FROM school bells to footy sirens, more than 150 teachers from across Australia attended the inaugural AFL Schools Education Summit at Marvel Stadium on Friday.
Coinciding with celebrations for World Teachers' Day and aligning with the AFL's Schools strategy, the inspiring summit brought together industry experts and AFL enthusiasts, exploring innovative approaches to education, health and physical literacy.
Giving teachers the chance to enhance their knowledge on delivering the AFL curriculum while connecting with like-minded teachers, attendees heard from key AFL figures including CEO Andrew Dillon and General Manager of Women’s Football Nicole Livingstone.
The sessions were also bolstered throughout the day by David de Carvalho, the CEO of the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), Mark Pimlott from the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, as well as Adriana Pinder and Greg Schneiders from the Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation Victoria.
Topics covered ranged from promoting positive health and wellbeing behaviours for young people within a safe and inclusive environment, optimising AFL skill and strategy development in primary school students' physical education, to hearing about inclusion and diversity in sport.
The day concluded with a panel discussion titled 'Empower Her: The intersection of sport, education and women’s excellence'. Hosted by Livingstone, the engaging line-up featured AFLW stars and teachers Steph Chiocci and Kaitlyn Ashmore, along with AFL/AFLW field umpire Eleni Tee and the 2023 National AFL Teacher of the Year, Nuria Ushoroff.
AFL Executive General Manager for Game Development, Rob Auld, said the Education Summit was an incredibly valuable opportunity to connect teachers and provide them with a unique professional development experience.
"As an industry, any chance we get to bring like-minded members of our schools community together to enhance the way they facilitate not only our AFL programs, but health and wellbeing philosophies in general, is only going to benefit students' education," Auld said.
"For many children school is where they have their first experience with Australian footy, so our free AFL Schools program needs to ensure we are supporting and equipping teachers with the tools and professional development opportunities they need to deliver high-quality programs that promote inclusivity, fun and nurture passion for our game.
"The sessions and speakers on Friday were fantastic and provided invaluable insights across a wide range of topics. I’d like to thank everyone who attended the Education Summit, especially our national and state and territory AFL Teacher of the Year recipients – a massive congratulations to you for all your hard work and dedication this year."
As an AFL Schools Ambassador, qualified teacher and Hawthorn AFLW player Kaitlyn Ashmore said she was delighted to be part of the AFL's first Education Summit.
"I was thrilled to be asked to come along and take part in the inaugural AFL Schools Education Summit. It was great to see so many passionate teachers come together and exchange ideas while also learning from some of the best in the industry," Ashmore said.
"Being a teacher and a footballer, I have a unique perspective and have seen the positive impact our game has on students, whether that’s strengthening their fitness base and skills or building resilience and comprehension in the classroom.
"I'm proud to be an Ambassador this year for AFL Schools and I’m glad initiatives like this Education Summit can be delivered as part of this comprehensive program."
For more information on the free AFL Schools Program, click here.