Skip to Content

Children and Families Research Centre

Seminars & Colloquia Archive

29 September 2014: Associate Professor Grethe Kragh-Müller and Professor Charlotte Ringsmose

Associate Professor Grethe Kragh-Müller and Professor Charlotte Ringsmose, Aarhus University Faculty of Arts, Department of Education, Copenhagan, NV, Denmark. Quality in Early Childhood Settings

Grethe Kragh-Müller, associate professor at Aarhus University, Department of Education, researcher, clinical psychologist, specialist in child psychology. Author of 7 books on the development of children, and a large number of articles on different areas of research, e.g. quality in child care, children's perspectives on child care and school, learning and play in child care and primary school, quality in child care, best practices in schools and conflicts and limit setting in child rearing. Ongoing research: Educational quality in small and large child care facilities, KIDS - a method for evaluating and developing quality in child care.

Charlotte Ringsmose, Professor at Aarhus University Department of Education. Psychologist. Involved in research projects in early childhood. Author of several articles on the perspectives of cognitive developmental psychology connected to practices in early childhood environments. Involved in research on intergenerational continuities and the interconnection between social backgrounds and child development.

16 September 2014: Ms Ingrid Honan

Ms Ingrid Honan is currently a candidate of the combined Master's of Clinical Neuropsychology and PhD program at Macquarie University and is supported by a National Education Trust Scholarship. The Bayley Scales III - A Quantitative Analysis for Application in an Australian Population.

Standardised psychometric tools are essential in assessing an individual's functional capacity. Such tools are of particular importance in the domain of Developmental Neuropsychology where assessment plays a significant role in the detection and planning of early intervention. The Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development III (BSID III) are the most nationally and internationally accepted measure of developmental delay in infants aged one to forty-two months. In Australia, the BSID III is used widely throughout the public hospital system to assess for developmental delay in premature infants and to screen for a plethora of developmental disorders that become evident throughout the early years of life. However Australian normative data for the BSID III is not available. Despite numerous studies highlighting the demographic, cultural and developmental differences between infants from Australia and the United States of America, Australian infants are currently compared to American normative data on the BSID III. The aim of the current research project is to; provide Australian normative data on the BSID III for infants aged one and three years; examine differences in scores obtained by "at risk" infants and "low risk" infants; and assess the predictive ability of the BSID III to determine whether children at age one are likely to remain on the same developmental trajectory at age three.

16 September 2014: Ms Hannah Fiedler

Ms Hannah Fiedler is a Provisional Psychologist and Research Officer at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) on the 'Triple B Study: Bumps, Babies and Beyond'. The impact of matrenal mental health on Australian infants sleep patterns and subsequent child development at 12 months of age.

Early childhood is a time of immense development and change in many aspects of a child's life, with one of the most common areas of fluctuation involving sleep patterns. Whilst there is extensive evidence as to the importance of adequate sleep through the early years, less is known about the possible factors which impact upon a young infants sleep pattern. Previous studies have focused on the effects child sleep patterns have on maternal mental health, suggesting that poorer infant sleep is predictive of Post-Natal Depression, as well as other psychopathology such as stress and anxiety. However, there is evidence to suggest a bi-directional relationship, such that maternal mental health may also be predictive of infant sleep. It is possible therefore, that maternal psychopathology may also be predictive of poor infant sleep. Additionally, studies concerning child sleep patterns tend to focus on the early postnatal period or the later preschool years and onwards. Few studies focus on the sleep patterns of infants at 12 months of age, which is surprising given knowledge around the importance of child development at this time. Given that sleep plays a vital role in a child's executive functioning and learning ability, then it is important to also study child sleep patterns at a time when a child typically reaches important milestones such as walking and talking. The proposed doctoral thesis therefore aims to examine the typical sleeping patterns of a cohort of Australian infants from age 8 weeks to 12 months, and to examine the predictive relationship between maternal mental health (specifically depression, stress and anxiety) and infant sleep patterns. Further, the thesis will investigate the association between young infant sleep and development in cognition, physical and socio-emotional functioning when infants are 12 months of age.

12 November 2013 Dr Jacqueline Adams

Dr Jacqueline Adams, Visiting scholar, University of California, Berkeley History Department, previously a scholar-in-residence in the Beatrice Bain Research Group on Gender and formerly worked as a researcher and assistant professor in Portugal and Hong Kong. Shantytown families under dictatorship: the case of Santiago, Chile, during the Pinochet regime.

