Pre-Conference Educational Encounters

We invite delegates to immerse themselves in the local Victorian landscape of educational possibilities through experiencing a Pre-conference Educational Encounter.

The Educational Encounters are visits to places of education and care where delegates can learn more about how a setting is inspired by the research and work of Reggio Emilia in their context. The visits usually include; a tour of the setting, information about how the centre is inspired by the Reggio Approach, time for questions and light refreshments.

Educational Encounters will commence promptly at 8am (buses departing between 8am and 8.30am) on Thursday 29 June, with one Encounter commencing at 12.15pm.

Please note: If minimum numbers are not met the experience maybe cancelled, if this occurs delegates will be refunded in full.

Delegates booking a morning Educational Encounter will not be back in time to participate in the afternoon Educational Encounter but may wish to consider an Atelier Experience.


The 2023 Pre-conference Educational Encounters are generously hosted by:

Woodline Primary

Woodline Primary is an independent primary school located on Wadawurrung Country in Ceres. Our founding year was in 2021 with 30 children. This year in our third year, we welcome 96 children.

Our school is set on 20 acres of farm land where most of our learning takes place outside. Our pedagogy is influenced by the Reggio Emilia principles in which we create contexts that foster curiosity, wonder and connection. Our whole school research subject is titled “The Ecology of Relationships.” We will be exploring the concepts of Imagination and Change.

Our philosophy is centred around supporting and nurturing children’s wellbeing. We are a non-punitive school and always look behind the behaviour to support children to thrive and be their authentic selves.

We are proud of the way in which the approach is embedded throughout our primary years. By prioritising the children’s wellbeing, we know that their learning is rich and meaningful.

Westbourne Grammar School Winjeel P-2 Campus

Westbourne Grammar School is an independent ELC-Year 12 school situated in Truganina approximately 20 minutes from the Melbourne CBD.  Our Prep to Year 2 building was designed to reflect our inquiry-based learning philosophy which makes reference to the values and principles of the Reggio Emilia approach. The central heart of the building is the Piazza, with classrooms at each year level centred around a visual arts atelier.

The educational tour will showcase pedagogical documentation, giving visibility to the complex thinking of children through the 100 languages. We will also share how we design our projects and learning contexts, navigate assessment within the primary classroom and create engaging, meaningful learning experience that foster curiosity and creativity in our students.

The Learning Space

Conveniently located childcare on the corner of Clifton Gove and Bell Street, Coburg, The Learning Space bursts at the seams with plentiful light, fresh open spaces and character. Our boutique centre features two play spaces suitable for toddlers through 3 and 4 year old kindergarten environments. Spacious age appropriate outdoor areas have been designed to highlight the use of natural elements and support gross motor development and sustainability with community vegetable gardens.

We provide children the opportunity to interact with various ages whilst still taking advantage of age appropriate indoor play spaces dedicated to promoting personal unique development.

Our child care centre and kindergarten is licensed for 39 children per day and operates from 6:30am – 6:00pm Monday to Friday.

Isabel Henderson Kindergarten

Isabel Henderson Kindergarten, a community-based nature kindergarten in Fitzroy North, Victoria, on Wurundjeri Country. Our programming is underpinned by the principles of the Early Years Learning Framework, and we acknowledge and support children to become critically aware, active global citizens. The curriculum emerges from children’s interests within the context of a language-enriched, play-based inquiry program with a particular focus on nature and the Kulin Seasons.

Children spent 80-90% of their days outside, in a range of weather conditions. We have worked for many years replanting and reclaiming the spaces in the garden to make them ‘wild’. In 2022 completed our Outdoor Kitchen, which is fully accessible to the children, adding another opportunity autonomy and hands on learning.

We offer a 2 year kindergarten program, with the majority of children entering at the 3 year old kindergarten program.

Geelong Grammar School ELC

The Early Learning Centre at Geelong Grammar School, Toorak Campus is located in the inner suburbs of Melbourne. The ELC is housed in a building known as The Pottery, a beautiful, joyful and inspiring learning space for children aged three to five years. We have two ELC 3 programs and two ELC 4 programs.

Our Early Learning Centre is inspired and influenced by:

  • The International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP)
  • The Reggio Emilia Approach to Early Childhood Education
  • The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia (EYLF)
  • Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework (VEYLDF)
  • Adventure Education, Positive Education and Creative Education.

These elements underpin all of our practices and beliefs about teaching and learning in Early Childhood.

We believe learning is a natural and ongoing process that begins at birth. Children start to construct their understandings and ideas about the world from an early age based on their knowledge and interpretations of events and experiences.  We believe learning is hands on, interactive, interest based, play centred and investigative. We encourage children to develop their inquiring minds by exploring and engaging, observing and wondering, challenging and questioning their world.  We aim to build the foundations for a lifelong love of learning.

We are proud to share the children’s learning as well as our learning and environments with visiting delegates.

St Michael’s Grammar School ELC and Junior School

St Michael’s Grammar School, founded by the Sisters of the Church, is a co-educational, ELC – Year 12 Independent School, located on one site. We have an 84 place ELC, consisting of 3YO and Pre-Preparatory (4YO) groups.  We are situated in bayside St Kilda, surrounded by a diverse and rich offering of the Performing and visual arts, water sports at nearby St Kilda beach, multi-cultural restaurants and the St Kilda Botanical Gardens. The School values the diversity of the local community and our ‘Signature Programs’ are enhanced by our community connections. The ELC and Junior School are in a phase of regeneration, where we see opportunity in the evolution of education, while we continue to be anchored by the tenets of the Reggio Emilia Research Project. We look forward to sharing our research, programs, newly opened Centre for Inquiry and Innovation (CII) and ELC and Junior School facilities.

