SRF Program

  • Theraplay's Sunshine Circles®

    VEYLDF Alignment

    Item uses these practice principles: Reflective practice, Partnerships with families, High expectations for every child, Respectful relationships and responsive engagement, Equity and diversity.

    Item responds to these sub-outcomes: Children interact verbally and non-verbally with others for a range of purposes, Children express ideas and make meaning using a range of media, Children become strong in their social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.


    ​Sunshine Circles® is a group based on Theraplay® principles that focuses on the social and emotional development of children. Sunshine Circles gives children an opportunity to practice their self-regulation skills, co-regulation skills and to feel encouraged to have a go at achievable challenges. Educators lead playful, cooperative and nurturing activities to create an atmosphere of fun, caring, acceptance and encouragement. The goal is to enhance children’s social, emotional and cognitive development. Sunshine Circles provides educators with the resources to maintain an emotionally positive environment that supports cognitive development.

    Sunshine Circles strives to provide educators with the tools to:

    • create an atmosphere that is warm, engaging and challenging
    • meet the basic needs of children so they can be free to explore their world socially and emotionally
    • promote warm relationships between children and adults and encourage friendships among peers
    • engage all children
    • bring fun into children’s lives
    • emphasise cooperation between children
    • encourage children to learn and practice self-control and emotional regulation
    • enhance the trust of others through concrete, personal and positive experiences
    • assist children to develop skills that support self regulation
    • address cognitive, social and emotional development.

    This training is designed for teachers, educators, support staff and the professionals who support them; including social workers, school counsellors or psychologists and early childhood specialists. 

    Scheduled workshops for 2023

    Term 1: SUNSHINE CIRCLES® Geelong 28 and 29 March 2023

    Term 2: SUNSHINE CIRCLES® Melbourne 3 and 4 May 2023

    Term 3: SUNSHINE CIRCLES® Dandenong 5 and 6 September 2023

    Term 4: SUNSHINE CIRCLES® Melbourne 27 and 28 November 2023

    Scheduled workshops for 2024

    SUNSHINE CIRCLES® Geelong, 22 and 23 February 2024

    SUNSHINE CIRCLES® Geelong, 4 and 5 March 2024

    SUNSHINE CIRCLES® Melbourne, 21 and 22 March 2024

    SUNSHINE CIRCLES® Geelong, 9 and 10 May 2024

    SUNSHINE CIRCLES® Melbourne, 22 and 23 August 2024

    SUNSHINE CIRCLES® Albury/Wodonga, 9 and 10 September 2024

    SUNSHINE CIRCLES® Melbourne, 18 and 19 November 2024

    Additional workshops can be arranged depending on demand. Expressions of interests can be communicated to the provider.

    Detailed Costs

    Two day training package: 

    • Early Bird ticket: $885 per person (incl. GST)
    • Standard ticket: $985 per person (incl. GST) 

    This price includes an additional one hours of group online support.

    Further support and coaching (online or in person): $150 per hour

    For further information on training packages, payment methods and registrations, please contact the provider. 

    Implementation Considerations

    ​Target Population: early childhood educators.

    Program/practice descriptions and details: Sunshine Circles can be run in a classroom or kindergarten setting for a whole class, once a week for 15 to 20 minutes, or once a day. The program should be run by a professional or para-professional who has completed the Sunshine Circles training.

    Staffing: one or all staff members in a service can undergo Sunshine Circles training. It would be beneficial for all adults running the Sunshine Circles groups to have completed the Sunshine Circles training; however, it is not compulsory. Services should also consider how to provide supervision, planning, collaborating and administration time for running these groups.

    Training requirements: Attendees of the two day training program must attend both days of training. 

    Supervision/coaching: one hour of group online support is included in the two day training package (via Zoom). 

    Implementation model: educators who have attended the training can run Sunshine Circles groups. Further support, such as supervision groups, direct supervision and support with implementation, can be accessed through the provider.

    Priority Area

    Wellbeing (social and emotional)

    Strength of Evidence

    ​Level 3 – Promising research evidence