How was the shantytown family affected by the dictatorship in Chile? While there were some expected consequences such as generalized and targeted repression, an on-going state of fear, and exacerbated poverty, there were also unexpected effects on family dynamics. As fathers were unemployed or sometimes detained, mothers became the main breadwinners; they also became participants in a transnational solidarity and resistance movement. These changes occurred because they joined income-earning and food-producing groups to cope with their poverty. From their perspective, group participation brought not only food or money with which to feed and educate their children, but also liberation from "the four walls" of the home, the opportunity to learn, conviviality, and other benefits; the women later described the dictatorship years as "the good times." This research is based on interviews with shantytown mothers, human rights organization staff, and refugees; participant observation; photo elicitation; art elicitation; and the analysis of the shantytown women's artworks (arpilleras) and written documents (ephemera) in archives.

2 September 2013 Ms Jan Tedder

Ms Jan Tedder, RN, BSN, Consultant and on the Faculity of University of North Carolina, Family Medicine Centre, Chapel Hill and trained at UNC & Duke. Helping Parents Understand the Language of their Newborn.

HUG Your Baby presents an evidence based, innovative approach to helping parents understand their baby's body language in order to prevent and solve problems around a baby's eating, sleeping, crying and parent-child attachment. Jan will discuss the the medical and child development literature used to develop this program as well as published and
ongoing research about the program.

Learn about three newborn Zones (Resting, Ready, & Rebooting Zone) and how to get babies to the best Zone for eating, playing and sleeping. Identify and respond effectively to a newborn's "SOSs" (Signs of Over-Stimulation) which include body changes in color, movement, and breathing; and behavioral changes: "Spacing Out," Switching Off," & "Shutting Down."

Skill building enhanced by review of child development literature, hearing engaging case studies and viewing inspiring video clips of parents and babies.

6 August 2013 Ms Elisabeth Jacob

Ms Elisabeth Jacob, University of Quebec, Montreal on Knowledge and Practice of Canadian, Aboriginal Preschool Teachers on Emergent Literacy in the Context of Symbolic Play : A Collaborative Research Project.

Education of aboriginal children in Canada changed in the year 1980: most communities decided to administer their own schools on the reserve. As a positive consequence, many schools have decided to teach children in aboriginal language for the early grades. Research has demonstrated that children learn literacy during early childhood through social interaction with adults and though the print environment within the family and in the community (Thériault & Lavoie, 2004). However, limited  books and teaching materials in native language are two factors that affect the development of emergent literacy among aboriginal children (Ball, 2007; Jacob, 2012). Aboriginal preschool teachers still have to improve emergent literacy in these conditions, but they lack knowledge and training in relation to emergent literacy (Lynch, 2009).

30 July 2013 Professor Rozumah Baharudin

Professor Rozumah Baharudin, Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Faculty of Human Ecology, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia. Parenting and Adolescents Well-being in Multicultural Malaysia

Malaysia's population is characterised by the existence of various ethnic groups-Malay, Chinese, Indian, Iban, Kadazan, and ethnic minorities such as the Orang Asli, the Siamese and also of recent migrants (mostly Indonesians). The present study focuses on the three major ethnics groups in Malaysia: Malay, Chinese, and Indians. Although varied in their beliefs and customs, contemporary parents from the three ethnic groups are generally perceived by a considerable proportion of their school-going adolescents (n=2934) as uninvolved in their parenting, which clearly contradicts the view that Asians are authoritarian in nature. Further analysis indicates that Malay and Chinese parents were perceived as uninvolved, whereas Indians were somewhat authoritative. Adolescents having uninvolved parents tend to demonstrate poor developmental outcomes (i.e., exhibit symptoms of depression, and delinquency) compared to those with authoritative parents. These findings may need to be interpreted cautiously as Western typologies were applied. The present study calls for more research that focuses on conceptualising and operationalising dimensions of Malaysian parenting that is both culturally specific and culturally sensitive.

23 July 2013 Dr Sarada Balagopalan

Dr Sarada Balagoplan, Researcher at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies in Delhi and senior supervisor in the Max Weber Foundation Transnational Research Group on poverty reduction and education in India. Re-forming Lives: The Child on the Street and the 'Street Child'

This paper discusses street children's lives in relation to the local materialisation of a global politics of affect. Through reading NGO efforts to secure the lives of street children within a set of more optimistic coordinates against these children's more ambiguous insertion into these projects of reform, the paper provides an opening to explore the tensions and impossible resolutions of such efforts. The impossibility of these resolutions exceed the workings of this particular NGO, and the paper reads the stable ordinariness of labor in these children's lives as produced within a longer history of postcolonial capitalism.

26 February 2013 Ms Lisa Deters

Ms Lisa Deters on Care Theory: conceptualizing the role of early childhood development in emergencies.

With ever increasing and enduring emergency situations in the world, from natural to human made disasters and conflicts, there is a call and a need to identify effective and appropriate responses that support young children holistically. A research study conducted in post-earthquake Haiti 2010 seeks to address questions surrounding the role of early childhood development in emergencies (ECDiE). It is situated within the relevant literature on ECD and humanitarianism and linked with a theory of care (Engster, 2007). The presentation presents the findings, identifying and highlighting the significant role that ECDiE plays. The presentation also discusses the implications of focusing on young children in the early phases of an emergency and on humanitarians' perceptions on how ECD should and could support young children, their caregivers and communities. The findings culminate in a conceptual framework titled - collective caregiving.

The colloquia held by the CFRC in 2012 were:

27 November 2012 Professor Paul Connolly

Professor Paul Connolly, Head of the School of Education at Queen's University Belfast. Issues and Controversies in the Use of Evidence to Inform Education Policy and Practice.

Over recent years there has been an increasing focus among governments on the use of evidence to inform policy and practice. Within this there has been a particular emphasis placed upon funding research that can provide evidence of the effectiveness of particular interventions and/or policy approaches. Within the field of education, this shift in emphasis has led to increasing interest in the use of randomised controlled trials. Drawing upon the experience of running a number of randomised trials in the UK and Ireland, Professor Connolly will reflect on some of the key issues and controversies associated with the use of trials in education. It will be argued that trials have a critical role to play in helping to address the question of what impact particular educational interventions and programmes have in improving outcomes for learners. However, and through the use of a number of examples, it will also be contended that trials need to be used alongside a range of other methods and that they also need to be run in an inclusive way in collaboration with key stakeholders.

16 August 2012 Ms Lee Bevitt

Lee Bevitt

Ms Lee Bevitt, PhD Candidate, Macquarie University.From foster care to father care: Preliminary findings from the Newpin fathers' parenting intervention program.

The role of fathers in child maltreatment families has been largely overlooked by policymakers, services and research. It is often assumed that fathers are either irrelevant or harmful influences in the lives of children referred to protective services. However, there is increasing evidence showing that involved, nurturing fathers are important to children's wellbeing and can serve as a protective factor in families at risk of child maltreatment. The Newpin Fathers Program is a unique fathers' parenting intervention program providing support for fathers who want to care for their children rather than have them in foster care. Each year the program is successful in facilitating the restoration of a number of children from foster care to their father's care. Preliminary findings of a longitudinal study of approximately 30 fathers in this program will be presented. The study aims to investigate changes in the fathers' attitudes to themselves and their parenting, measuring constructs such as parenting stress, self-efficacy, mental health and social networks. The presentation discusses findings from the Time 1 interviews, which highlight the issues and needs of these men. The presentation concludes with an argument for the need to involve fathers in intervention approaches to child protection.

12 June 2012 Ms Bronwen Wade-Leeuwen

Wade-LeeuwenB

Ms Bronwen Wade-Leeuwen, PhD Candidate, Department of Education, Macquarie University. 'Bwo-Me (Life's Breath) Aboriginal Artists recreate their Past': Exploring cross-cultural ways of knowing through Visual Arts.

This 'Creativity' arts-based research inquiry emerged out of 'an expression of the need for diversity and a tendency to push towards a de-standarization of method' (Eisner, 2006). This case study highlights the inter-relation between the socio-cultural contexts; visual arts and the individual investigating how teachers-in-training can become cultural agents for change.

