The Early Years Catalyst commissioned Telethon Kids Institute to undertake a deep dive into the mental models underpinning the early years systems and outcomes in Australia. This process is to understand the mental models that we hold around the early years, how those mental models influence us and how we can influence them across Australia. We are also codesigning a long-term strategy and implementation plan to foster the big societal shifts that are needed if we are to truly transform Australia’s early year’s system.

The codesigning phase of this work is ongoing but phase one of the deep dive is complete, and in this recording of the webinar the team from Telethon Kids Institute share with us their discoveries in answering two key questions:

  1. What does the early years field need to understand about the mental models that are holding current conditions in place and the mental models that are required to support the desired future state of the early years system?
  2. What are the most effective strategies available to shift those mental models to the future state?

We are sharing the recording of this webinar and the slides below to encourage greater levels of conversation across the early years field. Please let us know your thoughts and insights as to how this should, could, will or is being used or built on.

Thank you
Geoff Sharp, Early Years Catalyst Backbone Lead


A note about this content:

Mental Models are the deeply held societal beliefs or narratives that influence the way we see the world, including expectations, values, and norms. These things are often unstated, may be outside awareness, not necessarily true or something you personally believe, and they can be confronting.

Please be aware that the following slides contain deficit-based language that is highly stigmatising. These statements largely represent the lived experience of people from marginalised social and cultural groups, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and those with lived experience of disability. To give voice to those with this lived experience, it is presented in the way it was reported. Where statements were made by people from dominant social and cultural groups they largely represent perceptions of cultural models (i.e., what the majority believe) rather than individual beliefs.

We advise care when engaging in this content, particularly if it is close to your own lived experience.



Webinar Recording:




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