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One of the world's unique and best-loved children's authors, Maurice Sendak, has died aged 83. Best known for his 1963 picture book Where the wild things are, the writer and illustrator broke new ground in literature by exploring the darker side of children's imaginations. You can read the New York Times tribute here.
Early childhood news
Early Childhood Australia appoints new CEO
Samantha 'Sam' Page has been named the new Chief Executive Officer of Early Childhood Australia. ECA President Margaret Young said Sam's skills and experience as the founding Executive Director of Family and Relationship Services Australia would be invaluable in building on ECA's work as a strong advocate for quality, social justice and equity in issues relating to young children.
Sam Page replaces outgoing CEO Pam Cahir who announced her retirement on 16 January 2012 after almost 25 years in the position.
Imaginative play—Natural schoolyards
There are a variety of ways that schools and services can bring the natural world and all its potential for rich, creative play into their playgrounds. Natural environments provide opportunities to play with water, rocks, grass and plants, encouraging imaginative use of non-purposed items. Watch this recently posted video to see how children at a South Australian school find inspiration in their natural schoolyard environment.
The next three issues of 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.
Next week is National Reconciliation Week
Next Monday 27 May through to Sunday 3 June is National Reconciliation Week. We hope that over the last few weeks you have had a chance to think about what Reconciliation means for you, your service and your community. Reconciliation Week is a great chance to implement new ideas and commit to including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives into your practice. For information about Indigenous perspectives in ECEC policy, see the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNIACC)'s Early Childhood website.
Debate: does the new Budget do enough for ECEC?
The Australian Institute of Family Studies has released this breakdown of the recent Budget, explaining how it will affect families. This statement from the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) elaborates further on the Schoolkids Bonus, a new payment for families with kids in school to help with education costs.
Meanwhile, journalist Emma Alberici critiques the government's approach to early childhood education, calling for a much more serious and considered investment in the sector. You can read Peter Garrett's response to her article here.
More support for students with disabilities
As part of the recent Budget, the Federal Government has announced the More Support for Students with Disabilities initiative, providing $200 million in additional funding to government and non-government education authorities to support their work with students with disability and/or learning difficulties. This is a short-term initiative being delivered over the 2012 and 2013 school years, which aims to allow education authorities to better meet students' individual needs.
Learning more about Australia's children
Peter Garrett has recently announced the second data collection for the Australian Early Development Index (AEDI). More than 7500 government and non-government schools across Australia are expected to participate in the second national study into our young children. This national approach, which is a world-first initiative, will provide insights into the development of children as they start school. Read more about the AEDI and its aims at the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) website.
Siblings Australia are looking for your input
Siblings Australia, an organisation providing services to siblings of children and adults with special needs, has developed a survey to further investigate the needs of such families. They are concerned about siblings of children with a disability, who may be emotionally or physically harmed by their brother or sister. In order to gain some more understanding of the issue, Siblings Australia has developed very brief surveys for parents, providers and siblings themselves; as this can be a very sensitive topic, the surveys are completely anonymous. If you have any questions about these surveys, please contact Kate Strohm.
It's time for your dose of Vitamin D
'From May, put sun hats away'—that's the message from the Cancer Council of Victoria as the winter months creep up on us in the southern states. Vitamin D is created when skin is exposed to the sun, and winter is the perfect time for developing children to have a chance to be safely exposed to the sun's rays. Those in the northern states should keep their hats on, though, with a few minutes' sun exposure every day being adequate. For more information on being SunSmart in winter, click here.
National Quality Framework
ACECQA materials to support your assessment
As the first assessment and ratings under the National Quality Framework (NQF) begin around Australia, the Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) has helpfully highlighted their most popular and relevant resources. This document outlines the process of the National Quality Standard Assessment and Rating Instrument and explains what authorised officers will be looking for during their visit. The Guide to Assessment and Rating for Services contains information for services about their obligations.
Latest ACECQA Newsletter
Supporting ECEC practitioners
First aid training: Approved qualifications are on their way
The process to identify approved qualifications for first aid training is underway at the ACECQA. Under the new Education and Care Services National Law, ACECQA must publish lists of approved qualifications, including lists of approved first aid qualifications, emergency asthma training and anaphylaxis training. The National Law means that, for the first time, all Australian children's education and care services will meet the same requirements for anaphylaxis management training and emergency asthma management training. Read more here.
New resource: Supporting children's development
Families make all the difference: Helping kids to grow and learn is a new e-publication from the Australian Institute of Family Studies, developed for release during National Families Week, just passed. Focusing on early childhood, it provides a range of information on ways in which families nurture and support children's physical, learning and social-emotional development. You can download the full document by clicking here.
NQS PLP new website
Check out the redesigned NQS PLP website. The recent expansion from the Early Years Learning Framework Professional Learning Program(EYLF PLP) to the National Quality Standard Professional Learning Program (NQS PLP) has driven the need for new web-based functionality and features. The redesigned website aims to enhance the experience of users and allow for easier access to the range of free resources and for a more intuitive and interactive information sharing experience.
What do you think?—'Continous improvement: The "vibe"'
Do you sometimes feel like you and your service are operating on cruise control-that you have found out what works for you, and that it's easy to leave things the way they are? In this What do you think?, Anne Stonehouse talks us through the concept of 'continuous improvement', explaining how to choose not to 'settle', instead always looking for new ways to do things better. This kind of approach isn't just about ticking off NQS Quality Standard 7.2–it's about bringing vitality and imagination to your practice. As Dennis Denuto said in The Castle, 'It's the vibe of the thing'.
'Valuing play: The Early Years Learning Framework in schools' is the latest article from Every Child magazine Vol. 18 No. 1 magazine made available for free download in the Resources section on the NQS PLP website.
The ECEC sector has been talking about sustainability in the workplace for several years now. You may have made some big changes in the past to make your service more sustainable, but have you given it thought lately? Just like the rest of ECEC practice, sustainability and environment-friendliness can be a focus for continual improvement. This document from ACECQA may have inspired you to make changes in 2009—take a look to see how far you've come, and for more inspiration on how to be greener.
Quality-assured early childhood resources
ECA has a variety of quality-assured books available that will support your service's journey toward sustainable practices and teaching children the value of the environment.
The following is a selection of ECA's 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 our publications are of the highest quality, and relevant to you and your work.
Conferences and dates
CS&HISC Training Packages: National Information Forums—15 May—21 June 2012
New Zealand Early Childhood Council 2012 Conference—25–27 May 2012
C&K Early Childhood Annual Conference—25–27 May 2012
2012 Brisbane C&K Conference—26–27 May 2012
Inclusive Strategies for Special Needs Learners—30–31 May 2012
Technology in K-12 Education National Congress 2012—30 May–1 June 2012
2012 Early Childhood Education Conference—1–2 June 2012
Out of the Box: Festival for Children—12–17 June 2012
National Protective Behaviours Australia Conference—20–21 July 2012
Kids Matter Family Day Care Annual Educator Training Weekend—7–9 September 2012
FRSA National Conference-Positive Impact!: Showcasing the evidence—13–15 November 2012
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.
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 139 May 2012
Last updated: (May 16, 2013 at 11:50 am)