Alice Campbell – Independent Teacher – In The Real Wonderland
My name is Alice Campbell and I have worked with little children and their families for over 30 years. Initially working as Registered Nurse, I also hold a Masters degree in teaching and am a Registered Teacher, specialising in both play-based learning and therapeutic play.
I am a relentless advocate for the right of all children to play, develop and connect with others in a way that supports their relationships, their dignity and their wellbeing. Working as Independent Teacher, I support the growing number of families – from all over the world – who are searching for these more meaningful, personalised and humanising alternatives to high-pressure and standardised education.
What I Do:
As an Independent Teacher, I provide support and services to parents, educators and therapists who understand the long-term importance of secure relationships, and unhurried play during childhood . Most of the families or teams I work with are seeking out ways to provide learning experiences that foster each individual child’s creativity, confidence and connection.
Services I Offer:
As an Independent Teacher, I offer a range of educational and therapeutic resources including play-based learning experiences, curriculum, mentoring and training to support children’s holistic learning. My aim is to support parents and educators to use play and build the sorts of connections that foster children’s long-term learning and well-being.
~ Master of Teaching (registration ACT 019789);
~ Bachelor of Nursing (Distinction);
~ Master of Play Therapy/ Grad. Dip Psychology (in completion);
~ Grad. Dip. Disaster and Trauma Recovery;
~ Grad. Cert. Health Promotion and Education.
Selected Postgraduate Certifications, Licencing and Training
~ Registered Teacher (ACT TQI 019789);
~ Circle of Security;
~ Talk for Writing;
~ Hanen Speech (Teacher Talk);
~ Neurosequential Development / Therapeutics;
~ Certified FEAS Assessor (DIR-Floortime);
~ Seasons of Growth;
~ Sand Therapy;
~ Art Therapy;
~ Orton Gillingham;
Selected Awards Received
~ Deakin University (Excellence in Teaching Practice) (2019);
~ ACT Dept. Health (Infant/ Early Childhood Mental Health) (2014);
~ NAPCAN National Awards (Infant/ Early Childhood Mental Health & Development) (2013)
~ NSW Dept Education (Innovative Children’s Programs and Empowerment) (2002);
Professional Development and Standards
I undertake ongoing professional development and maintenance of my professional standards. This includes:
~ undertaking monthly supervision and coaching with experienced practitioners and mentors, to maintain reflective practices.
~ a minimum of 100 hours per year in formal professional development and training. In order to maintain my professional skills, I place equal emphasis on curriculum content (science-based approaches to literacy and mathematics teaching); teaching practices and pedagogy (for example, in play-based learning); and specialist training in areas of trauma-informed and neuroaffirming practices.
~ continuing informal professional learning such as undertaking regular research, face-to-face teaching and other activities to maintain professional currency and relevance.
Over the last 30 years, I have worked with children and their families in many communities around the world.
My Educational Philosophy
My transition from nursing to teaching started when I began working with young children and their families – often in very challenging circumstances – to support child development. As I continued to gained experience, I observed that people (including children) are most fulfilled when they are able to shape the decisions affecting their own lives.
Therefore, even while still a health professional, education became my most important tool.
My experiences have accordingly shaped my view that education (and teaching) is not about transmitting the ‘correct’ information so children can ‘achieve’ or ‘gain competency’ for the sake of it. Instead, I have come to understand that real education is a resource. In essence, education is a resource that should ensure each child is able to influence the decisions that affect their lives. In other words, I view education as being the foundation of living a life of meaning, purpose and satisfaction.
At the heart of this belief, is the recognition that we all have different perspectives and views about what a “good life” looks like, and the sorts of things that bring each of us genuine meaning and purpose. Education, therefore, can never be a one-size-fits-all solution, but rather a process which:
places each child’s dignity, worth and aspirations at the centre.
My Educational Approaches:
During my career, I have been fortunate to have a wide range of experiences with many, wonderful families from all walks of life. These experiences have given me a specific focus on providing rich educational experiences that extend beyond the idea of one-size-fits-all. Instead, I have spent my working life developing expertise in designing curriculum and programs which challenge the control-and-conform approach to working with children, and instead foster:
Family, Culture & Nature
In the 1990s/ 2000s I worked in remote Australia with Indigenous communities. While here, I worked under the guidance of Indigenous Elders. They taught me deeply about the importance of children’s families, cultures and their connection to Country in learning and development.
Authentic Play as The Key to Learning
Early in my career, I developed a multi-age circus program, with over 200 children and community members. As a result of the positive outcomes from this work, I saw the need for learner-directed play as the central defining feature of high quality programs to support children’s learning, growth and well-being.
Children’s Voice & Perspectives
In one of my earliest school-based projects, I invited young children to contribute to policy and program development, by giving them cameras to document their perspectives. This was the first known time in Australia that children’s voices were used to inform development of government services.
Alice Campbell – Independent Teacher – Educational Practices
Although these examples are now several decades old, they profoundly influenced my subsequent development as a practitioner. Subsequently, over time, these ideals matured and evolved into eight core practice principles which now guide all of my work with young children.
Alice Campbell – Independent Teacher – In The Real Wonderland