Revitalise in recovery

Friday 4 June 2021, 11.00 am to 3.30 pm (AEST).

Revitalise in recovery is a forum for early learning and school age care setting leaders and educators who are caring for, and supporting the needs of, children and communities while they collectively recover from the experiences of bushfires and other events.

Together we will explore a framework for supporting ongoing community trauma recovery. There will be panel discussions, presentations, and opportunities to interact in ways that celebrate the successes and strengths in recovery planning and preparedness.

We will also identify ways Be You can continue, or begin, supporting your learning community and the approaches your community uses to make mental health and wellbeing a priority.

Join us online to learn and reflect on shared experiences and the power of community connectedness.

Click the button below to register and secure your spot.

Register here

This free event is especially designed for early learning and school-age care settings affected by experiences of community trauma.


Time (AEST) Session
11.00 am–
11.20 am
Acknowledgement of Country, welcome message and program overview
Facilitators: Paola Mercado and Nikki Edwards, Be You, Early Childhood Australia
11.20 am–
12.00 pm
Keynote address by Ben Rogers, Emerging Minds
Educators’ role in supporting early learning services in recovery following natural disasters
12.00 pm–
12.40 pm
Panel discussion
Resilience in recovery
Facilitator: Nikki Edwards
• Louise Taheny and Jill Huntley
, Yorketown Community Children’s Centre
• Lee Munn
, Lobethal Community Kindergarten
12.40 pm–
12.45 pm
Move to discussion session
12.45 pm–
1.10 pm
Breakout group discussions
Sharing your journey towards recovery
1.10 pm–
1.40 pm
Lunch break
1.40 pm–
1.45 pm
Welcome back
1.40 pm–
2.20 pm
Panel discussion
Sharing recovery stories
Facilitator: Paola Mercado
• Ben Rogers, Emerging Minds
• Robyn Paterson, Be You, Early Childhood Australia
• Michelle Woszatka, Be You, Early Childhood Australia
2.20 pm–
2.45 pm
Breakout group discussions
Continuing the recovery conversation
2.45 pm–
3.25 pm
Discussion session
In conversation with Susan Crowle, Kendall Community Preschool, Paola Mercado and Sandy Clark, Be You, Early Childhood Australia
Revitalise in recovery
3.25 pm–
3.30 pm
Closing remarks
Facilitators: Paola Mercado and Nikki Edwards
3.30 pm Close of event

Please note: changes to the program can be made at any point at discretion of the event organisers.

Facilitators and speakers

Paula MercadoPaula Mercado

Paola Mercado is a Be You Contact Liaison Officer for the Be You Bushfire Response Program. She has worked in the early childhood sector for more than 25 years as an educator in a variety of settings. Additionally, she has held roles in child protection. Her current work in disaster recovery is based on her expertise in relationship-based practices for children, parents, educators and community members. She is committed to increasing awareness about the importance of laying good foundations for positive mental health and wellbeing for lifelong benefits.

Nikki EdwardsNikki Edwards

Nikki Edwards is a passionate and committed advocate within and for the early childhood community, having worked as an early childhood educator and teacher, professional learning and infant mental health consultant, community trauma expert companion and inclusion professional. Nikki has a keen interest in nature, culture, sustainability, diversity and harmony.


Ben RogersBen Rogers

Ben Rogers is the Manager for Community Trauma at Emerging Minds. Ben’s role includes working with the Be You Bushfire Response Program to support learning communities, following the 2019–2020 bushfires. Ben is an occupational therapist and has held positions in a variety of mental health and child and family services across Australia and the United Kingdom.


Louise TahenyLouise Taheny

Louise Taheny has 30 years’ experience as an early childhood educator and is the Director at Yorketown Community Children’s Centre in South Australia, a role she has held for the past five years. Yorketown is a town centre for a rural community 250 km from Adelaide with a population of approximately 800 people. The Children’s Centre is a standalone service comprising a preschool and a long day care program with two workers, operating 8 am–6 pm, five days per week. In addition, it has an outside school hours care program for children aged six weeks to 12 years of age.

Jill HuntleyJill Huntley

Jill Huntley has worked in early childhood for about 40 years. She has worked in preschools, early childhood curriculum and quality units, and managed early childhood services for children aged from birth to twelve in many different regions of South Australia. She has a particular passion for anti-bias curriculum and has a mentoring role among educators in the centre.


Lee MunnLee Munn

Lee Munn is Director of Lobethal Community Kindergarten, South Australia. She has 30 years’ teaching experience, having started in primary education and moved to early childhood in 2003. As a nature pedagogy advocate, Lee founded Lobethal Kindergarten’s ‘Nature Connect’ program following a 2013 decision to replace toys with tools and host regular ‘outdoor weeks’. Under Lee’s leadership, Lobethal Kindergarten was recognised as a STEM ‘lead learning’ site by the state government, and was recently rated Excellent by the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority. Lee has led multiple initiatives to support recovery and rebuilding after Lobethal was devastated by bushfires in 2019.

Robyn PatersonRobyn Paterson

Robyn Paterson has extensive experience working with and for young children. She has held diverse roles, including school teacher and principal, centre director, tertiary course coordinator and university lecturer. Robyn has worked across the areas of health and education in government and non-government agencies. She has also held leadership and executive positions in not-for-profit organisations, local government, state and national reference groups, including the Federal Ministerial Advisory Council. Robyn is a lifelong learner, ever keen to expand her knowledge of children’s rights and wellbeing, and find new ways to support families.

Michelle WoszatkaMichelle Woszatka

Michelle is a highly regarded and experienced leader, committed to advocating and supporting the importance of the early years and the wellbeing of all. A qualified and accredited early childhood teacher and professional supervisor, she has worked in leadership, consulting and teaching roles across education and community services. Michelle’s expertise in working with trauma, and with children and adults from vulnerable and complex backgrounds, has provided a sound foundation for her work in the Be You Bushfire Response Program.

Sandy ClarkSandy Clark

Sandy Clark has held varied roles in the early years sector throughout her extensive career. Her focus has been on social work, teaching and mental health promotion. Sandy has a demonstrated commitment to promoting and supporting the mental health and wellbeing of children and families, and she has a special interest in educator wellbeing.


Susan Crowle

Susan Crowle has been the Director and Early Childhood Teacher at Kendall Community Preschool on the NSW mid-north coast for 10 years. Prior to this, she was part of a team that created an independent school in Canberra. For the duration of her teaching career, she has had a significant interest in the Reggio Emilia Project, which has guided and informed her teaching alongside a passion for sustainability and nature-based work for preschoolers. She believes loose-parts engagement and creativity in early childhood learning is imperative for children’s balanced development, and she enjoys the challenges of inspiring and nurturing educators to be the best they can be.