Rosie Connelly

Playford Primary School, SA

Early Career Teacher

Teachers understand that for students to learn, they need to be able to regulate their emotions. This can be especially true for students with special needs, for example, students with Autism. Rosie Connelly, a teacher at Playford Primary School in Adelaide, has proactively developed tools and programs to help students better regulate their emotional responses, and to ensure her classroom provides a safe and inclusive environment.

With a focus on student wellbeing and using the Berry Street Education Model, Rosie has created a supportive and trauma-informed positive classroom. This has led to a decrease in disruptive behaviour and helped students develop interoception skills, so they could better self-regulate. After building this foundation, Rosie was able to implement successful literacy and numeracy initiatives, providing her students with individual learning goals inclusive of a positive learning environment.

Rosie’s drive is to provide her students with skills to prepare them for lifelong learning. Inclusion for all children is another of her passions and she has been appointed the Autism Inclusion Teacher. This new, nation-leading initiative aims to build educator understanding and knowledge around supporting autistic children and young people. She has introduced quiet sensory play, which fosters interoception and she proactively shares contemporary evidence-based resources with fellow educators, and strategies for families to help further foster self-regulation and a focus on learning at home. This has had significant impact for families.

Rosie was awarded SA’s 2022 Credit Union Primary Teacher of the Year, and she regularly shares her practice with new graduate teachers through workshops and collaborations.