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2000 Debbie Gahan Life Member

Dr Debbie Gahan in EYC 2007 vol 13(3)

Debbie Gahan graduated from BKTC in 1975 and later undertook her Masters in ECE at the University of Illinois, UrbanaChampaign. Over her career, Debbie has taught in a range of Kindergarten, Preschool and Child Care settings in Qld and the ACT. She has been a lecturer in the School of Early Childhood at BCAE, then QUT, for 22 years, teaching primarily in the areas of kindergarten/preschool/prep curriculum and practices; early childhood professional practices; and the history of early childhood education.

Alongside her teaching in the School of Early Childhood, Debbie maintains strong links with practitioners in the early childhood field in Queensland, including involvement in early childhood classroom teaching. She worked with Sue Thomas at Kelvin Grove Junior College Prep one day per week throughout 2006, enabling her to keep in touch with young children and parents, and gain first-hand experience of the new Early Years (Prep) Curriculum. This year, she has been working with children and staff (particularly Sue Thomas) at Bardon Prep. She continues to provide in-service for teachers on Prep practices, including ECTA online workshops on Prep in 2006 and ACER workshops on play in Prep and documenting children's learning in Prep programs in August 2007.

Debbie was president of the Early Childhood Teachers Association for eight years in the 1 990s. She instigated the WOW workshops in science for early childhood teachers across Queensland, meeting and talking with ECTA branches throughout the state prior to those connections going online. She is currently involved with Early Childhood Australia Queensland branch lobbying for fulltime teacher aides in Prep via delegations to Education Queensland, Queensland College of Teachers and the Commissioner for Children and Young People. She has also been asked to address Prep issues on radio and television in 2007 as parents and communities continue to seek feedback on Prep.

Since 1995, Debbie has been a Moderator in the National Child Care Accreditation Scheme. She was also, until its closure in 2006, the academic coordinator of the Gerald Ashby Family Centre (for infants and toddlers) on the campus of QUT, Kelvin Grove.

She is the author of the book Debutantes to the Ball: Chiselhurst Preschool & Kindergarten: 60 Years of History and Recollections published in 2002. Her doctorate, completed in 2005, explored childhood and teacher memories of kindergarten in Queensland from 40-50 years ago.

Debbie has no immediate plans to retire as young children (along with university-age students) still fascinate and surprise her. Hopefully, she can continue to contribute to the learning and welfare of both age groups - as well as to the early childhood field - for some time yet.