Emerging Minds

Engaging with children

About the course

This course introduces you to the concept of engaging children as partners in practice, as a foundation for responding to child mental health concerns.

It highlights some of the benefits that engaging children as a part of service provision offers children, their families and the community, as well as practitioners and services. It also identifies some of the broad challenges and dilemmas faced by practitioners in this area of work.

Through this course you will become familiar with the key values that underpin the concept of engaging children as partners in practice, and consider how these link with the values and practice ethics you bring to this area of your work.

You will also be introduced to the key shifts in position and perspective that are required to effectively engage children as partners in practice.

Who is this course for?

This course has been developed for practitioners who work mostly with parents in relation to ‘adult problems’, and for whom working with children is not a regular focus but is within their scope of practice. This includes practitioners who:

  • have limited scope to work with children and are interested in engaging with children to ensure their voice and perspective informs the work with their parents, as well as being directly beneficial to the children
  • have scope to work with children in response to parents' concerns about how the ‘adult problems’ they are facing are impacting on their children’s mental health and wellbeing.


This course is also for practitioners who already work with children, and aims to offer helpful understandings that can further support practice.

Learning outcomes

As you progress through this course, you will work towards:


  • the meaning of ‘engaging children as partners in practice’ and why it is important for children, families, communities, practitioners and organisations
  • how ‘engaging children as partners in practice’ can provide a foundation for responding to concerns about the effects of ‘adult problems’ on children’s mental health and wellbeing
  • the practitioner position or perspective that is required to do this work well.


  • the possibilities and benefits of engaging children as partners in practice in your own context
  • some of the potential challenges and dilemmas that accompany this work.


  • to take steps to adopt the practitioner position/perspective that supports engaging with children as partners in practice.

Engaging children e-learning series

This video introduces you to the Engaging children suite of e-learning courses. It is recommended that you complete this foundation course prior to proceeding with the other courses in this series.


This course features videos of fictional parents and family scenarios. As you work through the course, it is important to be aware of your own emotional responses. Please follow the self-care tips below and seek help if needed: 

We do not recommend undertaking the entire course in one sitting. Give yourself some breaks. Even if you don’t feel that you need a break, it’s a good idea to take one anyway and come back later. 

Be aware of your emotions as you progress through the course, and take action if you are starting to feel stressed or upset. For example, consider taking a break and doing something for yourself that you enjoy. 

Be aware of your emotional responses after you complete the course. 

If at any point you find you are struggling, please talk with your supervisor, seek help, or call Lifeline on 13 11 14, Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636, or SANE Australia on 1800 18 7263.


For the purpose of this course, the term parent encompasses the biological and adoptive parents of a child, kinship carers and others who have taken on a primary or shared responsibility in raising that child.

Social and emotional wellbeing refers to the way a person thinks and feels about themselves and others. Social and emotional wellbeing incorporates behavioural and emotional strengths and is a facet of child development. 1

This course refers to children aged 4–12 years.


  1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2012). Social and emotional wellbeing: development of a Children’s Headline Indicator. Cat. no. PHE 158. Canberra: AIHW.

Ready to start learning?

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