Early Years Twilight Seminars

Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Autority

The Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA), in partnership with the Bastow, has developed a series of Twilight Seminars about assessment for learning across the early years. The series will run from September 2014 to May 2015 to support ongoing dialogue and discussions in the early years.

The first seminar on 17 September, The power of linking drawing and emergent writing in the early years, was presented by Carol Rasborsek from the University of Melbourne Graduate School of Education and Dr Noella Mackenzie from Charles Sturt University.

Dr Noella MackenzieDr Mackenzie’s presentation described how drawing and writing can be viewed as a unified system of meaning. This seminar provided opportunities for practitioners in both early childhood and in the early years of school to develop joint expertise in considering evidence of children’s learning.

Eighty five participants attended this Twilight Seminar at Bastow and over 137 participants linked in by video conference from 13 regional sites across Victoria.  The feedback from participants in the regions and at the Institute was both enthusiastic and complementary of Dr Mackenzie’s approaches to the teaching and learning of writing, linking contemporary literacies with prior knowledge and using multi modal strategies.

Further information and resources about Dr Mackenzie work is available on the VCAA website – Early Years Exchange.

Listed below are the upcoming events in this Early Years Twilight Seminar series.


Seminar 2 - Babies and toddlers: amazing learners

Wednesday 12 November 2014 at 5.30pm – 7pm

Anne Stonehouse AM, consultant and writer about early childhood education and care and Dr David Howes, Executive Director VCAA Curriculum Division

This seminar will include excerpts from three videos that draw attention to the significant foundational learning in first three years and the direct links with later learning in school and in life. Interactive discussions will include the perceptions of babies and toddlers in the broader community and how this impacts on relationships between children, parents and early childhood professionals.


Seminar 3 - Collaborative approaches to assessment for learning in early years networks

Wednesday 11 March 2015 at 5.30pm – 7pm

Dr Iris Duhn and Professor Marilyn Fleer, Monash University and Professor Linda Harrison, Charles Sturt University

This seminar will include discussions with Monash University researchers in review and evaluation of the VCAA commissioned Inquiry to Implementation Project in nine early years networks. Specifically the concept of relational agency and the development of common knowledge and distributed expertise within multidisciplinary early years networks

The seminar will examine how relational agency expertise in early years networks can strengthen assessment practice to support the best interests of children and families.


Seminar 4 - Developing cognitive learning through the ARTS

Wednesday 13 May 2015 at 5.30pm – 7pm

Jan Deans and Professor Susan Wright, University of Melbourne

This seminar will discuss how the ARTS as semiotic meaning-making tools support higher order thinking and empathetic relationship building. The role of the teacher in scaffolding children’s learning through the ARTS will be discussed in relation to Vygotsky’s theory of the social construction of knowledge and schema theory.

Further information about the Early Years Twilight Seminars can be found on the VCAA website.