Child Friendly Conference

A child-friendly FOSS4G SotM event

FOSS4G SotM Oceania is aiming to be a child-friendly conference. This means we encourage parents to bring their children (still young enough to require minding) to the event, and for those children to be able to integrate with the community.

How does this work?

The conference Code of Conduct describes expected behaviour for everyone at the conference: https://foss4g-oceania.org/conference/code-conduct


Here are some additional principles for considering children.

As parents, we all know that it is impossible to expect our children to sit quietly for any length of time unless they are engaged with whatever is going on. As such, we request that parents take responsibility for their children; and:

  • Be prepared to move in and out of sessions as required by their children.

  • Occupy seats near exits in sessions.

  • Self-organise with other parents to manage children if there is a must see session or talk.

  • Be aware of the needs of other conference attendees, who have also paid to turn up and hear people speak.

  • Extend the principles of the conference Code of Conduct to children, both yours and others. Treat them respectfully, and avoid corporal punishment.

 

In kind, we request that everyone:

  • Be patient with children. They are our future leaders and learn by modelling what we do.

  • Be patient with parents. Children are not robots and don’t have ‘quiet now’ buttons.

  • Leave seats near exits free, for use by parents and children (see above - they may need to make quick exits)

  • If you are comfortable with children, consider assisting children who are looking lost or distressed - as you would an adult in the same situation.

  • Remember parents are doing the best they can. At the conference, if you have issues with children or parents, please contact the diversity team (as per the Code of Conduct).

 

If you feel that your child will not disrupt your presentation, you are welcome to bring them on stage (if they want to). Please organise this with your child ahead of time, so that you can arrange a carer or some other way of occupying your child while you speak.

For parents wanting tools to assist with helping their children get through a conference, there is a wealth of material that may be useful here: https://www.handinhandparenting.org/blog/.

 

What does it cost to bring children?

Children can attend for free. The catering cost is covered by the Good Mojo program. Please let us know as soon as you can if you are bringing your child(ren) so we can adjust numbers appropriately.

We all know that children can eat in amazing disproportion to their physical size, and we will cater for them as adults.

 

What facilities are available for parents?

On conference days, we'll provide a ‘chill space’ - a refuge for parents and children at the venue. The University of Melbourne has fantastic outdoor spaces (please use them!); but Melbourne weather is not always friendly.

We are also looking into a specific space for breast pumping/feeding - however, breastfeeding mums are welcome to feed wherever they feel comfortable doing so (with respect also to the needs of your child).

Please use the foss4g-oceania-discuss e-mail list (https://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/foss4g-oceania-discuss) or join us on the Maptime Australia Slack to discuss with the FOSS4G organisers and coordinate with other conference parents. (Many of the organisers are also parents)