Nadine Stapleton

South Hedland Primary School, WA

Early Career Teacher

As an Early Childhood Teacher at South Hedland Primary School in the Pilbara in WA, communication is key to everything that Nadine Stapleton does. With students from a variety of backgrounds, including 62% First Nations children, Nadine has created multiple initiatives inside and outside of her classroom to enable her students to feel more confident communicating and to give families a stronger sense of belonging.

Several students in Nadine’s classroom have speech delays or are unable to speak. To help all students better express themselves, Nadine used a program called Green and Red Choices, with green being positive behaviours, and red being negative. This program, alongside Nadine’s innovative use of gestures and props in her classroom, helped children to communicate better and to make more positive behaviour choices.

Students who were previously frustrated, lashed out and reacted negatively have learnt to communicate with gestures and picture cards and achieve greater self-regulation. They can communicate their needs more clearly and take more responsibility for their actions.

Another part of Nadine’s success is the effort she has put into building relationships with her community. Nadine regularly connects with families through actively attending local events and together with other teachers, hosts special KindiLink sessions focused on engaging First Nations families in their children’s education. The aim is to involve as many families as possible to develop healthy relationships with education and to support them with their child’s school readiness.

Nadine’s focus is to create a safe space where children and families feel comfortable and overcome any negative perceptions of education, due to previous experiences or language barriers.