22 May 2012 Dr Rozanna Lilley

LilleyR

Dr Rozanna Lilley - PhD Candidate, Children and Families Research Centre, Macquarie University - Professional Guidance: maternal negotiation of primary school placement for children with autism 

This paper explores the different 'knowledges' negotiated by mothers as they search for a primary school placement for their son or daughter diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. The intensely contested terrain of whether segregated or 'regular' classrooms would be 'better' for the child shapes the contours of maternal decision-making in a landscape powerfully forged by moral imperatives to mother responsibly and appropriately through the use of expert advice. Interviews with 22 women whose children, diagnosed with autism, were about to start primary school in Sydney, Australia allows a detailed exploration of the ways women engage with or reject professional guidance, offered by paediatricians, psychologists, early intervention professionals and education consultants. The anxiety involved in choosing a primary school for children with autism is a result of both inadequate services and the need to weigh up various, and sometimes competing, claims across the domains of expert knowledge, all of which reflect and constitute currently unstable cultural values around autism and education.

13 March 2012 Professor Doug Gentile

Professor Doug Gentile, Assoc. Professor, Psychology, Iowa State University. The multiple dimensions of video game effects: Breaking the "good"/"bad" dichotomy.

Video games are at the center of a debate over what is helpful or harmful to children and adolescents, and there is research to substantiate both sides.  The existing research suggests that there are at least five dimensions on which video games can affect players: the amount of play, the content of play, the game context, the structure of the game, and the mechanics of game play.  This talk describes each of these five dimensions with examples, arguing that this approach can allow people to get beyond the typical "good/bad" dichotomous thinking to have a more nuanced understanding of video game effects.

14 February 2012 Ms Rosalind Walsh

WalshL

Ms Rosalind Walsh, Macquarie University PhD candidate. ' Developing and Evaluating Questioning Strategies for use with Young Gifted Children'

Rosalind's presentation reported on an innovative single subject design research study conducted in an Australian childcare centre examining the use of William's teaching strategies with a young gifted child  in order to stimulate higher order thinking. This study found that not only was the child capable of answering higher ordering thinking questions, but the quality of response improved when challenged by higher order questions. Participants were guided through the development of the questioning techniques and learned how to evaluate their own questioning in order to more fully challenge the children in their care.

3 February 2012 Associate Professor Annie Bernier

Associate Professor Annie Bernier, Department of Psychology, University of Montreal. Toddlers' and preschoolers' executive functioning: Links to prior parent-child relationships.

The skills that are crucial for children's success in classrooms are often referred to as executive skills. Executive functioning is a set of higher-order cognitive abilities, such as impulse control, set-shifting, planning, and working memory, that are central to children's capacity to monitor their emotions, thoughts and behaviour deliberately. This talk covered some of our recent findings on the links between the quality of parent-child relationships and young children's subsequent executive functioning.

Powerpoint presentation

The colloquia held by the CFRC in 2011 were:

8 November 2011 Associate Professor Zhang guoyan

Zhang Guoyan

Associate Professor Zhang guoyan, Visiting Scholar, NorthWest Normal University, Lanzhou, China. 'Research on Children Education of Ethnic Minorities in Northwest China'.
 

How do Chinese migrant children experience their first years at school in Australia? How do the parents view their child's transition to primary school and their own involvement with school? Based on interviews with 17 newly arrived Chinese migrant families, Associate Professor Zhang will explore the experiences from the perspective of both children and their parents as they adjust to primary school in a new culture.

11 October 2011 Mr Steven Close, World Bank and Ms Kate Ramsey, Plan International

CologonK
Dr Kathy Cologon

The CFRC held a colloquium on developments in early childhood development (ECD) in the Asia Pacific Region October 11, 2011. Mr Steven Close from the World Bank and Ms Kate Ramsey from Plan International reported on their programs for young children in the region. Dr Kathy Cologon and Professor Jacqueline Hayden from the CFRC and PhD candidates Ms Zinnia Mevawalla and Ms Yany Lopez provided overviews of their current research projects in several Asia Pacific nations.
The presentations described global findings which show that investment in early childhood is a significant strategy for poverty alleviation and the development of national human capital. However warnings were raised. To be effective, ECD programs need to be integrated with other sectors and services, to be context specific, to build on local traditions and culture and to incorporate participation, equity and inclusion as primary goals. The Asia Pacific Region is hampered by myriad economic and social issues, including the impact of disasters and emergencies. Despite this many of the components needed to develop sound ECD policies and practices are in place and/or have the potential to be developed.

Following the colloquium, the speakers met with a number of child focussed Non-Government Organisation representatives at the World Bank offices in Sydney. Further collaborations are planned.

