Message from the Executive Director

buildingbillcartsThe Good Friday Appeal raised an amazing $16,846,396.09 for The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) and the Education Institute was proud to contribute to this effort by collaborating with Supreme Incursions and SNAG Golf Australia to make it a special day for those who were at the hospital.

The Specialist Clinics area at RCH was buzzing with activity as Education Institute staff and a team of volunteers from Supreme Incursions worked with young people to design, build and race billy carts around a tailor made track. There was lots of huffing and puffing and giggling as adults and children alike took it in turns to burn up the track on their billy carts!

Good Friday Billycarts 039A very big thank you to everyone who was involved in the activities on Good Friday. Our friends from Supreme Incursions and SNAG Golf Australia, who donated a golf target, were fantastic and it was great to see so many children and their families engaged in activities together. We are so pleased to be able to support this important RCH event and to ensure that children who are unable to go home for Easter can still enjoy the spirit of this wonderful day.

Following activities here at the RCH, I went to Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre to the Kids Day Out.  Amongst other things, I spent time at the Teddy Bear Hospital. It was lovely to see the interactions between children and medical students from The University of Melbourne and once again I was reminded of the many opportunities that exist to mesh education and health together.


Glenda Strong


Educational apps – free information session

rchcreate-creature_imagesMobile devices allow young people to gather, access, and process information anywhere, anytime. They can encourage learning in a real world context and help bridge school and out-of-school environments.

But of the thousands of apps for mobile devices that are available, which ones provide relevant and rich learning opportunities for young people? How can we ensure that we are surrounding our young people with high-quality educational resources which enrich their environment?

The RCH Education Institute invites teachers, parents, caregivers and other interested parties to a free information session facilitated by Lauren Sayer, Head of Teaching and Learning at the RCH Education Institute. Lauren will offer advice and strategies to help determine which apps can provide relevant and rich learning opportunities for young people and how we use apps at the RCH to engage students (Kinder- Year 12) with diverse learning needs in personalised learning experiences.

When?           Wednesday 7 May 2014 from 4.30-6.00pm

Where?          Vernon Collins Auditorium, The Royal Children’s Hospital

Who?              Parents, caregivers, teachers, other interested parties

To register      Email

This Information Session is free of charge.


Promoting oral language in the classroom


Oral language is a key foundation for student learning. It is essential for literacy learning, and effective use of language is critical for students’ wellbeing. Almost all classroom-based learning relies on oral language. Children who do not master the basics of literacy in the early years of school are often ambivalent towards school and may be at increased risk of experiencing a range of behavioural and adjustment difficulties.

Despite the importance of oral language competence within the classroom context, there has been little research done to determine if oral language promotion changes child outcomes and/or teacher practice.

Improving children’s language, literacy and mental health: Evaluating the impact of the classroom promotion of oral language (CPOL) approach is a research project which aims to determine the effectiveness of an oral language intervention delivered at Prep and Grade One on the language and literacy development and mental health of children by Grade Three.

The study aims to

  • determine the effectiveness of a teacher-led, whole-of-class approach to promoting oral language
  • determine whether a specifically designed teacher professional development program focussed on a whole-of-class approach to promoting oral language can lead to sustained change in teacher practice
  • gain an in-depth understanding of the factors that promote and inhibit the success of a whole-of-class approach to promoting oral language.


This study is a collaboration between The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) Education Institute, The Centre for Child Community Health (CCCH), The University of Melbourne, Monash University, the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria (CECV) and the Victorian Government Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD). It builds upon previous work completed by the CECV which has shown in a pilot trial that such professional development of teachers has led to improvements in oral language development for Prep and Grade One children.

Utilising a cluster randomised controlled trial, 75 schools across both the Catholic and government education sectors, have been targeted for study. The intervention involves a five day teacher professional development (PD) program with ongoing support provided for implementation of PD learnings.

The Classroom Promotion of Oral Language trial is funded by an Australian Research Council Linkage Grant and The Ian Potter Foundation.



