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Mental health masterclass for leaders in early education

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Mental health masterclass for leaders in early education


This conference is an extension of our previous mental health and wellbeing conference. It is suitable for educational leaders, room leaders, 2IC’s, nominated supervisors, centre managers and area managers.

The mental health master class for leaders in early education will provide leaders with the opportunity to listen to a panel of education and mental health experts, including:

Speaker: Heather Irvine-Rundle, Clinical Psychologist and Director of the READ Clinic

Topic: How leaders can safely and effectively manage complex relationships with staff and parents
Presentation: Heather will explore important aspects of safely and effectively navigating complex relationships with staff and parents within educational settings. Using a transactional analysis framework with added components taken from attachment theory, leaders will learn to better understand their own strengths and struggles in connecting with others, as well as how to empathically contain colleagues and parents with boundary issues, responsibility issues and patterns of emotional dysregulation. Practical tips for positive engagement and support for centres in developing appropriate policies (mental health and wellbeing) and procedures to support a healthy workplace culture will be included.

Speaker: Dr John Irvine, Clinical & Family Psychologist, The READ Clinic
Topic: Common mental health issues children experience in early learning environments. How do leaders identify and assist staff in recognising those issues?
Presentation: Dr John will provide early childhood educators with a positive approach to the diagnosis and management of common mental health issues young children experience. Dr John will cover what to look for, the importance of early diagnosis and treatment, what to say to parents, a quick template on how to approach intervention, how to help environmentally (indirectly), how to help professional (directly) and where to go for outside help. There will be time for questions during and after the presentation.

Speaker: Val Tillett, Educator & Owner of Evolve Early Childhood Consultancy
Topic: Beyond the belonging tree
Presentation: What does belonging mean for leaders when promoting a framework that is underpinned by the concept of belonging? The complexity of promoting ‘belonging’ is more challenging than it appears. It is a key concept of many international early childhood curriculums, including Australia. Despite this, there is little written about belonging for educators, what it means and how it is promoted.


Val will assist leaders to understand all aspects of belonging. The presentation will highlight how surface level or simplified everyday understandings may limit the pedagogical outcomes for children. It will explore how belonging can be supported from the deeper perspective and the nature of ‘belonging’ or ‘not belonging’ in an educational setting.

Speaker: James Cummins, Accredited Exercise Physiologist, The Positivity Project
Topic: Mindfulness for leaders in early education
Presentation: Mindfulness has a positive effect on the emotional wellbeing, mental health and physical health of adults. It’s the ability to be fully present, aware of where you are and what you’re doing. Practicing mindfulness will assist leaders in making meaningful relationships and accepting change.

In this one-of-a-kind presentation, James will help leaders in education develop their own personal practice of seated and standing mindfulness and equip them with the required skills. This includes guided meditations of music listening, body scan, gratitude and belly and partner breathing techniques that can be practiced within their educational setting. These skills will assist leaders in education to enhance their own self-awareness, wellbeing and energy and those of their team.



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Map Harbourview Function Centre, 150 Wharf Rd, Newcastle, New South Wales 2300, Newcastle, Australia
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