13 September Mr Jim Hungerford

HungerfordJ

Mr Jim Hungerford, BVSc GAICD, Chief Executive Officer Shepherd Centre, giving deaf children a voice. 'About the Shepherd Centre'

Mr Jim Hungerford was appointed CEO of The Shepherd Centre in February 2011, Jim Hungerford comes to the role with 30 years' experience in health sciences. Prior to joining The Shepherd Centre, Jim held CEO positions in Australia and internationally, most recently CEO of Pareto Fundraising. Jim's prior roles include CEO of Intervet in the United Kingdom, various senior management positions in companies in Germany and in the United States, as well as positions in the biotechnology sector and as a Veterinarian in private practice. Jim is also a Director with WorkVentures Ltd, a charity that engages with individuals and communities to improve lives through new skills, access to technology, community contribution and fulfilling employment.

The Shepherd Centre teaches deaf and hearing impaired children how to listen and speak so that they can reach their full potential in the hearing world.

The Shepherd Centre was founded in 1970 by Dr Bruce Shepherd AM and his late wife Annette. In 1970 there were just five families in our program. Today The Shepherd Centre helps over 200 children and families in five centres in NSW and ACT, as well as families in rural and remote areas of Australia and overseas via our residential workshop and correspondence program.

Our family centred early intervention program focuses on training parents to seize every opportunity in day to day situations to teach their children to listen and speak. Our aim is that children will enter their local mainstream schools in a fully-integrated environment. We currently achieve this goal for over 90% of children at The Shepherd Centre.

The Shepherd Centre is a charity that has to raise over 70% of its revenue via fundraising. Without donations from our supporters we would not be able to provide deaf and hearing-impaired children and their families with the help they so desperately need.

9 August 2011 Dr Tanya Evans

EvansT_Aug2011

Dr Tanya Evans, Research Fellow, Department of Modern History. 'Family Life in Colonial Australia'.
Time: 1pm - 2pm, Venue: Macquarie University, Building X5B, Room 224. RSVP: Sally.Thompson@mq.edu.au

Abstract: Dr Tanya Evans is a social and cultural historian of the family in Britain and Australia from the 1750 to the present and for this paper she will outline work she is undertaking as the curator of an exhibition on 'Family Life in Colonial New South Wales' for the Historic Houses Trust. This will open in the Focus Gallery at the Museum of Sydney in March 2013. The exhibition and accompanying book draws on a wide range of historical sources printed, pictorial, oral and material, to explore the life-stories of a variety of inter-locking key colonial British and Australian families from diverse social groups including British convicts, ex-convicts, the free population (both rich and poor) and indigenous families. These will include (amongst many others) the Macquaries, Marsdens, Flinders, Kings, Macarthurs, Rouses and their servants as well as the many hundreds of clients of The Benevolent Society. Dr Evan's academic research on the history of the family, questions people's assumptions about the structure and experience of the so-called 'traditional family' in the past and does so by focussing on individuals' mental and historical landscapes - their 'lived histories'.

This exhibition draws on the research of a community of family historians as well as consultancy work for Artemis producing the Australian series of Who Do You Think You Are? It is complemented by research Dr Evans is undertaking as a consultant for the exhibition's industry partner The Benevolent Society (Australia's oldest charity) in celebration of their Bicentenary in 2013. Dr Evans hopes that these partnerships and her methodology will create a communal history of the family in colonial Australia and allow her to represent the lives of the ordinary as well as extraordinary.

Biographical Details: Dr Tanya Evans is a Macquarie University Research Fellow and she is working on a transnational history of the family in Australia and Britain from the eighteenth century through to the present. Prior to this she was a Research Fellow at the Institute of Historical Research in London. Her publications include, 'Unfortunate Objects': Lone Mothers in Eighteenth-Century London (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005). She has two forthcoming books on the history of motherhood with Oxford University Press and she is co-editing a Special Issue of Australian Historical Studies on Biography and Life-Writing. She curated an exhibition on Lone Mothers, Past and Present at The Woman's Library, London Metropolitan University in 2007-8 and she has been commissioned to curate another on 'Family Life in Colonial New South Wales' by the Historic Houses Trust of New South Wales for the Museum of Sydney in 2013.

