Passionate about every child’s potential
Maureen Hawke is the Director of the Learning Connections Centre. Maureen is a Neuro-Developmental Therapist and a Registered Nurse. Maureen’s additional qualifications include:
- Dip. Clinical Nutrition
- Dip. Acc.
- Samonas Sound Therapist
- Certificate IV in Workplace Training
Learning Connections is a successful and experienced children’s learning and development centre based in Brisbane.
We are passionate about helping children reach their potential and have provided tailored programs to thousands of children since 1976.
We deliver unique professional development workshops for teachers and early childhood educators, equipping them with activities and programs that improve children’s behaviour and concentration.
Our program creates the optimal conditions for learning, and enables teachers to focus on teaching.
We are increasingly working with whole communities, particularly in regional centres. By engaging parents and the wider community to support the work of teachers, the impact of classroom programs is maximised and benefits reinforced.
The Challenge: preparing children for learning!
Many children struggle at school or at home with learning, attention or behavioural problems.
Recent AEDC (Australian Early Development Census) reporting confirms that at least 1 in 5 Australian children are developmentally vulnerable in one or more domains.
This presents an ongoing challenge for parents and teachers to ensure children entering school have the skills and developmental capacity to take full advantage of schooling.
In the classroom, teachers and educators are regularly asked to respond to the needs of young children with developmental immaturities which present in a variety of ways, including:
It seems harder than ever to be a child today!
There are a myriad of factors contributing to this situation.
The school curriculum demands more of children (and teachers) at a younger age; technology encroaches on all-important imaginative and active play time. Children engage in fewer movement opportunities and more modifications and additives are found in their food.
It’s no wonder children’s development is often compromised and the incidence of anxiety disorders is increasing!
We help children achieve their true potential by addressing the underlying factors that can interfere with development.
We find that the majority of children we work with share common neuro-developmental delays, which result in developmental immaturities. These children are at high risk of attention and behaviour problems, and of finding learning difficult.
“If you see a child differently you see a different child.”
Our approach is based on a neurological view of development that has been influenced by the work of various researchers and practitioners, in particular Jean Ayres and Sally Goddard 1.
Our programs for children are anchored in sensory motor maturation and reflex integration.
The children replicate early movement experiences that are required to establish good building blocks, or “wiring” of the brain and are essential for efficient learning. These activities help the brain to organise what was previously disorganised. When this happens, children become more settled and learning becomes more effective.
The same neuro-developmental principles apply to all our work for children – both the individualised home-based programs we develop, and the classroom programs which we train teachers and early childhood educators to deliver in their classrooms and centres.
- Ayres, Jean, 2000. Sensory Integration and the Child. 4th Edition.
Goddard, Sally, 2005. Reflexes, Learning and Behaviour. 2nd. Edition.
The Importance of Movement
The connections between primitive reflexes and child development and strategies to stimulate optimal movement from birth to preschool.
The Tactile System
The importance of body awareness in development. Practical strategies for enhancing body awareness and improving concentration, learning and behaviour.
The Vestibular System
The role of the vestibular system in development and learning – with particular emphasis on balance and coordination.
The Sensory System
The role of the senses in development and how to enrich daily activities to positively impact behaviour and self-regulation skills.
Brain integration and the role of sensory integration in development. Activities to optimise brain integration and sensory motor skills.
Nutrition and the Environment
The impact of nutrition and environment on behaviour and learning.
Implementing the Program
How to implement the Learning Connections Program of daily activities with your class or group to improve behaviour management and promote child development. (With the set of activities varying according to your program’s age focus).
The centre began when Jean Rigby, a teacher whose own child was struggling with learning, travelled overseas to research a range of innovative neurological programs that assisted children with learning difficulties and developmental delays.
These programs were a ‘lightbulb’ moment for Jean, who saw the benefit they provided to her own son, as well as their potential for helping other children with similar developmental immaturities.
On her return to Brisbane in 1976, Jean co-founded ANSUA (A New Start for the Under Achiever) with Maureen Hawke.
In 1998 Maureen became Director of the centre, and continues to lead the organisation today. In 2000 the name was changed from ANSUA to Learning Connections.
Maureen Hawke is the Director of the Learning Connections Centre. She is a Neuro-Developmental Therapist and a Registered Nurse.
Maureen’s additional qualifications include:
Maureen has been working with children with learning difficulties, attention and behaviour problems and developmental delays for over 40 years.
She is an accomplished speaker who, in recent years, has presented numerous times at the Early Childhood Teachers Association Conferences, Lady Gowrie Conferences, Early Childhood Australia Conference (New South Wales) and at many schools and Kindergartens across Queensland.
Maureen is the creator of the Brightstart Programs. They are practical programs to help parents of babies from birth to 2½ years promote optimal development.
Dianne Boyd has been part of the Learning Connections team for over 20 years, delivering our popular professional development programs for early childhood educators and teachers, as well as developing home-based therapy programs for families.
Dianne’s recent projects have seen her working with whole communities in regional centres, building understanding and integrating the Early Years Program into the community.
Dianne has presented Learning Connection’s approach at numerous conferences including: