ECA WebWatch – Issue 137 April 2012

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The best of early childhood news!

Welcome to the latest issue of ECA WebWatch, featuring making positive changes.

In this issue:

  • vale Betty Davis
  • imaginative play—playing with loose parts
  • National Reconciliation Week is coming soon
  • brain development study puts the focus on the first three years
  • extra parental leave makes good business sense
  • Italian politician takes her baby to work
  • National Families Week
  • latest Policy Brief: children’s mental health
  • what's new at KidsMatter Early Childhood
  • funding qualifications: what, why, how and when?
  • Recognition of Prior Learning grant applications open

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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About Early Childhood Australia


Vale Betty Davis

Betty Davis, known to so many as teacher, lecturer, Principal of the Kindergarten Teachers' College, Kingston Centre for Adult Education and numerous committees, councils and professional bodies, died on Thursday 12 April. Her funeral was held in Norwood, SA on 24 April.

Betty was an Honorary Life Member of ECA, SA Branch.

In honour and memory of Betty, her family and companion Rosemary Attwood invite donations to OMEP Australia (the Australian branch of Organisation Mondiale pour l'Education Prescolaire), at Box 356, Burnside, South Australia, 5066.

Early childhood news

Imaginative play—Playing with loose parts

We know that children need the opportunities to take calculated risks—this leads to more engaged play and happier children. This video about playing with loose parts showcases a new program in the UK that is working with these principles and providing ‘loose parts’ for children to play with, transforming the physical play environment in schools.

The next five issues of ECA WebWatch will include a series of videos featuring innovative play programs and spaces. Check this space in the next issue for more ideas and inspiration.

National Reconciliation Week is coming soon

27 May–3 June is National Reconciliation Week, and now is a great time to start thinking about what Reconciliation means for you, your service and your community. This video featuring Carmel Richardson in the Have you thought about ... ? series, part of ECA’s National Quality Standard Professional Learning Program, discusses ways to include Indigenous perspectives in early childhood environments. See the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNIACC) website for more information and resources.

Brain development study puts the focus on the first three years

New research into brain development continues to provide further evidence that education in the first three years is crucial to children’s success. Read or listen for the latest findings.

Following the publication of this research, Lateline reported on its significance for intervening early with all children, but particularly vulnerable children under three years of age. An interview with Judy Willis, neurologist and teacher, further discusses the gains that can be made in early years.

Lateline also interviewed Peter Garrett about what this means for government policy. Minister Garrett made it clear that importance of early brain development was part of the thinking behind both the Government’s early childhood reform agenda and the commitment to universal access to preschool for four year olds.

Extra parental leave makes good business sense

One of Australia's biggest companies will pay the equivalent of 20 weeks' parental leave including a bonus payment for the first six weeks on returning to work, as part of efforts to keep more of its women staff in senior roles. Read more here.

Italian politician takes her baby to work

An Italian member of the European Parliament, Licia Ronzulli, has made news by taking her seven-week-old baby to work. Photos taken of her while she took part in a vote with baby Vittoria slung close to her body have generated discussion about women’s working rights and opportunities around the world. Ronzulli said, ‘It's a very personal choice. A woman should be free to choose to come back after 48 hours. But if she wants to stay at home for six months, or a year, we should create the conditions to make that possible.’ Read more here, or see the photos.

National Families Week

To coincide with the UN International Day of Families on 15 May, National Families Week will be celebrated around the country from 15—21 May. For information and resources, check their website.

Latest Policy Brief: children’s mental health

Recent years have seen a significant increase in mental health awareness in Australia. While this has seen changes in policy and funding relating to adult mental health, new attention needs to be focused on childhood mental health. The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne has released its latest policy brief, focusing on the mental health of young children here.

What's new at KidsMatter Early Childhood

A range of new mental health resources are available for educators and families on the KMEC website. These can be distributed through newsletters, emails, handouts or as displays in your service.

Go to the main page to listen to what educators and families are saying about their experiences with KidsMatter Early Childhood.

National Quality Framework

First services are assessed under the NQF

Assessments of services under the new NQF have begun—read about it here. New assessment and rating resources are also available from the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA).

Long Day Care NQF transition support

The Australian Government’s Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations has announced that $5 million will be made available to Long Day Care services as an NQF Transition Support One-off Grant. 1000 grants of $5000 will be available to support services in disadvantaged areas to meet the requirements of the NQF. Read more here, or check the list for your state or territory to see if your service is eligible.