14 June 2011 Dr Ingrid Möller

Dr Ingrid Moller

Dr Ingrid Möller, Visiting Scholar, University of Potsdam 'Short-term and long-term effects of media violence exposure: Experimental and longitudinal data from Germany'

The colloquium reported findings from an ongoing longitudinal project on the effects of habitual media violence exposure (MVE) in adolescence on aggressive and pro-social attitudes and behaviours, conducted by Dr Ingrid Möller at Potsdam University in Germany. The results of the first 3 years show that high MVE predicted an increase in aggression in subsequent years, whereas no evidence was found that initially more aggressive students chose a more violent media diet later on. Findings are still less clear for pro-social behaviour though. The project also includes a newly designed school-based intervention program aimed at high school students. The evaluation of this 5-week-training showed some effects in reducing MVE in the intervention group which was still visible at the 7-months follow-up. For the high-aggressive students the training also resulted in a reduction of their aggressive attitudes and behaviour. The findings of the study should encourage parents and teachers to take an active part in the education on media-induced effects of their children - the effort pays off in the end!

17 May 2011 Ms Noor Olya Dollah

Mrs Noor Olya Dollah

Ms Noor Olya Dollah, Visiting Scholar, University of Malaya, Malaysia 'Comparison of Parental Involvement in ECEC in Malaysia and Australia'.

Ms Noor Olay Dollah's study is about parental involvement in early childhood education and care. The study is aimed at investigating differences in parental involvement in early childhood education and care in Malaysia and Australia . The parental involvement assessment in this study is based on Epstein's framework (1995) that outlines six types of general practices of parental involvement, namely: Type 1-Parenting, Type 2-Communicating, Type 3-Volunteering, Type 4-Learning at home, Type 5-Decision making and Type 6-Collaborating with community. The data has been gathered through mixed-method research approach; questionnaires to obtain data from parents and semi structured interviews to clarify the parents' report from carers' perspectives. The result showed that there are significant differences between parents in Malaysia and Australia in terms of their participation in the parenting skills at home, communicating with the childcare centres, volunteering and involving in the decision making at the childcare centre. The biggest gap is involvement in the decision making where parents in Australia were reported being least participated in this type of involvement at the childcare centre. Yet, both parents and childcare staff agreed that parents in Australia were most involved in communication with the childcare centres that reported as highly active on the daily basis. From these findings, it may give an insights for broader context of parental involvement study that indirectly may help to enhance parental involvement practices in early childhood education and care in both countries.

The colloquia held by the CFRC in 2010 were:

19 November 2010: Professor Anne Graham

 

Professor Anne Graham

Professor Anne Graham,  Director, Centre for Children and Young People and Director of Research, School of Education Southern Cross University

Professor Anne Graham, Foundation Director of the Centre for Children and Young People (CCYP) at Southern Cross University, Lismore, gave a colloquium for CFRC in November 2010, explaining the activities and research directions of her centre. CCYP was established in 2004 to undertake research, program evaluation, education and advocacy activities that promote the wellbeing, status and voice of children and young people. The Centre includes experienced researchers from disciplines such as sociology, education, law, health, psychology, environmental science. Central to the work of the CCYP is a young person's consultative group, currently spanning the ages of 13-21, which works closely with researchers, policy makers and practitioners to provide advice and feedback about research and about the issues and ideas that matter to children and young people.

14 October 2010: Ms Marianne Mitchell

Ms Marianne MitchellMs Marianne Mitchell, Office of Institutional Advancement, Macquarie University gave a colloquium on Obtaining Research Funding through Trusts and Foundations.

10 September 2010: Dr Sharon Bessell

Dr Bessell from the Crawford School of Economics and Government, College of Asia and the Pacific, The Australian National University, 
presented a colloquium on Participation as Relationships.

Dr Sharon BessellChildren's participation has become a much used term over the past decade, but it often remains unclear just what is meant by the concept and how it might be achieved. This paper explores they ways in participation can be made meaningful for children. Drawing on research undertaken with children in out-of-home care and children involved in a community development program, it examines what participation means to children and the issues on which they want to 'have a say'. It argues that strong relationships with key adults are one important foundation for fostering children's participation - but an aspect of participation that has not been fully recognised.  If policies and processes that purport to value children's views on matters affecting their lives are to be successful, greater attention needs to be given to the relational dimensions of participation.

