Conference Panel Discussion

Exploring the intersections between Australia’s Curriculum Frameworks (EYLF and the Australian Curriculum) and Educational Principles of Reggio Emilia. 

In this dynamic panel conversation, our experts will share their perspectives on the interconnectivity and practice possibilities in the overlapping

spaces between Australia’s Curriculum Frameworks and the Educational Principles of Reggio Emilia.

A crucial national dialogue that we invite you to engage in at the conference and beyond.


Esme Capp

Esme Capp has been a Principal Class educator for over twenty years, currently Principal of Princes Hill Primary School. Her focus over the past 25 years through collaborative practice developing research has been to lead transformative change in pedagogical practice, organizational structures and physical environments of schools, all with a focus on developing meaning contexts for thinking and learning. In 2014 she completing her PhD researching ‘Collective Inquiry:  using cultural historical theory as a methodology for educational reform’. Current research at PHPS includes, developing community partnerships, co-creating meaningful, authentic, collective inquiries and tracking student development. In 2020, she was awarded the Victorian Excellence in Education Award for Outstanding Primary School Principal.

Stefania Giamminuti

Dr Stefania Giamminuti is a bilingual Italian/Australian Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Education, Curtin University, Western Australia. She draws on two decades of sustained research collaboration with Reggio Children and with the Municipal Infant-toddler Centres and Preschools, Istituzione of the Municipality of Reggio Emilia, to investigate possibilities for early childhood education and care as the common good. Stefania’s work questions boundaries between theory, research, and practice and is informed by philosophy and by aesthetic and ethico-political concepts. She is currently leading a research project investigating the role of the pedagogista in the educational project of Reggio Emilia. In her research, Stefania dialogues with approaches to post qualitative inquiry, illuminating the capabilities of teachers, children and materials as co-researchers through pedagogical documentation. Stefania is also a member of the Council for Childhood and the City, Scuola Pablo Neruda (Reggio Emilia, Italy) and Deputy Chair of the School Council, Lance Holt School (Fremantle, WA).

Fay Hadley

Fay Hadley is an Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education and the Director of Education at the School of Education, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. Fay’s work in early childhood education spans over three decades and she began her career as an early childhood teacher and Director in early childhood education and care (ECEC) settings in NSW and the Fay’s primary area of research examines leadership in early childhood education and child and family diversity. This includes investigating mentoring, professional learning and career pathways for early childhood teachers. She is especially interested in the socio-political environment and how this affects early childhood teachers’ work. For the updates to the two learning framework – EYLF and MTOP Fay led and coordinated the tripartite partnership between MQ, QUT and ECU including a large multidisciplinary national consortium of 42 early years education and health academics and teachers from every State and Territory.

Catharine Hydon

With over 30 years experience leading and advocating for quality early childhood education and care, Catharine Hydon’s work, as the Principal Consultant and Director at Hydon Consulting, focuses on supporting professionals to explore the relationship between theory and practice.  

Catharine’s collaborative approach and engaging style has taken her all over Australia to think alongside leaders and educators in a collective effort to create meaning, define quality and engage in the art of transformational change.

Cultivating professional dialogue that responds to complexity and invites deep reflection is central to Catharine’s work and is informed by a Masters in early childhood education specialising in practice and governance. 

Amongst other pursuits, Catharine is a long-time member of Early Childhood Australia (ECA), an active contributor to ECA’s Reconciliation work and a regular contributor to ECA publications. Catharine has been a member of the ECA Code of Ethics working group for the last two reviews and is a co-author of ECA’s Ethics in Action Implementation guide. In addition, Catharine is a Board Member of the Victorian Curriculum Assessment Authority and Reggio Emilia Australia Information Exchange and has been appointed as a second-tier reviewer for ACECQA.    

In 2022 Catharine Completed a Diploma of Governance, deepening her interest and understanding of effective governance and leadership that support outcomes for children and whole communities. 

Rhonda Livingstone

Rhonda Livingstone is the National Education Leader, ACECQA and brings a wealth of experience to this role, having worked in preschools and long day care centres and as an assessor, developer and deliverer of programs and services for both government and non-government organisations.

Rhonda’s extensive involvement in the National Quality Agenda reforms saw her contribute to the development of the National Quality Standard and its Guide, assessment and rating tools, resources and processes, and the training and testing program for authorised officers. Rhonda continues to contribute to the development and delivery of resources and professional development programs for both the sector and regulatory authorities in her role of General Manager of ACECQA’s  Leadership, Quality and Regulatory Support Group.

Leanne Mits OAM

Leanne Mits is an experienced, practising Early Childhood Teacher and an advocate for children, families, educators and education. She has 40 years teaching experience in regional Victoria and Melbourne, in a range of settings, including long day care, community kindergarten, TAFE and playgroups. Voluntarily, Leanne is a longstanding Reggio Emilia Australian Information Exchange (REAIE) Committee member, fulfilling the role of national secretary, co-convener of the Hundred Languages of Children Exhibition, and co-leader of REAIE Study Tours to Reggio Emilia and New Zealand. Leanne has contributed to REAIE Challenge publications, and a range of professional learning events and webinars. Leanne is co-convener of a regional early childhood network group, an Early Childhood Australia (ECA) Victorian Committee member, co-convener of an ECA Special Interest Group on Reconciliation and an active participant and contributor to ECA’s Reconciliation work. Leanne is currently working on a research project with university academics about digital play and in 2019 was awarded Victorian Early Childhood Teacher of the Year. Leanne has worked with the principals of Reggio Emilia for over 2 decades. Her teaching and learning is anchored in learning through relationships, collaboration and participation, and using documentation as a tool for listening, research and professional learning.