Keeping the Child in Mind

If you could experience a city from 95cm – the height of a 3-year-old – what would you change? 

To celebrate IMH awareness week, you are invited to join us for an evening of collaboration, advocacy, thoughtful discussion and reflection as we bring the local and international community together. Through reflective and innovative discussion, we hope to consider the collective impact of child focused, sustainable and livable urban planning and design for children and families in Perth, Western Australia and beyond.

The seminar will:

  • Show the first Australian screening of the Bernard van Leer Foundation’s documentary “95cm”
  • Offer a facilitated panel discussion with national and international guests from planning, design, private foundation, government and IMH sectors.

The primary focus of the AAIMHI WA Branch is to draw attention to the importance of the healthy social and emotional development of infants (0-5) in Australia. We hope to achieve this by assisting families, professionals and communities build nurturing and strong relationships with their children and to be aware of the causes and signs of mental, physical and emotional distress in infants. 

If you could experience a city from 95cm – the height of a 3-year-old – what would you change? Urban95 asks this bold but simple question of the world’s city leaders, planners, architects, and innovators.

Urban95 is the Bernard van Leer Foundation’s, 30 million euro initiative to make lasting change in the landscapes and opportunities that shape the crucial first five years of children’s lives. Urban95 is rooted in the belief that when urban neighbourhoods work well for pregnant women, babies, toddlers and young children, they also tend to nurture strong communities and economic development.

Urban95 cities are working to pilot and scale cost-effective innovations in:

  • Green public space
  • Mobility for families
  • Data-driven decision-making
  • Parent coaching

AAIMHI WA Branch in collaboration with the Bernard van Leer Foundation are delighted to offer an evening of collaboration, advocacy, thoughtful discussion and reflection where we can wonder together about the world through the eyes and mind of a child. From this shared platform a conversation can be nurtured that encourages us to think about ways that we can all contribute to the creative development of cross sector strategy, policy, commissioning and governance that meets the developmental needs of young children in Perth, Western Australia and beyond.

Welcome to Noongar Whadjuk Country

Marie Taylor


 Associate Professor Lynn Priddis, Edith Cowan University

Lynn is a long-time advocate for the social and emotional wellbeing and rights of infants and young children. Lynn has been a president of both the National and West Australian Associations of IMH and has achieved international recognition as a specialist and mentor in the field.  Over 15 years Lynn has introduced the relationship based principles of PIMH to her work as an academic at both Curtin University and to her current position at ECU where she is Associate Professor of Psychology and the course coordinator for the Clinical Psychology Program. Lynn co-founded the Master of Infant Mental Health course at ECU, the first of its kind in Western Australia. Lynn brings her background in school psychology and as a clinical psychologist in the WA Health Department to her teaching and research. Lynn co-leads a team of researchers at ECU interested in Transdisciplinary Child Research on a funded project called Better Together: Supporting perinatal and infant mental health services. Lynn is a co - founder of Mentalizing Based Treatment (MBT) Australia Association and an accredited MBT supervisor by the Anna Freud Centre. Lynn also works with families with young children in her private practice where she supervises and mentors clinicians from a range of disciplines. Alongside her professional roles Lynn is a proud mother of four adult children.


 Mr Colin Pettit, Commissioner for Children and Young People WA

Colin has spent almost four decades working to improve the wellbeing of children and young people, particularly in delivering education services and programs to children and young people living in regional and remote areas of the State. Colin has worked with children, young people, families and communities all over the State as a teacher and then principal in a number of regional schools, before holding the role of Executive Director Regional and Remote Education at the Western Australian Department of Education for three years. Between 2010 and 2015, Colin was the Secretary of Education for the Tasmanian Department of Education. He is a former President of the Primary Principal’s Association of WA and Deputy President of the Australian Primary Principal’s Association. Colin is a father of three and a grandfather of three. 

Mr Yiğit Aksakoglu, Bernard van Leer Foundation

Yiğit is committed to bringing early childhood to national attention in Turkey—with a focus on analyzing data, measuring the effectiveness of interventions, and championing the needs of young children. His current work with the Bernard van Leer Foundation involves supporting municipalities in Istanbul to provide services for birth-3 year olds and creating awareness on the importance of early childhood among different stakeholders. In the past, he has worked with both the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation and Istanbul Bilgi University’s NGO Training and Research Center. Yiğit has developed and implemented training programs and provided support to additional organizations as a consultant. He completed his undergraduate degree at Yildiz Technical University’s Civil Engineering Faculty. He received his MSc degree from the London School of Economics and Political Sciences at NGO Management with the Chevening Scholarship. He completed the postgraduate degree on International Cooperation and Development at the Barcelona University. Yiğit’s mission is to transform systems, programs, and policies that impact the lives of infants, toddlers, and their families. He is the father of two young girls.

Ms Emma Forde, Associate at Arup

Emma is an Associate at Arup with over 20 years’ experience in transport planning. Her experience includes the provision of transport planning and design advice for strategic masterplans and new developments, working primarily with developers, architects, local authorities and engineers. She is from the UK and has been in Perth for just under two years and before moving to Australia, Emma was Chair of the Board of Governors for her local primary school.  She is mother to three very active boys. Arup has recently published the Cities Alive document - Planning for Urban Childhoods which promotes that a child friendly approach to urban planning is a vital part of creating inclusive cities that work better for everyone.  Emma is a strong advocate for this approach to urban planning and is very keen that the impact planning decisions can have on a local community’s health and wellbeing is more widely recognised.

Dr Gerardine Neylon, Lecturer and coordinator of the Masters of Teaching (Early Childhood Education), UWA

Dr Gerardine Neylon is lecturer and coordinator of the Masters of Teaching (Early Childhood Education) at the Graduate School of Education in the University of Western Australia. In 2003, she completed a BSc in Mutual Business Management in University College Cork, Ireland.  She has lectured in both policy and pedagogy in Early Childhood Education and Care. She was awarded Masters in Child Protection & Welfare (1994) from Trinity College, Dublin Ireland. She obtained both a Masters in International Relations and PhD from the Department of Politics and Public Administration in the University of Limerick Ireland. Her research has measured the quality of services catering for children before they attend formal school. She has also been involved in qualitative research – listening to the voice of the childcare educators. She is keen to advance the Continued Professional Development of those who work directly with young children.

Ms Johanna Dowsett, Experienced Town Planner

Johanna Dowsett is a passionate urban planner with 10 years’ experience working with State Government.  Her work has ranged from the creation of strategic plans that govern the future direction of the state, to delivering major infrastructure projects, and the review and assessment of local government planning proposals. She is currently working on a significant State government policy reform initiative to ensure good design is at the centre of all development in Western Australia and the creation of cities, towns and neighbourhoods where people want to live, work and socialise, now and long into the future.


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