Mia Mia Conference 2011
For the first time in Singapore, Wendy Shepherd and Janet Robertson, well-known educators from Mia Mia Child and Family Study Centre and Macquarie University Australia were in Singapore to speak at an international forum organized by the EtonHouse Education Centre.
Organised by the EtonHouse Education Centre (EEC), this forum was titled Creating positive learning environments for children. Held 6th – 8th October, at Hotel Fort Canning, more than 150 delegates attended from Vietnam; Hong Kong; Indonesia; China; Malaysia; Korea and of course Singapore to work with Australian speakers Wendy Shepherd and Janet Robertson from Mia Mia Child and Family Centre at Macquarie University, NSW, Australia.
Participants were greatly inspired by the passion of the speakers to support their reflection about the creation, maintaining and nurturing of our educational learning spaces. They were encouraged to think widely about the environment, not just as a physical space – but as a ‘landscape’ which reflects a person’s culture, family and context; which displays connections to the community in which the learning environment exists.
Delegates indicated the following as key concepts developed across the 2.5. day conference:
‘Looking down from the balcony’ –making our values visible when working with spaces and places; looking at the political landscape; considering the messages we convey to children and families as we design our learning environments
The concept of ‘dwelling in a place’ and the place dwelling in you…the emotional connections and sense of well being that comes from being in places of beauty;
Aspirational architecture – again the beauty of space
The significance of connections to nature
The entrance should entrance
The environment is at the heart of what you do
The significance of involving children in the design of spaces – democratic spaces
The EEC is committed to offering high quality professional development forums for early childhood educators in Singapore and overseas. It has over the past years offered several stimulating professional development forums on early years pedagogy in association with well regarded speakers from Singapore and around the world.
Institute of Early Childhood
Mia Mia Child and Family Study Centre Macquarie University, Australia
BEd(ECE) Institute of Early Childhood Macquarie University
MEd University of Sydney
After graduating as an early childhood teacher, Wendy taught for four years with kindergarten, first and second grade children in a mixed age classroom. She then worked for four years for a large early childhood provider as a Preschool Director and then program adviser working with staff in a range of programs; long day, preschool, before and after school care and mobile preschools. Wendy is also a member of the board of a state community organisation advocating for children and early childhood education and is a member of the Social Justice in Early Childhood advocacy group.
Currently and during the past 18 years, Wendy has been working as the Director of Mia Mia, the demonstration centre of the Institute of Early Childhood, Faculty of Human Sciences at Macquarie University. Mia Mia enrolls birth to school age children.
Wendy also works as a lecturer in the university’s academic program in the areas of Management, Young Children and the Arts and Health. She has published widely contributing chapters and articles to books and refereed journals, as well as presenting papers at national and international conferences. Wendy also works as an early childhood consultant.
When the Institute moved to the Macquarie University campus sixteen years ago Mia Mia, a purpose built, long day centre, was constructed. Wendy was involved in the designing and planning of this new facility; the physical environment, recruitment of staff, and creating the management and operational structure, philosophy, policies and program. As part of the development of the program, professional development became a core expectation for staff and to this end mentoring, action research and collaboration are part of the teaching team’s ethos and practice and underpin, along with current educational and social theory, Mia Mia’s philosophy and pedagogy.
Mia Mia Child and Family Study Centre has become known nationally and internationally for it’s environment, aesthetics and pedagogical practice.
The Mia Mia series of educational videos have been successful tools in the training of early childhood teachers around the world. The latest edition addresses the development of positive environments in the early years of school.