12 August 2010: Dr Janet Merewether

Dr Merewether is a Sydney-based filmmaker with a distinct creative practice who regularly teaches screen production at Macquarie University. 
Her screen works have won numerous Australian and international prizes including ATOM, IF and AFI awards, and have enjoyed retrospectives in 
Taipei, Berlin, Boston and Australia, presented a colloquium on Maverick Mother from pariah to social progressive: Solo motherhood by 
choice and the changing role of fathers in the Australian Family.

Dr Janet MerewetherThis presentation, including the screening of extracts from the award-winning Australian documentary Maverick Mother, will examine non-normative conceptions of 'family', in particular the increasingly common decision educated women make to become 'single mothers by choice'. Janet Merewether will consider the importance of non-residential male role-models, the potential benefits of solo mothering, as well as a brief history of unwed mothers, illegitimacy and more recent legislative reform of rights and financial benefits in the Australian context.

12 May 2010: Professor Jennifer Bowes

Professor Jennifer Bowes presented a colloquium on Views and Experiences with Child Care of Urban Indigenous Families.  

The colloquium will report findings from the Child Care Choices of Indigenous Families project in which over 100 Indigenous families in urban, regional and remote NSW gave their views on child care. The project was initiated as a way of finding out why such a low proportion of Indigenous children were attending children's services. The study employed "yarning" as its main methodology and this proved an effective way for families to add their voices to the current discussions about provision of children's services for Indigenous children and the aspects of child care that are particularly important for Indigenous families. Findings from families in the Sydney area will be presented. Families had many ideas about how centres could be made more welcoming for Indigenous children and families and about the incorporation of culture into centres' activities. The findings from this study has already been shared with Sydney-based planners of the new Indigenous Child and Family Integrated Centres.

12 March 2010: Dr Loraine Fordham

Dr Loraine Fordham presented a colloquium on Quality practices in early childhood intervention? Consulting with families is the only way to go!

Family-centred practice is both a philosophy and a method of service delivery (Rosenbaum, King, Law, King & Evans, 1998). It is a key strengths-based strategy known to be effective in supporting families who have children with disabilities. In Australia, family-centred practice is widely accepted as best practice in the field of early childhood intervention but there is no legislation at either State or Federal level to regulate its implementation. It is perhaps as a consequence of this that early childhood intervention services tend to vary in the extent of their family-centred service delivery. Much has been written on the principles and strategies of family-centred practice as well as on the service delivery methods and skills that are required of its practitioners. By comparison less has been written from the perspective of the consumers of family-centred services, namely the families whose children have a disability. In this colloquium Loraine will share outcomes of her recent Australian research study that consulted with families in order to provide a more comprehensive view of their experiences of family-centred early intervention. In addition the study incorporated two unique elements. The first was a comparison of mothers' and fathers' experiences and an exploration of ways that early interventionists might better include and engage with fathers, as well as with mothers. The second was its longitudinal focus, enabling the investigation of families' experiences of family-centred service provision over time.      There were two phases to the study. In the first phase, all 414 families attending one of two early childhood intervention services in New South Wales were invited to complete a 'Family Life and Family Services' questionnaire that incorporated four standardised measures of family life and family-centred care. A second phase involved a series of in-depth interviews and observations of individual family service plan meetings with a small number (n = 9) of self-nominating families over 22 months.  Loraine will present data from both phases of the study and will describe the families' experiences and their needs in terms of themes current in the family-centred literature. Family-identified solutions for improved quality of practice and enhanced child and family well-being will be shared.


The colloquia held by the CFRC in 2009 were:

Professor Bruce Lanphear MD, MPH from Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, British Columbia 13 November 2009

Professor Michael Keane Federation Fellow and Internationally renowned economist from the School of Finance and Economics, University of Technology, Sydney 23 October 2009

Professor Sharon Kagan, National Centre for Children and Families, Columbia University and Professor Adjunct at Yale University's Child Study Centre 11 September 2009

Emeritus Professor Colwyn Trevarthen University of Edinburgh 15 July 2009

Ms Norma Rudolph Children's Institute, University of Cape Town - 23 July 2009

Professor Joseph Sparling from the University of North Carolina, USA 10 June 2009

Professors Carta and Greenwood from the University of Kansas, USA 22 April 2009

Professor Iram Siraj-Blatchford University of London 24 March 2009

Ms Natalie Johnston-Anderson 26 February 2009


The colloquia held by the CFRC in 2008 were:

Louise Coigley

Associate Professor Annaliza Jackson

Dr Nick Par

Associate Professor Jeanette Lawrence

[back to top]