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

Caitlin’s voice is having an impact!


Caitlin’s sister, Analise reports on what is great about being a young person in 2014.

The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) Education Institute celebrated National Youth Week by setting up a Seven News desk for children and young people to share their thoughts on what it’s like to be young in 2014!

The ‘RCH Youth News Desk’ invited young people, like Analise pictured here, to dress up as a news reader before taking the chair and sharing their youth news to a video camera. Stay tuned for our newsletter next week which will feature a clip including all the news and action from the day!

Caitlin Magagna is a young woman who hopes that her voice will have an impact for other young people juggling their education whilst managing a health condition. Caitlin has cystic fibrosis, which means that she spends a significant amount of time at the RCH. Time that she would rather be spending on or with some of the things that are important to young people in 2014 – family, friends, education and community.

Caitlin feels that it is very important for young people with a health condition to have access to educational and social support because even though young people are great at managing lots of different things it is sometimes difficult to navigate your way through school without advice and support. “There isn’t a lot of information out there for people my age about what to do when it comes to your education and if you haven’t been through it before, you don’t know what the options are”, Caitlin says.

Education is really important to Caitlin and she hopes that by communicating with her school and the wider community, she can raise awareness about the needs of young people with cystic fibrosis and other chronic health conditions.  ”It is really important for everyone to have an education and having teachers at the hospital helps us. It means that we don’t struggle as much with certain tasks”, Caitlin says. “I plan to use my voice in the future to tell people about what it is like for young people with cystic fibrosis and to work on fundraising campaigns”, she said. We have no doubt that Caitlin’s voice will have an impact.

Factors affecting educational aspirations

Educational aspirations

New research examines the factors that influence educational aspirations to provide an insight into the strategies that could be used to raise aspirations.

The role of aspirations in the educational and occupational choices of young people presents an analysis of Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth (LSAY) data to investigate the impact of aspirations on the educational and occupational choices of young people.

The authors examine factors that influence educational aspirations to provide an insight into the strategies that could be used to raise aspirations. Key findings include:

  • Students’ educational intentions are one of the strongest predictors of Year 12 completion.
  • Educational aspirations also impact strongly on participation in tertiary education and training, although the impact is not as great as that on Year 12 completion.
  • Multiple factors interact to drive young people’s educational aspirations, including attitudes towards school, academic performance, parental expectations, peer plans and student background.
  • Parental expectations and peer plans appear to be particularly influential factors in young people’s educational choices.


The factors affecting the educational and occupational aspirations of young Australians published by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research has also recently been published. This publication discusses the findings of an investigation into which factors drive the educational and occupational aspirations of young people. Using data from the 2009 cohort of the LSAY, the researchers’ initial analysis confirmed the most important factors moderating young people’s aspirations include gender, English-speaking background, socioeconomic status, academic achievement and parental and peer influences.

This research highlights some interesting facts for us, namely that aspirations are modifiable, in particular by parents and peer attitudes and similar to our own research on predictors of educational outcomes, the role of aspirations is relevant for children with and without a chronic illness.




Engaging educational apps – free information session

Meerkat Home

Mobile 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?

Join us at The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) to explore how our teachers use apps to engage students of all ages with diverse learning needs in personalised learning experiences.

Date  Wednesday 7th May 2014 from 4.30-6.00pm

Location The Royal Children’s Hospital, 50 Flemington Rd Parkville

Presenter  Lauren Sayer, Head of Teaching and Learning, RCH Education Institute

To register call (03) 9345 9805 or email

Forward to a friend and win!

ForwardiconThere is still time to win a fantastic prize in our ‘Forward to a friend’ competition!

All you need to do is forward this newsletter, via the ‘Forward to a friend’ link above the header or in the footer of this email campaign or share via the Facebook or Twitter icons in the footer and you will go into the draw to win two adult passes to Zoos Victoria.

Here are five good reasons to share our story and forward this newsletter to a friend.

  1. Every time you ‘forward to a friend’ using the link in the header/footer of this email you go into the draw to win two adult passes to Zoos Victoria (children and young people receive free entry to the zoo on weekends, public holidays and during Victorian school holidays).
  2. We are committed to providing dynamic and innovative education support to children and young people at the RCH and love sharing learning stories with the wider community.
  3. Sharing our story will help us to ensure that all young people, regardless of their health status, have access to a quality education.
  4. We rely on the collective efforts of our partners; families, funding partners, education professionals, health professionals, philanthropic and corporate partners and sponsors, arts and cultural institutions, champions and volunteers to explore opportunities and create rich and varied learning experiences for the children and young people of the RCH.
  5. Did we mention that every time you forward our newsletter to a friend or colleague before 24 April 2014 you’ll go into the draw to win two adult passes to Zoos Victoria?

Our competition runs until the end of April. Don’t miss out, forward to a friend!