Meet our Conference Speakers

6 September
Bushman’s Hill, Parkes

Aunty Maureen Silleri and Uncle Robert Clegg with rock art

Aboriginal storytelling with keynote speakers and workshop presenters Aunty Maureen Silleri and Uncle Robert Clegg.

Uncle Robert will share a cultural talk about Bushman’s Hill. Uncle Robert is a local Parkes Wiradjuri Elder and storyteller.

Aunty Maureen will share with us Aboriginal stories for children. She will introduce us to signs and symbols that we can use with children to help them tell their own stories.

Aunty Maureen is a Wiradjuri woman and a community Elder in Mt Druitt Sydney. For many years she has worked to link local Aboriginal children to culture and local Services.

7 September
Parkes Services Club

Dr Leanne Gibbs: Wild and Improbable… storytelling and children’s brain development

Research shows that storytelling with babies and young children promotes brain development, imagination, and language. Communication in all forms is enhanced. 

Through listening to and telling stories children experience a range of emotions such as joy, pleasure, excitement, surprise, they learn about culture and develop empathy. 

Recent evidence shows that there is sustained brain activation and increased blood flow in response to hearing told stories.

Leanne will tell a story about storytelling. She will share the latest research and inspire you to never stop telling stories, for children and for yourself. 

Dr Leanne Gibbs is Senior Lecturer in the School of Education at Charles Sturt University. Leanne teaches and conducts research in the areas of children’s language and literacy, educator leadership and workforce development.

Leanne has worked in the early childhood education (ECE) for over 35 years. She has a PhD in ECE leadership, along with qualifications in education, public policy, politics, leadership and management. She has held a diversity of roles across the ECE sector-all focused upon children’s rights, social justice, workforce development and ECE quality.

It’s a privilege to work with early childhood professionals who are passionate about their work with children, families and each other.

Dr Leanne Gibbs
Bettina Nissen

Bettina Nissen: Why we tell stories

Stories tell us who we are and where we come from. 

Babies and children learn to talk amidst the conversations, songs, rhymes and chatter of everyday life.

Sharing family stories, nonsense songs and rhymes builds confidence with language and identity. 

During the workshop participants will explore playing with words, chants and family stories. We will work together to create an origin story for our PTTR mascots and ourselves.

Bettina Nissen is a storyteller with over thirty years’ experience working in the field of early literacy in libraries, schools and community organisations.

Her training is in librarianship and social sciences. 

As a storyteller, Bettina loves to tell old folk and fairy tales from her Western European heritage. She plays with rhymes and songs and stories to bring these tales alive in a contemporary setting. 

For many years Bettina took these stories and rhymes to community arts projects in diverse settings from playgrounds to detention centres, alternate schools and respite care centres. Currently Bettina coordinates Paint Dbay REaD in Deception Bay, Queensland.

Lee Castledine: Engaging the young using audience participation, felt board stories and props for preschool and infant audiences

The keynote will be interwoven with the workshop. It will include discussion and practical demonstrations on storytelling for early childhood from pre-schoolers to infants (K-2) children. 

A range of simple storytelling techniques will be demonstrated, including audience participation, singing, actions, felt board stories and props. Participants will have the opportunity to learn a paper folding story once techniques involved have been demonstrated.  

Participants will have the opportunity to develop their individual storytelling style and presentation skills.

Lee works full time as a children’s and youth librarian and part time as a professional storyteller and trainer.  With over 25 years’ experience working with children and young adults in public libraries, Lee specialises in early literacy programs in libraries and childcare services.  Lee regularly does storytelling work in child care centres, schools, and other library services.  She offers training in developing and delivering children’s library programs, story reading and storytelling skills.  She is an accredited storyteller and member of the Australian Storytelling Guild.

See the conference timetable.

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