The Connection Cup®

A self-paced course with Elise Waghorn from Phoenix Support for Educators

Are you an early childhood educator working with children who:

  • Physically lash out at other children;
  • Will not follow directions (‘do not listen’ to staff);
  • Have difficulty including themselves with others in play;
  • Have low self-esteem;
  • Are experiencing separation anxiety;
  • Are clingy;
  • Not settling during the day? 

Learn how to confidently respond to these behaviours by increasing every child's sense of self-worth.

This self-paced course will enable you to have a deeper knowledge of how to support children to fill their Connection Cup®.

The Connection Cup drives our need for belonging, acceptance and love. This Cup is filled by inclusion, communication, community, affection, loyalty, and participation.

This course will give you practical strategies and more confidence to plan for children's holistic wellbeing, increase positive connections and engagement with children, and ensure children in your care have a strong sense of self-worth.

Course curriculum

  • 2

    Getting Started

  • 3


    • Filling the Connection Cup

    • Connection Cup

    • Connection Cup - Top Traits

    • Understanding Behaviour

    • WHAT IS: Maslow’s Pyramid - The Hierarchy of Needs

    • Harry Harlow's Monkey Study

    • Harlow's Studies on Dependency in Monkeys (warning contents may disturb some viewers)

    • Harlow's Study - Questions

    • Attachment Theory

    • The Attachment Theory: How Childhood Affects Life

    • Why Do People Attach?

    • Still Face Experiment

    • Still Face Experiment - Questions

    • Internal Working Model

    • Choice Theory by William Glasser

    • Glasser's Choice Theory

    • Glasser's Choice Theory - Questions

    • Guidance Approach

    • Circle of Security

    • Circle of Security - Questions

    • Connection with Practice

    • Connection Cup Mind Maps

    • Connection Cup - Mind Map

    • Positive Relationships

    • Topic 10: Quality Area 5 - Relationships with children

    • Relationships with Children - Questions

    • Reflect on a Child at Your Service:

    • Visual Strategies

    • Reflective Questions

    • Final Thoughts

    • Final Thoughts - Questions

  • 4

    Reading Material

    • Inclusion: Finding a Common Understanding

    • Autism Hub

    • Supporting Children with ASD in Early Childhood Settings

    • Identity and Belonging

  • 5

    Happy Cup Filling

    • Upgrade to the Complete Series

    • Professional and Personal Development Opportunities with Phoenix Support for Educators

    • Final Reflection

    • Padlet for Connection Cup Filling

    • Padlet for Connection Cup Filling 2

Become an expert at planning for the Connection Cup®

Learn how to confidently foster a child's self-worth by:

  • Responding to children’s need for connection and belonging

  • Developing holistic wellbeing plans

  • Proactively plan for children’s self-worth

  • Have quality relationships with all children in your care

  • Understand and plan for differences in individual children’s needs for safety

Link theory, research, and evidence to your practice and planning

This course will show you how to incorporate the following theories into your planning

  • Maslow's hierarchy of needs

    In his famous 1943 paper, A Theory of Human Motivation, Maslow said that when a person has met their physiological and safety needs, their behaviour is motivated by the need for belongingness and love. He places the need for Belonging as one of the most important basic human life needs. The Connection Cup considers the middle of Maslow's hierarchy, Belongingness and Love needs.

  • The Phoenix Cups®

    A shared language, an approach, a revolutionary framework. The Phoenix Cups is a philosophical framework that your team can use to share ideas, language, and understandings about human behaviour. This course looks specifically at one of The Phoenix Cups - The Connection Cup.

  • Positive Psychology

    The PERMA model proposes that there are five elements essential to human well-being. The R in this model refers to Relationships. Humans are social animals. We have a need for connection, love, and physical and emotional contact with others. We enhance our own well-being by building strong networks. This course considers this research and the fact that children start filling their Connection Cup with relationships in this way as soon as they’re born.

  • Guidance Approach

    The guidance approached is centred on the idea that children’s behaviours are driven by an attempt to meet a need. Dan Gartrell stresses that an effective learning community is relationship rich, ensuring children’s needs for love, belonging, acceptance, and connection are met.

  • Glasser's Choice Theory

    Dr William Glasser said that we are wired through our genes toward love and belonging. In this course, this is called the Will to Fill the Connection Cup.

Bonus material

  • Videos

    This course includes video content to provide further depth to your knowledge and understanding. Additionally, you will have several opportunities to join a live Q&A webinar with Elise..

  • Downloadable PDFs

    Downloadable resources that every educator needs for understanding how to support children to fill their Connection Cup.

  • Internet resources

    Web links to key learning material and helpful educator resources.

The Live Q&A will be in...

Join Elise for a live Q&A session on Wednesday 27th October 2021 at 7:00pm AEST

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Phoenix Support for Educators


Elise Waghorn

Elise Waghorn is a PhD student in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne. Her research project is investigating the everyday lifeworlds of children in Australia and how this relates and connects to policy and educational experiences with children in Hong Kong and Singapore. Elise’s teaching has focused on the ways in which early childhood pedagogical practices influence children’s wellbeing. She has worked within the early childhood sector for 13 plus years and has a passion for making sure children's rights are listened to and respected. For the last four years Elise has worked part time as a casual academic at a university. Her role involves teaching the Bachelor of Early Childhood and Primary, and Masters of Education (Early Childhood and Primary). Elise started working with Phoenix Support for Educators as a part time professional development facilitator in 2016 and has an in-depth knowledge of the theoretical applications and research represented in The Phoenix Cups framework.


  • How long do I have access to the course?

    You have access to this course for 4 weeks. We estimate it will take you about 3 hours to complete, so we have allowed for 1 hour per week and an extra week for catch up.

  • How do I get my certificate?

    To receive your certificate, you must click on 'Complete & Continue' on every page of the course. Once you've done this your certificate download button should come up in the top left corner of your course, where the progress bar is.

What people think of this course:

5 star rating

Filling the Connection Cup™ : Fostering Self-Worth

Danielle (Dani) Barnes



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5 star rating

Fabulous!! 100 out of 10!!

Kerrie Crawford

5 star rating

Connection Cup

Lyndell McNevin

The content was very good and well delivered.

The content was very good and well delivered.

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Cup filling series

Complete the whole series with Elise Waghorn

Get started today

You can sign up today to access the resource library straight away. Access to the live webinar will be accessible through your login.