Calling young artists

signalcreativeartsspaceSignal is a creative studio for young people aged 13 to 20. At Signal, young people can work alongside professional artists in a collaborative way. Located in the heart of the city, Signal is a place for making, showing, inspiring and developing Melbourne’s creative talent – in every medium.

Signal is open to young people from all walks of life and ability – no experience is needed and workshops are free.

Signal is currently inviting young people aged 16 to 25 to get involved in the 2014 Signal Screen Commissions. The City of Melbourne has a proud history of public art with its streets and laneways providing the backdrop for a wide range of contemporary artworks. In recognition of this, Signal is commissioning up to five art works created by young and emerging artists. Young artists will also have the opportunity to participate in developmental workshops including technical and creative support and mentoring.

Signal staff are available to meet with young people to provide more information or answer questions in person.

A copy of the guidelines and application form is available on the Signal website. Submissions for the Signal Screen Commission are due by May 6.

Education Excellence Awards

SonyaandGeorgeSonya Nedovic, Early Childhood Educator at The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) Education Institute, has been short-listed as a finalist in the 2014 Victorian Education Excellence Awards in the category of Early Childhood Teacher.

The Victorian Education Excellence Awards is the most prestigious reward and recognition program for teachers, principals, business managers and support staff in Victorian government schools. Being nominated for one of these awards is an incredible honour and a positive reflection on a teacher’s contribution to school learning.

Sonya has been at the RCH Education Institute for just over 12 months and in that time she has proven herself to be a teacher of outstanding quality and commitment. She has established the hospital’s inaugural early learning program for 3-4 year old children who would otherwise miss out on vital early learning opportunities due to their hospitalisation. This highly individualised and innovative program has attracted a great deal of interest from clinical staff, other early childhood educators and parents.

Sonya’s skills and expertise as an early childhood professional have added a dynamic new dimension to a shared environment. She delivers learning sessions in small groups on wards or at the bedside.  Her role also involves consultation with families from diverse backgrounds, development of Individual Learning Plans, liaison with, and referral to, kindergarten programs, and working with clinical staff to ensure children remain engaged in learning whilst they are receiving treatment at the hospital.

We regularly receive positive feedback from parents, nursing and allied health staff in relation to Sonya’s professionalism, warmth and sensitive approach with young patients who are dealing with chronic health issues.

We are looking forward to hearing some good news at the Awards ceremony which will be held on Friday May 16.

We wish Sonya the very best of luck!

If you would like to send a public message of support to Sonya, you can submit a note, picture or even a video on the Thank a Teacher Tribute  page by Tuesday May 6. 

A place where stories come to life

Story-Box-Library-logo1Who doesn’t love a being told a good story?  Especially when it is read in an interesting and expressive way! A new subscription to online ‘reading room’, Storybox Library, is helping our teachers nurture a culture of storytelling at The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH).

Story Box Library provides teachers, parents and caregivers with access to the wonderful world of Australian Children’s Literature read by a diverse cast of contemporary Australian voices. Young people at RCH are taking great delight in listening to stories read by Clare Bowditch, Missy Higgins, Peter Hitchener and Nick Cave – just to name a few.

For our educators at the RCH, Story Box Library provides an invaluable technology-based teaching tool that enhances the learning experience. Complemented by the medium of film, children can watch as well as listen to vibrant Australian readers. Early Childhood Educator, Sonya Nedovic says that many of the patients and their families that she has been teaching love this new library. “The readers are often familiar faces to both young and old and by integrating illustrations from the original picture books with video footage of the storyteller, each narrative focuses on both the tale and the teller”, Sonya said.

For many children and young people at the RCH, listening to stories is sometimes the only way they can engage with literature. Sonya says that the dramatic element of some of the readings has certainly helped her students to explore tone, emphasis and how different voices help to create characters.

Young people can use the online resource to read in their own time, building literacy skills and literary appreciation at any time. Our teachers feel that Story Box Library embraces the technology of today by retaining the magic of the past.

To find out more about Story Box Library visit