ECA WebWatch – Issue 133 February 2012

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The best of early childhood news!

Welcome to the latest issue of ECA WebWatch featuring updates on government programs.

In this issue:

  • inclusion of children with disabilities survey—closing soon!
  • alternatives to physical punishment
  • ECA seeks new CEO
  • Closing the Gap—PM’s annual report
  • Child Care Update from DEEWR
  • Gonski Review of funding for schooling released
  • My School updates
  • pilot research with at-risk kids is an Australian first
  • National Year of Reading—children’s activities
  • Response Ability children’s services handout—have your say
  • Siblings Australia update
  • study of ECEC is on the increase in Victoria
  • new NSW Child Protection laws for Volunteers
  • babies look out for each other
  • science ideas for young children
  • NQS forms and templates now available from ACECQA
  • nominate an outstanding teacher
  • Australian Family Early Education and Care Awards.

Plus regular ECA WebWatch items:

  • National Quality Framework Professional Learning Program update
  • ECA Greenwatch
  • quality-assured early childhood resources
  • conferences and dates
  • the ECA Values Statements.
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Early childhood news

Inclusion of children with disabilities survey—closing soon!

This week is your last chance to make your voice heard about the inclusion of children with a disability into ECEC settings. ECA, in conjunction with Early Childhood Intervention Australia (ECIA), is seeking information from a wide range of participants, and will use responses to develop a position statement on the inclusion of children with disabilities. The survey will only take 15 minutes of your time and is open to anyone who has an interest in this issue, so please take the time to complete the survey before it closes on 6 March.

Alternatives to physical punishment

This report, compiled by Voices for Children, discusses the short- and long-term negative developmental outcomes associated with physically punishing children, and provides parents and carers with alternative ways to guide children’s behaviour. The report is based on the Joint Statement on Physical Punishment of Children and Youth, produced by Canadian researchers.

ECA seeks new CEO

Following the announcement that ECA’s long-serving CEO Pam Cahir will retire this year, ECA is seeking a talented and experienced professional to take on the role of CEO. To apply, or for more information on the position, click here.

Closing the Gap—PM’s annual report

On 15 February Julia Gillard released the fourth annual Closing the Gap report, providing updates on the Indigenous Reform Agenda, the commitment of Australian governments to improve the lives of Indigenous Australians, and provide a better future for Indigenous children. Watch Julia Gillard’s statement to parliament, describing key achievements in areas of Indigenous infant mortality rates, higher rates of early education and improved access to childcare, or read her launch speech. Read more about the reform agenda on the FaHCSIA website, or at the Australian Indigenous Health InfoNet.

Child Care Update from DEEWR

The Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) Office of Early Childhood Education and Care has released the newest edition of the Government’s Child Care Update. This publication provides information and data about child care services across Australia for the June quarter of 2011.

Gonski Review of funding for schooling released

The Australian Government’s Review of Funding for Schooling (known as the Gonski Review) has been released, recommending a change to the way schools are funded and calling for an extra $5 billion to be injected into schools. The review was commissioned in 2010 to address issues of efficiency and equity in school funding and ensure that national educational standards in Australia remain high. Watch Review author David Gonski explaining his findings on ABC’s 7:30, read the responses of a panel of education experts, or read the reports from the Review.

My School updates

Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Minister for School Education Peter Garrett have announced the annual update of the My School website by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). This release of My School features an additional year of data for each school, with four years of performance data now available; enhanced information about Vocational Education and Training (VET) in schools; and richer information on students' literacy and numeracy progression.

Pilot research with at-risk kids is an Australian first

The Children’s Protection Society is running Australia’s first randomised trial studying an early childhood intervention.Targeting vulnerable, disengaged children and their families, the program works in partnership with parents to reduce children’s early risk factors and build protective factors, with the aim that at-risk children begin school with key skills that will strengthen their social, creative and academic lives. The program aims to develop a proven, effective model for early intervention that can be replicated and implemented in ECEC services across Australia. Click here for more information.

National Year of Reading—Are we there yet?

2012 is the National Year of Reading, and around Australia children aged 2–12 are being asked to participate. Each State and Territory will run a competition for the best short story, letter or picture which tells a story about a child’s home town or a special place they have visited in Australia. Categories include under-five-year-olds and five- to eight-year-olds. The competition is now open in NT, and will open soon in the ACT.

