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The best of early childhood news!

In this issue:

Plus regular ECA WebWatch items:


National news

Continuity of learning and effective transitions to school

The Hon Sussan Ley MP, Assistant Minister for Education, has released a national resource to support effective transition to school and school age care. This resource has been developed by the Educational Transitions Continuity and Change research team at Charles Sturt University and includes effective transition practices, which reflect the experiences of children, families, educators and communities as they support transitions to school and school age care. To view the resource, click here.

Preschools to set the tone for language trials

Forty preschools across Australia have been selected to take part in the Abbott Government’s trial of a second language in the year before school in 2015. Assistant Minister for Education Sussan Ley recently unveiled the full list of successful preschools chosen for the $9.8 million Early Learning Languages Australia (ELLA) trial, which will use play-based apps to help generate interest in language studies that can be built on in later schooling. Ms Ley said the ELLA software was currently in the development phase and the first series of apps would be ready to be rolled out in time for the trials beginning early next year. For more information, click here.

Early childhood education and care to be transformed by new app

Victorian Minister for Technology, Gordon Rich-Phillips, and Liberal candidate for Narre Warren North, Amanda Stapledon, have launched the pilot project of a unique new mobile app, which will improve the assessment and reporting of play and learning of young children. This new Early Childhood Assessment app is being developed with funding from the Victorian Coalition Government’s $12 million Victorian Government Technology Innovation Fund. Once developed, the app will be freely available for all early childhood educators to use. Click here to find out more.

Jackie French named as 2015 NSW Senior Australian of the Year

Australian author and Every Child contributor, Jackie French, has been presented with this year’s NSW Senior Australian of the Year Award. Jackie is the 2014–15 Australian Children’s Laureate and has written over 140 books for adults and children. As the winner of the 2015 NSW Senior Australian of the Year Award, Jackie will go into the running for the national Senior Australian of the Year Award, which will be announced in January 2015. To see the full list of nominees, click here.

Regulating for quality in childcare—the debate continues

Social Foundations Program Policy Analyst, Trisha Jha, from the Centre for Independent Studies (CIS) has released a report stating that there is a lack of evidence surrounding claims that quality reforms and increased investment into early childhood education and care will benefit Australian Children. Read the full CIS report here.

Early childhood academics and experts have been vocal in their responses to the report. ECA’s media release on the topic can be accessed here.


State and territory news

$8.55m investment into occasional care

The announcement of an $8.55 million investment into occasional care means that Victorian families will have greater access to casual and emergency child care places.

Federal Minister responsible for Child Care, Sussan Ley, and Victorian Minister for Children and Early Childhood Development, Wendy Lovell, have announced the signing of a four-year $8.55 million joint funding partnership to help grow Victoria’s Occasional Care sector, particularly in regional areas. Click here for more information.


Quality, peer-reviewed research is now available free online at ECA

The Australasian Journal of Early Childhood (AJEC) archive is now open for educators, students, and anyone who holds an interest in the early childhood field. Browse through the collection of free articles, for research, practice, or just for interest’s sake.

The latest archived issue from 2012 contains the following articles:

  • Reframing early childhood leadership
  • What is going on in early years music planning? A study of early years teachers’ weekly plans
  • It’s not rocket science: The perspectives of Indigenous early childhood workers on supporting the engagement of Indigenous families in early childhood settings.

Click here to start exploring today!


Hear, hear—closing the gap

Ear disease and associated hearing loss are highly prevalent among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has released a new resource sheet focusing on preventing ear disease and hearing loss; the resource also reviews programs, research and strategies for the prevention and treatment of ear disease in Indigenous children. The resource can be accessed here.

 ECA Learning Hub

Webinar with Ann Pelo: ‘From teaching to thinking: reigniting our role as educators’

Join renowned early childhood educator and consultant Ann Pelo live from the US to explore how we can help children develop an investigative attitude—curiosity, persistence, intellectual agility and an outward expansiveness of thought. The focus is two-fold: to seek to understand ideas of substance in collaboration with children, and to seek to understand children’s thinking.

We’re offering this interactive webinar twice, live both times: Friday 21 November or Saturday 22 November at 12.00pm (AEDT). Register here now—places are filling fast! Please note that this webinar will not be available as a recording from the ECA shop, so you need to register to view it. All registered participants will have access to a recorded version of the webinar, plus the presentation slides, after the event.

KidsMatter Early Childhood update

It has been a few months since Seasons of Change, the ECA 2014 National conference; however opportunities for reflection continue to appear.

