About Pam

I have more than 25 years clinical experience as a midwife and maternal and child health nurse and managed the Queen Elizabeth early parenting centre (QEC) for 10 years working with families with infants and toddlers who sought guidance in all aspects of early parenting. As well as teaching professionals, I currently (2016-17) work directly with parents, infants and toddlers as a practising maternal and child health nurse in a large Melbourne municipality.

I became a certified instructor of the NCAST Parent-Child Interaction (PCI) Program in 2004 through NCAST-AVENUW at the University of Washington, USA, and, in September 2009, I was honoured to receive the Anita L Spietz Outstanding Instructor Award from NCAST. The NCAST Feeding and Teaching Scales have been invaluable tools for over 200 students who gained reliability certification from my workshops in the past ten years. They include nurses, social workers, psychologists, speech therapists, and researchers who work in family homes or professional centres with high needs families as well as with the general population in well-baby clinics.

In addition to teaching the Scales and doing half-day workshops on related topics, I have facilitated Keys to Caregiving workshops for over 500 multidisciplinary professionals - nurses, social workers, psychologists, speech pathoplogists, researchers, home visitors and family support workers - in five Australian states.

During 2008-2010, I facilitated NCAST Keys to Caregiving and Teaching Scale training for Nurse Home Visitors and Aboriginal Community Workers in the Australian Nurse Family Partnership Program (ANFPP) at sites in Melbourne, Alice Springs and Cairns. ANFPP is modelled on the renowned USA Nurse Family Partnership program (Ref. David Olds).

In August 2010 I was privileged to be invited to teach NCAST programs to Aboriginal women and professional staff at an Aboriginal-controlled community house at Mt Magnet, a mining town, in central Western Australia.

Feedback from my NCAST workshop participants has been overwhelmingly positive and very gratifying. Here are some documented quotes from previous attendees. In response to the evaluation question, What was most useful?, they wrote:

  • Everything – clear instruction sequential approach.
  • All of it.
  • The opportunity to review and discuss videos in practice.
  • Practice videos; group discussion; practice tape scoring exercises
  • Practical exercises (e.g. learning baby cues in depth, ambiguous and unambiguous statements, etc)
  • Activities to recognise cues. Practical examples, e.g. acting out disengagement and engagement cues.
  • Practice session. Working through workbook descriptions for Feeding Scale. Cases in workbook!
  • Examining strengths & challenges demonstrated by comparing different aspects of the scales.
  • Having reinforcement of the cues and meanings.

I can recommend the Scales to all practitioners and researchers who work with families and children aged zero to three. Dr Kathryn Barnard told our instructor training group in 2004 that people who study the PCI Scales never see a parent-child pair in quite the same way again. You develop a new perspective and enhanced insight into everyday interactions and their consequent impact on children’s developmental potential. Furthermore, you find simple and direct ways to effect improvements where needed. My experience supports this. It did happen to me!

- Pam Stilling, Melbourne, 2016