5A The first 1000 days


Helen Rimington,
drummond street services

Nancylee Merzel,
Playgroup Victoria

Amanda Testro,
Hullaballoo Music for all!

Friday 23 November 23 2018

Time: 8:25am – 8:55am

Room: Kuranda Ballroom

5A The first 1000 days

Girls n Boys Come Out to Play – Gender equality… is it ever too early?


This 30 minute presentation gives participants a hands on taste of a new innovation in Playgroup sessions. Research from VicHealth and the World Health Organisation shows that violence can be prevented: it’s a matter of changing the unequal power relations and cultural norms that cause men to perpetrate violence against women in the first place, and the social structures that excuse it. We know that factors associated with higher levels of violence against women include the everyday ideas, values or beliefs (often based on gender stereotypes) that are common in our Australian society. These norms are reflected in our institutional and community practices and behaviours, and start impacting children in their first 1000 days….. yes we as parents treat and see them differently from the time they are identified as a boy or girl. A partnership between Drummond Street Services, Playgroups Victoria and Hullaballoo Music has spawned an innovative gender equality project that targets parents and their children under 5.

The presentation will explore why targeting new parents in prevention is vital and debate “how early is too early” to be promoting gender equality messages. We will share our differing experiences of delivering the session to over 1000 people in regional, CBD, Aboriginal and CALD early childhood settings. Our Hullaballoo Music performer will engage participants in some songs and dances from the Playgroup session, feature live music, audience participation and resources (including our evaluation results) to take away on the importance of raising children as equals.


Nancylee is an innovative, enthusiastic early years professional. She has a wealth of experience, having worked for Playgroup Victoria for well over a decade. Most notably, Nancylee has embraced change over the years, adapting well in the technological landscape, all while maintaining the vital connect of real life interaction. At present, she is the Playgroup Resources Coordinator and has created a nifty online toolkit, abundant with inspiring content. She has played a major role in the Girls n boys come out to play program in conjunction with Drummond Street Services, which promotes respectful relationships and gender equality through fun and music. Nancylee has a cheerful demeanour and the ability to put others at ease. This makes her a pro at coordination. She has a great deal to offer, and her two sons, age 18 and 20, keep her up-to-date with the latest and greatest trends, making her a well informed and skilled woman with the experience to match.