Response Ability children’s services handout—have your say

Response Ability, an initiative of the Department of Health and Ageing, promotes the social and emotional wellbeing of children and young people. The Response Ability project team are currently developing a Children's Services handout for students, which will give an overview of the ways in which educators can support children and families in these areas.

Now is your chance to have your say in the development of this resource. Complete this short survey and go in the draw to win a set of Foundations magazines (issues 1–8).

Siblings Australia update

Siblings Australia works with Families Australia to advocate for siblings to be recognised and supported by governments. For workshops on how to change your organisation to best support siblings or kick-start sibling support initiatives in your area, see their website. For information on events, activities and organisatons that work with Siblings Australia, ‘Like’ them on Facebook here.

Study of ECEC is on the increase in Victoria

La Trobe University’s Bendigo campus has seen a rise in the number of students enrolling in its Bachelor of Early Childhood Education program as the university year begins for 2012. New places have been offered since the Early Childhood Qualifications Fund was created by the Victorian Government in 2011, providing 250 students and ECEC professionals with scholarships. .

New NSW child protection laws for volunteers

Tougher child protection laws affecting people who work with children in a volunteer capacity will go before the NSW Parliament later this year. In addition to those who are in paid roles, volunteers will also have to undergo compulsory criminal history checks. In a free online test, police records in every state and territory will be examined to check if volunteers have convictions for sex or violence offences against children. Read more here.

Babies look out for each other

Charles Sturt University’s Early Childhood research team, led by Jennifer Sumsion, has uncovered startling insights into babies’ interactions in their ground-breaking ‘baby-cam’ research in conjunction with Family Day Care. Dr Sumsion said the babies ‘interact with each other through making eye contact, subtle gestures, reaching out, and even using humour’, as well as supporting distressed peers. Watch a video about the research here.

Science ideas for young children

For great ideas on introducing babies, toddlers, preschoolers and school-age children to science, go to Deb Hodgkin’s nationally recognised Science@home blog. The regular ‘Wordless Wednesday’ post is a great place to start doing science with children by simply observing the wonders of the world, such as watching whirlpools.


Supporting ECEC practitioners

NQS forms and templates now available from ACECQA

Sample forms and templates from the Guide to the National Law and National Regulations are now available for download from ACECQA (the Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority). These Word documents have been created to support the National Quality Framework and are customisable as needed.

Nominate an outstanding teacher

Nominations are now open for the 2012 Australian Awards for Outstanding Teaching and School Leadership. Categories include Australian Early Childhood Teacher of the Year and Australian Primary Teacher of the Year, among others. Peak School Education bodies are eligible to nominate—for more information visit the award guidelines or FAQs.

Australian Family Early Education and Care Awards

The Australian Family Early Education and Care Awards are national cross-sector awards which recognise and reward excellence in the field of early education and care. Nominations for both individuals and services are now open in four award categories here.Nominations close on 11 March 2012; winners will be announced at the Gala Awards Presentation Dinner on 25 May 2012.


NQS Professional Learning Program update

EYLF PLP social media experience survey

In order to further improve the EYLF PLP and facilitate the transition to the National Quality Standard Professional Learning Program (NQS PLP), we would like to know how you use and experience our social media pages. The survey will take less than 10 minutes and aims to help us provide the ECEC sector with resources relevant to your current needs. Responses are aggregated and your contribution will remain anonymous. Please click here to participate. We greatly appreciate your feedback.

EYLF PLP Facebook page

Join the EYLF PLP Facebook community for a constant flow of discussion and resources guaranteed to get you thinking about how early childhood practitioners all around Australia are implementing the EYLF and to give you some ideas about achieving the National Quality Standard.

Recent additions to our Facebook page include the latest article in Anne Stonehouse’s What do you think? series, ‘Belonging, being and becoming in the workplace’, and the latest vignette in the Connecting with practice—EYLF and NQS series, ‘Discovering—storytime transition to naptime’.

While you are there, why not watch the short video in the new Have you thought about... ? series. This new series takes us around Australia in search of ways we can think about implementing the EYLF and approaching the NQS. ‘Sustained conversations with children’ is the first vodcast in this series and is available now for viewing in the Facebook Video tab.