Starfish Early Learning Centre

Nunawading was established in May 2014 and is part of the Starfish Early Learning group of Centres. We are a privately owned family business operating an incorporated long day care and kindergarten, offering education and care for children between the ages of 6weeks to 5years old.

We focus on two concepts each year that have been conceived from thoughtful observations of the previous year, educator surveys and professional learning workshops. These provide us with opportunities for deeper learning about the concept – how the educators and children can learn from it and how we can learn in conjunction with the children. Some of the concepts we have explored are gendered environments, children’s rights, leadership, inclusion, wellbeing, and identity, and this year we will be investigating Beauty and Life Cycles. We’re really excited!

Pope Road Kindergarten

Pope Road Kindergarten is a community-based, not-for-profit kindergarten for children aged 3-5 years. It’s a welcoming place where children, families and teachers encounter life and learning through the reciprocity of relationships, co-research, collaboration and co-participation.

The learning program has a long history of being inspired and informed by the research and education project in Reggio Emilia, Italy, with a strong and authentic focus on the role and value of learning through relationships.  Our learning also reflects our commitment to reconciliation, and learning alongside First Peoples.

Curriculum design evolves through a cycle of noticing, observation, reflection, intentionality and collaboration.

  • Children’s potential, a culture of listening and the process of learning, within meaningful contexts are paramount.
  • Educational documentation makes learning visible and supports research.
  • Teachers are supported to strengthen their professional identity and purpose through robust dialogue, shared thinking and professional learning.
  • Our beautiful play environment celebrates years of shared projects that weaves the tapestry of our history, present and future.

Amici – Westbourne Early Learning Centre

Amici Westbourne ELC, situated in the Western suburbs of Melbourne, caters for children from a few months of age through to their kindergarten year (4-5 year olds). Our ELC is co-located with the Prep-Year 2 junior school campus of Westbourne Grammar School.

Our staff, representing diverse ethnic backgrounds, has been making reference to the values and principles of the educational project over several years. We are inspired by the potential of  co-participative research and documentation as a means of co-constructing meaningful learning experiences and innovative curriculum with and for young children. Each year we work with a centre wide project focus, with each room interpreting the project focus in relation to each specific community of learners.

We are excited to have the opportunity, through the educational encounters, to share our project work and documentation.

Cornish College Early Learning Centre

Cornish college Early Learning centre is part of an independent coeducational school that educates young people from ELC3 to year 12.  The school is 35 kilometers from the city of  Melbourne and is situated on 100 acres of natural park and wet lands. Our educational program includes the Early Years Learning Framework and The International Baccalaureate Primary years program and is influenced by Nature Pedagogy and the Reggio Emelia Approach. We have two classrooms with 22 children in each. Children start at 3 or 4 years of age and move up into the 4 & 5 year old room with their teachers. The involvement of specialist teachers enriches the program and our access to the schools 100 acres enables the children go beyond the ELC gate, spending long periods of uninterrupted time learning with, in, from and for nature.

Princes Hill Primary School

The learning environments of Princes Hill Primary school are unlike those of more familiar traditional schools. How are they different and why?

PHPS believes in ‘the potential of children, their curiosity and desire to find meaning in everything they experiences’. As participants in the 21st century, children need to understand themselves as learners – and how to work collaboratively. They need to develop skills of thinking creatively, laterally and critically. They also need to learn how to access new skills and knowledge and to engage with new technologies. The school’s beliefs about learning, pedagogical practice, organisational structures and the physical environment reflect these core principles.

New pedagogical practices are continually evolving to enact these principles through collective inquiry led research projects which incorporate the Victorian Curriculum. Children, parents and teachers are continually involved in active research, developing the evolving vision and practices of the school. This is a democratic and collaborative process in which the roles of all the participants are transformed, fluid and interchangeable.

MLC Kindle

MLC Kindle an Early Learning Centre in the broader educational environment of Methodist Ladies’ College, a K-12 Independent school in Melbourne.  Established in the year 2000, MLC Kindle was designed both with its physical spaces and philosophy inspired by the educational project of Reggio Emilia.  Since that time, the educators at MLC Kindle continue to strive to cultivate the associated principles in their daily practice.

In recent years we have been conducting whole centre research, which has made a great impact on the teaching and learning across all classrooms six weeks – five years. Early in 2023, we have undertaken a renovation reimagining of our outdoor spaces, inspired by research conducted in 2018 & 19.  2021 and 2022 research focused on the concept of Community and making kin.  In 2023 we are embarking on a new research topic, which we will love sharing with you on your visit.

Preshil – The Margaret Lyttle Memorial School Kindergarten

Experience a tour of Preshil’s Arlington Campus. Nestled in a natural habitat unmatched in its inner-urban location, our Arlington Campus is home to children from Kindergarten to Year 6. The Kindergarten is a multi-age program incorporating children from 3 to 5.

Australia’s oldest progressive school, Preshil has long been known for its progressive, child-led approach and its beautiful heritage gardens. Started in 1930 in Margaret Lyttle’s lounge room, the School still prioritises her key values of courage and curiosity but is not afraid of new ideas and creative approaches, striving to maintain a cutting-edge, researched-backed curriculum.

Of course, courage is not required when things are easy, and change can take some adjusting to. With Margaret Lyttle’s approach in mind, Preshil kindergarten is undergoing something of a transition in 2023, which means we are also learning, making mistakes, playing, and reflecting. So come for a tour and become a part of our shared reflection as we expand our kindergarten into a progressive, play-based long-day-care incorporating OSCH. A collaborative process of discovery, we will be aiming to consult at all times with our community and the children and we welcome pedagogical collaboration and insight as well as the opportunity to share.