Peter Gray is a research professor of psychology at Boston College who has conducted and published research in neuroendocrinology, developmental psychology, anthropology, and education. He is author of an internationally acclaimed introductory psychology textbook (Psychology, Worth Publishers, now in its 8th edition), which views all of psychology from an evolutionary perspective. His recent research focuses on the role of play in human evolution and how children educate themselves, through play and exploration, when they are free to do so. He has expanded on these ideas in his book, Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life (Basic Books). He also authors a regular blog called Freedom to Learn, for Psychology Today magazine. He is a founding member and president of the nonprofit Alliance for Self-Directed Education (ASDE), which is aimed at creating a world in which children’s natural ways of learning are facilitated rather than suppressed. He is also a founding board director of the nonprofit Let Grow, the mission of which is to renew children’s freedom to play and explore outdoors, independently of adults.
Rebeccah is a full time teacher at Silverdale School and mother to four wonderful boys aged between 5 and 12 years of age. Needless to say she leads a busy life with work commitments, sport and keeping her boys active and outdoors.
Rebeccah is a firm believer and advocate for play based learning as she has seen with her own children the difference it makes when transitioning them to school and in creating that love for learning. A happy child with strong relationships and self belief is going to learn.
Rebeccah has presented at Ulearn18, Kohia Centre, Albany's Kahui Ako TOD day and at a conference held by Learning network.
Dr Sarah Brown recently completed her doctorate on how relationships are established and maintained during a transition from Early Childhood Education to Primary School. She is now a primary school principal having previously lectured in pre-service early childhood and primary school tertiary degree courses.
Dr. Sarah Watson is the Clinic Director and a registered Child & Adolescent Clinical Psychologist at Totally Psyched. Sarah has over ten years experience as both a Psychologist and leader across a variety of settings, all specialising in working with children, adolescents and their families.
Sarah worked for many years in one of Auckland's Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) as a Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Lead of teams and led many specific multi-agency ministerial projects. Prior to her doctoral clinical training and having a family of her own, Sarah worked in South London & Maudsley for several years as a Residential Social Worker and Assistant Psychologist; working with children with severe mental health needs who were in residential government care ('children's homes').
Sarah has successfully been in private practice based in the hub of Auckland's North Shore for over eight years. Sarah is regularly asked for her expert opinion and has appeared on various radio shows, Breakfast, Seven Sharp, The Paul Henry Show and is regularly contributing to the NZ Herald and other media. She is a speaker at professional development conferences for GP's, Teachers, Professionals, Social Workers, RTLB's and Counsellors nationwide.
Sarah maintains a small clinical caseload, working with children, adolescents and families across a variety of areas. She is particularly interested in working with families affected by neurodevelopmental delays (ADHD & ASD), coexisting medical/psychological conditions, neurolopsychological assessment and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
Often known as "Mr Science", Mr Cathman first started teaching 12 years ago at Nelson Boys College and has since taught at primary/intermediate schools all over the Nelson area. In fact, Mr Cathman has been instrumental in pioneering science education in primary schools nationwide, as a charter member of NZAPSE (NZ Association of Primary Science Educators) 2010.
As a specialist primary science teacher, his methods aim to showcase the idea that learning can be fun, as well as useful. “Some areas of science can get really academic and complicated – sometimes teachers just need something that relates to their life. That’s my job, to make it something they want to participate in.”
As a PLD accredited facilitator, Mr Cathman spends his time in the classroom, travelling the country working with primary and intermediate schools, or enjoying the Nelson outdoors.
Sue has been working with psychological type for over 18 years. She is an international presenter and keynote speaker, as well as a qualified MBTI practitioner and adult educator. She is the author of The Personality Puzzle card sort resources, now used worldwide by coaches and counsellors. She has taught thousands of teachers, parents, students and businesses about the importance of self-awareness and communication. Sue is the recipient of the APTi 2015 Gordon Lawrence Award. This award recognises an outstanding achievement to the field of education that promotes the constructive use of psychological type.
Suskya Goodall has a background in teaching and leading in primary and intermediate schools in the Nelson and Wellington regions.
Work with Maternal Mental Health, Playcentre and local iwi furthered her passion for wellbeing promotion for children and adults. After completing her Masters in educational leadership and wellbeing, she is now pursuing her doctorate: Promoting flourishing in centres, kura and schools of Aotearoa New Zealand.
At Victoria University of Wellington, Suskya supports training teachers, participates on the Teaching and Learning Committee for the Faculty of Education and has various projects on the go.
Passionate about individual and collective wellbeing initiatives, she works with schools, clusters, the Ministry of Education and has presented at various national and international conferences.
Toni Westcott is a former primary school teacher who is now a part of the facilitating team at Digital Circus, a MOE accredited PLD provider, based in Hawkes Bay. Toni currently works with over 15 schools around New Zealand supporting them with the integration of technologies and future-focused teaching and learning. Alongside a Post Graduate Certificate in Digital and Collaborative Learning, Toni has just completed her Masters of Applied Practice where she investigated factors that influence the efficacy of a professional development programme and, combined with her knowledge and experience in her current role aims to create and provide effective PD for New Zealand teachers. Toni is a Google Certified Educator, Trainer and Innovator. Her current projects include creating an online digital fluency academy for primary school students and recording a podcast. Toni enjoys presenting and sharing ideas with other educators at conferences. In 2019, she presented at both the EdtechTeam Summit and Ulearn conference.