends in the early development of children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds in Australia

Tadgh McMahon
Settlement Services International

Alanna Sincovich
Telethon Kids Institute



2015 – 2045

Does Paint the Town REaD Help Turn the Curve?

Barbie Bates
Paint the Town Read Ltd

Oral Language Development: The Foundation of Later Literacy Success and Social Emotional Well-Being

Sharlene Samuel-May
Trumpet Early Years Consultancy, WA

Lead indicators to drive ECD systems

Sharon Goldfeld
Murdoch Children’s Research Institute

At What Age Does the Word Gap Emerge? Findings from the Language in Little Ones Study

Mary Brushe 
Telethon Kids Institute

2045 – 2115 Networking Session

Friday 19th March 2021

1200 – 1215 Networking Session with other delegates
1215 – 1300 Trends in Child Development – the Future of Australia Panel

Professor Sharon Goldfield,
Director, Centre for Community Child Health, Royal Children’s Hospital
Professor Sally Brinkman, Telethon Kids Institute
1300 – 1400

Keynote Speaker

What shifts it will take today to create better futures for our children

Jay Weatherill, Chief Executive, Thrive By Five Initiative, Minderoo Foundation

1400 – 1430 Conference Close