ECA Greenwatch

Celebrate National Tree Day at your service

Sunday 29 July is National Tree Day. For a great opportunity to introduce young children to nature, the environment and a healthy love of the outdoors, hold an event at your service (register your activity here) or you might want to consider becoming a coordinator for your area. For more information, click here.

Future Sparks: engaging children with renewable energy

Future Sparks, an initiative of Green Cross Australia, is a website dedicated to inspiring children and their teachers and families to live sustainably, by educating them about renewable energy. In conjunction with Clean Energy Australia, the CSIRO and the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Green Cross has produced exciting lesson plans and educator resources, available on their Teachers’ Page.


Quality-assured early childhood resources

All of ECA's publications and the resources we make available are peer-reviewed by early childhood experts, so you can be assured that they are of the highest quality, and relevant to you and your work.

Children are all little scientists. To help the children in your service with their journey of discovery, consider these great books on science in early childhood:

The preschool scientist: Using learning centres to discover and explore science

Young investigators: The project approach in the early years


Conferences and dates

UsingMedia Texts to Support Persuasive Language—3, 5 & 6 March 2012
Seminar—Making the Link: Lessons from community-led approaches to linking schools and early years in Canada and Australia—7 March 2012
The 3rd Australian Conference on Children and the Media—The Corporate takeover of childhood: who’s paying the price?—9March 2012
2012 SunshineCoast C&K Conference—17 March 2012
UnitingCare Institute of Family Practice: Engaging men in family-based programs—19 March 2012
TheAustralian National Quality Standards Conference—21 March–23 May 2012
UnitingCare Institute of Family Practice: Strengths-based therapeutic work with children—23 March 2012
National Montessori Early Childhood Education and Care Conference—31 March–1 April 2012
Orff Level 1 & 2Courses—10–14 April 2012
2012 MontessoriInternational Conference and Masterclasses—11–15 April 2012
QSA'sAnnual Conference 2012—11–13 April 2012
QSA 2012 conference Shaping teaching and learning: Theassessment factor26 April 2012
Provocations for Practice: Reggio Emilia in Singapore—26–28 April 2012 Playgroup Victoria state conference 2012—3–4May 2012
Australian Community Children’s Services (ACCS) Conference—18–19 May 2012
New Zealand Early Childhood Council 2012 Conference—25–27 May 2012
2012 BrisbaneC&K Conference—26–27 May 2012
InclusiveStrategies for Special Needs Learners—30–31 May 2012
Technology in K-12 EducationNational Congress 2012—30 May–1 June 2012
2012 Early ChildhoodEducation Conference—1–2 June 2012
Practicaland Effective Strategies for Implementing Differentiated Instruction in theElementary Classroom workshop—1–2 June 2012
Modelsof Early Childhood Services International Conference—5–6 June 2012
Family Day Care Australia National Conference: Children—The heart of the dream—18–21 July 2012
National Protective Behaviours Australia Conference—20–21 July 2012
Early Childhood Australia National Conference: Consulting the Compass—defining directions—3–6 October 2012

The ECA Events Calendar has been disabled until further notice due to technical difficulties. Contact us to have your conference or event added to the ECA WebWatch calendar.


The ECA Values Statements

Early Childhood Australia is guided in its work by endorsed values. These sit alongside ECA’s Principles, Positions, Code of Ethics, Scope of Activities and Governance Guidelines as our Foundation Materials. With the other Foundation Materials the ECA values inform ECA’s Strategic Directions and all our day-to-day work. View the ECA Values statements.


ECA website usability survey

We need your help! We are asking people who use the ECA website for their opinions. By taking part in our usability survey, you are helping us to make a better website.


Help us expand the ECA WebWatch community

Please pass this e-newsletter service on to friends and colleagues with this link to subscribe: www.earlychildhoodaustralia.org.au/mail

Early Childhood Australia's strength is determined by the strength of its members and supporters. It is only through your support that we can advocate for and on behalf of the sector. As a reader of ECA WebWatch you can make a big difference to the sector. By forwarding this newsletter to colleagues and inviting them to subscribe, you extend our advocacy chain — increasing our ability to communicate and work with the sector.

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ECA WebWatch - Issue 133, February 2012. © Early Childhood Australia.


Last updated: (April 16, 2014 at 12:09 pm)

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