The Freedom Cup®

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

Are you an early childhood educator working with children who:

  • Are spirited;
  • Seem to be always ‘on the go’;
  • Need to make their own decisions;
  • Are strong willed;
  • Will not follow directions (‘do not listen’ to staff); or
  • Abscond or escape. 


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

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

The Freedom Cup is our ability to be independent, self sufficient, and freewheeling. 

This course will give you practical strategies and more confidence to plan for children’s autonomy needs and agency.

Become an expert at planning for the Freedom Cup®

Learn how to confidently foster a child's sense of autonomy by:

  • Responding to children’s need for freedom and agency

  • Developing holistic wellbeing plans

  • Proactively plan for children’s autonomy

  • Advocating for their rights

  • Encouraging self-expression

  • Flourishing children’s creativity

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

Course curriculum

  • 2

    Getting Started

  • 3

    Filling the Freedom Cup

    • Let's Start

    • Why is the Freedom Cup Important?

    • Why do We Need Freedom?

    • Freedom Cup Fillers

    • Freedom Cup

    • Freedom Cup - Top Traits

    • Creativity

    • Teacher's Role

    • Creativity & Choice

    • Self-Expression & Freedom From/ Freedom To

    • Agency & Children's Rights

    • Children's Rights

    • Children's Rights

    • Discovery & STEM

    • Children and Freedom

    • Risky Play

    • Liberty

    • Freedom Cup - Mind Map

    • Freedom Cup Mind Map (blank)

    • Freedom Cup Mind Map (filled in)

    • Final Thoughts

    • Reflection

  • 4

    Reading Material

    • NQS PLP e-Newsletter No.64 2013: Promoting Independence and Agency

    • Infant and Toddler STEAM: Supporting Interdisciplinary Experiences with Our Youngest Learners

    • Supporting Agency: Involving Children in Decision-Making

    • The Environment as the 'Third Teacher'

    • Risk in Play: How it Helps Child Development

  • 5


    • Raising Children Network

  • 6


    • KU Killara Park - Technology

    • Exploring STEM concepts in the early childhood classroom

    • The Reward Of Risk | Building Confidence In Kids

  • 7

    Happy Cup Filing

    • Upgrade to the Complete Series

    • Professional and Personal Development Opportunities with Phoenix Support for Educators

    • Final Reflection

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 we desire independence and freedom which contribute to the meeting of our esteem needs. Therefore, filling the Freedom Cup is vital for a child’s self-esteem.

  • 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 Freedom Cup.

  • 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 one that fosters creativity through autonomy.

  • Glasser's Choice Theory

    Dr William Glasser said that the more we are free and able to satisfy our need for freedom in a way that does not stop another person from satisfying his or hers, the more we are able to use our creativity not only for our own benefit but for the benefit of everyone. Glasser’s ideas about the basic human need for Freedom is considered in this course.

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 Freedom 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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Your Facilitator

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.

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.