In this KidsMatter Shared Thinking blog Glenda, the KidsMatter Early Childhood Facilitator in Victoria, provides some though provoking ideas about communities and how they function. She focuses on the influence generational similarities and differences have on how members of early childhood communities understand, communicate and collaborate with each other.

Other members of the KidsMatter Early Childhood team have been utilising the ECA 2014 National Conference, to guide reflections too … here are some of their thoughts.

Reconciliation Action 

Progressing reconciliation in early childhood education and care

Building and nurturing strong relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities is central to our national identity and wellbeing. Starting these relationships in the early years will secure positive outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait children and their families. This effort also ensures all children develop a better knowledge, appreciation and understanding of the living culture of Australia’s first peoples.

As part of ECA’s commitment to acknowledging reconciliation in the early years, ECA will be hosting a national symposium at the Stamford Grand Adelaide, 8–9 May 2015 to explore reconciliation within the sector.

This will be a unique opportunity for leaders (organisational, operational and pedagogical) within the sector to;

  • Explore the nature of reconciliation in the early childhood context.
  • Understand how educators can implement good practice in their daily interactions with children and families.
  • Contribute to the broader discussion about how we all actively demonstrate our appreciation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.

Further information, including registration and speaker details, will be available shortly. Be sure to keep an eye out on the ECA Facebook page for updates, and of course, keep reading WebWatch!

Effective strategies to strengthen the mental health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Frequent and ongoing stress events in early life can have a damaging effect on the developing brain of a child and alter the functioning of important bodily systems. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has recently released a paper which supports current directions in policy and strategies that aim to improve Indigenous mental health and wellbeing. The paper draws on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives, theoretical understandings and available evidence to answer questions about what is required to effectively address Indigenous people’s mental health and social and emotional wellbeing. The AIHW paper can be accessed here.

Everyday Learning Series Subscription

Subscribe to Everyday Learning today

For simple, creative ideas to enhance children’s interactions with the world around them … The Everyday Learning Series focuses attention on the everyday ways in which young children—babies, toddlers, preschoolers—can be supported in their growth and development. Aimed at parents, grandparents and carers of young children, the Everyday Learning Series offers simple, creative ideas on how to enhance children’s interactions with the world around them. Click here to subscribe online today!

Latest edition: Everyday Learning about supporting children’s creativity in early childhood education

This book celebrates the creative potential that is in all of us, especially in our young children. It explores the nature of human creativity and creative thinking and considers how it underpins our greatest innovations, from the cultural and artistic to the practical and every day. Click here to purchase this edition.


Tender and grant opportunities

Regional Community Child Care Development Fund (WA)

The Regional Community Child Care Development Fund was established to support the development of sustainable models of regional community-managed child care that meet the needs of families living in regional Western Australia. Funding of up to $10 000 is available for regional education and care services to undertake projects to enhance their sustainability.

Click here for more information.

Closing date: Ongoing

Aboriginal ECEC Scholarships (Vic.)

This Victorian Government initiative aims to increase the number of qualified Aboriginal people working in Victorian early childhood settings. Attracting more Aboriginal people to work in Victorian early childhood settings and supporting existing Aboriginal educators to gain or upgrade an approved qualification to ensure the workforce reflects the diversity of Victoria’s population.Click here for more information.

Closing date: Ongoing

Courier Mail Children’s Fund (Qld)

The purpose of this grant is to provide financial support to charitable organisations throughout Queensland to help them meet the needs of children with special needs.Supporting a range of charitable organisations, the Fund has provided financial assistance for:

  • Mobility and learning aids
  • Educational equipment and assistance
  • Recreational and respite programs
  • New technologies
  • Medical equipment

Click here for more information.

Closing date: Ongoing

Click here to view an extended list of current tender and grant opportunities.


Conferences and dates

Click here to view the full calendar of conferences and events on the ECA website.

Think Outcomes Conference  NSW 20–21 November 2014
Honoring the Child, Honoring Equity Conference  Vic. 21–22 November 2014
23rd Annual International Conference on Childhood Education England 15–19 March 2015
ECA Reconciliation Symposium SA 8–9 May 2015
Together We Grow Vic. 29–30 May 2015

Early Childhood Australia disclaimer The opinions expressed in the articles and external links are those of the authors and not necessarily those of Early Childhood Australia.

ECA WebWatch—Issue 200, November 2014. © Early Childhood Australia.

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