[FOSS4G-Oceania-discuss] Making FOSS4G SotM Oceania child friendly

adam steer adam.d.steer at gmail.com
Wed Jul 18 21:07:57 PDT 2018

Hi all

The FOSS4G SotM Oceania committee has been to-and-fro-ing about childcare
at the conference for a while now. A consensus is forming around the idea
of a child friendly conference, rather than organising formal childcare.

We have some ideas about how this might look. I may be bringing an 8 and
nearly 10 year old along, and to me this means:

- I haven’t submitted a talk (I have submitted a workshop).
- I expect that when I go to sessions I’ll bring my little fellas, take a
place someplace near a convenient exit, and expect to have to run out at
some point - because I don’t expect them to sit still for 1.5 hours at a
- network with other parents ahead of the conference to make some informal
arrangements if I *really* need uninterrupted time
- chip in to the Good Mojo fund to help cover costs of catering for two
hungry boys.

it also means that as a community we need to:

- accept small people into the community, be respectful toward them (ie
don’t just run them over or ignore them if they try to engage you). This is
important - small humans are still humans, and how we interact with them
shapes how they will interact with the world in future!
- accept minor shuffling around if parents and small humans need to make a
quick exit from a session (this is actually normal, I’ve *never* attended a
conference where even grown ups don’t silently and effortlessly shuffle
between sessions - and grown ups are often quite disruptive when doing so)
- be OK with the fact that mums with smaller humans need to be breastfed.
- provide an ‘escape space’ if possible, a room for parents and their small
humans to escape the buzz.

In short, gracefully accept the presence of our future community leaders;
and help show them how to create an inclusive and accepting space.

What do you, as a community, think? What compromises do you think are
OK/not OK in order to help parents turn up and participate?

Is branding the conference as a ‘bring your small humans and we will work
it out’ event going to work for you?

There are heaps of very strong views about how small humans and big humans
should interact. This page:
<http://www.awareparenting.com/english.htm> exposes much of my own approach
(with formal training in developmental psychology and neuroscience, this
completely resonates) - and why I think a small-human-friendly approach
*can* work.

Still, it’s just one view out of potentially a couple hundred attendees.



Adam Steer
+61 427 091 712
skype: adam.d.steer
tweet: @adamdsteer
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