Sphere shows the window to a child’s brain

The Sphere is a five-metre LED learning and teaching tool, and is the centrepiece of QUT’s new Education Precinct at Kelvin Grove campus.

If you’ve ever wondered why some young children find it difficult to manage their emotions and reactions, look no further than the brain – or if you’re at QUT’s new Education Precinct, the Sphere.

In 2019, QUT opened its state-of-the-art $94 million Education Precinct on Kelvin Grove campus.

The Precinct’s centrepiece is the Sphere – a five-metre diameter LED globe suspended over two floors, complemented by a 4.8 metre wide interactive digital wall screen.

The first Sphere program was developed by QUT teacher education and early childhood researchers in collaboration with QUT’s Visualisation and eResearch (ViseR) team.

It demonstrated the importance of the early years in brain development and how everyday activities, play, games and reading fire activity in a child’s brain.

The atrium of QUT’s new education precinct with the sphere and digital wall screen.

As people interacted with information on the digital wall screen, the Sphere became brighter and more animated – just like a human brain.

As an early childhood researcher and lecturer, I was part of the team to develop the brain program.

My research focuses on children’s development of self-regulation – so how children learn to control their emotions, attention and behaviour.

Approximately 30% of young children have problems with self-regulation, which can affect classroom learning and their transition to school.

Strong brain architecture builds most rapidly in the first five years of life through relationships, playing, and learning, and this will support children to have strong self-regulation.

As a Registered Music Therapist, I am interested in how music can be used to support children’s development.

Dr Kate Williams at the interactive touchscreen.

The way children move rhythmically provides a window to the brain, and we can use fun music activities to help boost brain development.

I developed a neurobiological-based rhythm and movement program to help educators use music and movement to stimulate self-regulation skills for young children.

I’m also leading a  QUT course led by me will show early childhood educators and primary school teachers how to apply the program in their classrooms.

This workshop will help educators and teachers understand underlying brain connections and give them the practical tool of rhythmic activities to help manage self-regulation and enhance their students’ learning outcomes.

QUT Teacher Podclass

Rhythm and Movement for Self-Regulation: an introduction is available as an online course or face-to-face.


See all  QUTeX  Education Professional Development courses.



Kate Williams is an Associate Professor in the School of Early Childhood and Inclusive Education, QUT. Her research focusses on children’s development of self-regulation and the parenting, educational, and intervention contexts that support such, along with the developmental outcomes associated with children’s self-regulatory functioning. This includes children’s regulation of attention, emotion, executive function, and their sleep behaviours. She is also involved in program evaluation and interested in the measurement of children’s development and wellbeing. Kate is also a Registered Music Therapist and so is interested in the ways that music can be used to support children’s development. She is currently developing and trialling a neurobiologically-based rhythm and movement program for stimulating preschool self-regulation skills in disadvantaged communities.


  1. avatar
    Kenneth John Crozier Reply

    I am interested in those adults who, due to various reasons, not limited to but including stroke, who have to learn again to walk, calculate figures etc To what extent can music therapy assist such adults to re gain lost functions?

    • avatar
      Dr Kate Williams Reply

      Certainly there is strong evidence for Neurologic Music Therapy and other music therapy methods for rehabilitation in this instance. Rhythmic auditory cueing helps to stimulate more coordinate gross motor and speech patterns than would otherwise be possible. You might like to google music therapy gait training, Melodic Intonation Therapy or Neurologic Music Therapy for some more information on this.

      • avatar
        Kenneth John Crozier Reply

        Dr Kate Williams, I have searched, by Google and etc, but cannot find a therapy, music or not, to re establish lost vision brain pathways for vision loss due to ischaemic stroke and lost smell and taste brain pathways due to a SAH. Do you have any knowledge of such therapies?

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