NQF Listening Tour continues

As the NQF Listening Tour moves around the country, ACECQA CEO Karen Curtis is hearing from educators in many kinds of services. To add your voice to the discussion, check the dates and find out when the Listening Tour will be near you.

Supporting ECEC practitioners

Funding qualifications: what, why, how and when?

Many employers facing the new qualifications requirements of the NQF may be wondering how to fund skills recognition or training, and where to go for more information about their options. The Australian Government Skills Connect Initiative provides a range of funding programs, offering organisations the opportunity to look at the big picture to decide which programs suit their requirements.

The Community Services and Health Industry Skills Council works alongside the Australian Government to help support employers to access these programs. For more information and support contact or call (02) 9270 6649.

Recognition of Prior Learning grant applications open

Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) is responsible for the implementation of the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) initiative for early childhood educators in rural and remote locations. Click here to see if you are eligible for a grant, or contact DEEWR if you have questions.

NQS Professional Learning Program update

Website transition to NQS PLP

The EYLF PLP website has been rebranded and refocused to become the NQS PLP website. The changes taking place are part of the expansion of the Early Years Learning Framework Professional Learning Program into the National Quality Standard Professional Learning Program.

The program expansion will encompass the broader parameters of the NQF, namely the NQS and the EYLF.

What do you think?

Anne Stonehouse’s What do you think? feature pieces surrounding National Quality Standard (NQS) topics are posted on the Facebook Notes tab every Friday. Read and share the latest opinion article ‘Celebrate bias!’, posted last Friday (20 April 2012). We welcome you to leave your comments on her postings.

Have you thought about ... ?

The Have you thought about ... ? series takes us around Australia in search of ways we can think about implementing the EYLF and approaching the NQS. ‘How does your environment provide the opportunity to run?’ is the latest vodcast in this series and is available now for viewing in the Facebook Videos tab.

Sign up to the NQS PLP e-Newsletters today

ECA Greenwatch

ECEC educators go green together

ECEC educators from all over northern NSW have recently gathered together at the University of New England for a weekend of workshops discussing green action in the ECEC sector. If you are in the area and interested in becoming involved, futher one-day symposiums will be held at Inverell in July and near Armidale in October, at which educators will share stories of their progress and dilemmas. Read more here.

Funding for children’s gardening projects

Are you interested in creating a garden in your service? You may be eligible for one of Junior Landcare’s Garden Grants of up to $1000. Applications close Friday 4 May, so get in quickly! For more information or to apply, visit

It must be the time to think about gardens: 7–12 May is also International Composting Awareness Week!

Trees for Mum this Mothers’ Day

Planting a tree is a loving, meaningful and green way to celebrate Mothers’ Day. To find out about Trees For Mum or attend a planting site in your area, visit their website.

Quality-assured early childhood resources

Available through ECA is a variety of quality-assured books that will support your service’s journey toward cultural inclusion and a genuine contribution to Reconciliation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. The following is a selection of ECA’s newest and bestselling titles to provide you with guidance in this area. All of ECA's publications are peer-reviewed by early childhood experts, so you can be assured that all our publications are of the highest quality, and relevant to you and your work.

Dreaming Stories: A springboard for learning—book and DVD set

Building bridges: Literacy development in young Indigenous children—book and DVD set

Through young black eyes

Conferences and dates

Linking schools and early years: Supporting a positive transition to school—30 April 2012
Playgroup Victoria state conference 2012—3–4May 2012
Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY) Annual Forum and AGM—11 May 2012
Early Years: From research to policy practice—Early Childhood Education and Care as a platform for Social Inclusion—11 May 2012
Australian Community Children’s Services (ACCS) Conference—18–19 May 2012
Australian Association for Research in Education: Early Childhood Symposium—22 May 2012
New Zealand Early Childhood Council 2012 Conference—25–27 May 2012
C&K Early Childhood Annual 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
37th Early Childhood Teacher’s Association Annual Conference—23 June
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
Chronic Diseases Network Conference: Promoting Healthy Childhood—Preventing Chronic Diseases—20–21 September 2012
Early Childhood Australia National Conference: Consulting the Compass—defining directions—3–6 October 2012
QEC Early Parenting Centre 7th International Conference—Connecting with Families: through Community, Culture and Collaboration—15–16 November 2012
Honoring the Child, Honoring Equity—12 troubling truths: bridging divides for equity—16–17 November 2012
Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care National Conference—3–6 June 2013
Rudolf Steiner Conference for Early childhood education—7–13 July 2013

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.

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ECA WebWatch—Issue 137, April 2012. © Early Childhood Australia.

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


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