2016 Priorities

The Branch has determined a number of priorities for its work in 2016. These priorities are based on the expertise of Executive Committee, strategic priorities of the national organisation and feedback from members. Each Executive Committee member is part of a 2016 working group that has developed an action plans to involve the broader membership.

  • Reconciliation
  • Play and pedagogy
  • Advocacy to shape & influence the futures for children and families in SA (SHIFT)
  • Children in Detention and Refugee Settlement



22 August Branch meeting

Writing learning stories in a cowboy hat: finding new ways to lead  

Monday 22 August 2016     6:00 – 8:00pm

Education Development Centre      4 Milner St, Hindmarsh

ECA SA branch members and colleagues  engaged in a lively presentation by Kerryn Jones. Kerryn took us through her journey into learning stories that started in her work as teacher and Director at Roxby Downs and has led her to consider the potential impact of learning stories on both children and adults.

Kerryn shared her thoughts on some new possibilities and opportunities that learning stories might offer.

National Early Childhood Federal Election Forum  

Monday 20 June                    

Hosted by Early Childhood Australia (SA Branch) & Early Learning Everyone Benefits campaign

Everyone with an interest in early childhood education and care was invited to take part in this pre-Election event with:

Senator Sean Edwards Representing  Simon Birmingham, Minister for Education and Training         (Liberal Party of Australia)

The Hon. Kate Ellis MP, Shadow Minister for Early Childhood(Australian Labor Party)

Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, Spokesperson for early childhood education and care (Australian Greens)

Chair – Samantha Page, Early Childhood Australia CEO

Key politicians from each of the major parties outlined their party’s election platform and ideas for the future for young children in Australia.

Each speaker addressed their party’s position on

  • Investing in increasing the participation of young children in early learning through a system of affordable, accessible and flexible services for families
  • Continued support for the National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care
  • Funding for universal access to preschool in the year before school, and take steps to extend universal access
  • Support for strategies to attract and retain quality early childhood staff in services.
  • Improving outcomes and increasing the participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
  • Moving children and families out of immigration detention centres.

Missed it? Watch the recording here. 

Children in Detention and Refugee Settlement

A core function of Early Childhood Australia is to advocate for the rights of children.

The Guardian article by Paul Stevenson, a psychologist and traumatologist, includes observations based on his time in Manus and Nauru.  It makes for very difficult and sober reading but does offer a perspective on the impact of long term detention on children and families.

SA National Reconciliation Week Breakfast 27 May 2016           

(from ECA SA Executive Committee member Sara Richardson)

ECA SA Branch has a very clear commitment to reconciliation and actively supports members and Aboriginal colleagues to attend the breakfast together.  Our History, Our Story, Our Future was the theme for 2016 and the SA National Reconciliation Week Breakfast reflected this with a strong emphasis on the future.sabranch

Together, with over 1300 people, we celebrated young, talented, successful and strong Aboriginal people

  • Eboni Frankel – SA Young Citizen of the Year,
  • Marcellus Enalanga 2016 Office of Youth Channel 9 Young Aboriginal Achiever of the Year & Regional Service Award winner,
  • Arabella Hart 2015 recipient of the Governor of SA SACE Award for best overall performance by an Aboriginal student.
  • Nathan May who performed original songs and
  • Allan Sumner who showcased contemporary artwork that communicates stories passed down by generations

We were captivated by passionate and articulate RECOGNISE Youth Reps, strong Aboriginal people advocating for a change to the Australian Constitution that will recognise Aboriginal peoples as Australia’s first inhabitants and remove racial discrimination. I will never forget Rebekka Rogers who gave us not choice but to listen and know that the future is now.  Recognise me! Recognise us! she pleaded. And I will.

And Tanya Hosch Joint Director of the Recognise Campaign who reminded us that we need to be determined, patient and stubborn, “to saddle up for a mighty struggle” that does not exclude treaty. Her speech is well worth a read.

All speeches from the event are now available at http://www.reconciliationsa.org.au/news/reconciliation/watch-nrw-2016-speeches

Re-imagining childhood Reggio Emilia Principles in South Australian Contexts   

23 May 2016

The evening was a great success with Trish Tranfa, Executive Officer of the South Australian Collaborative Childhood Project, outlining the project followed by Jo French, from the WCH Neonatal unit, and Kate Mount, from St Peter’s Girls ELC, sharing  snapshots of their practice as influenced by the principles of the Reggio Emilia Educational Project. There were opportunities for those present to explore their provocations in small groups.

Comments from participants included

  • ‘Very inspiring first ever ECA meeting’
  • ‘Very good professional dialogue’
  • ‘I met new people and it was lovely to chat with them about where they work and the children in their settings’
  • ‘Really great to hear the experiences of other educators’

Some of the ideas that participants wanted to take back to their workplaces included

  • Co-constructing learning
  • Questioning
  • Recording children’s voice
  • ‘Is everybody’s idea of a competent child the same for all educators working at our site.’
  • ‘Aligning image of ourselves as competent educators with our image of the competent child’

Thanks you to the speakers and all the participants.  We hope you will be actively involved in future events.

Responding to Racism

ECA SA Branch’s March Branch meeting this year featured an interactive performance with the dynamic, engaging and highly praised ActNow Theatre group.

Their performance of Responding to Racism was developed in partnership with Reconciliation SA to identify, respond, and prevent racism.


Reconciliation SA Apology Breakfastreconciliation sa apology breakfast

“Australia needs to love its first people’s, then our hearts can break and then we can all heal together” – Archie Roach, Apology Breakfast 2016

On Friday 12th February, 8 years after Kevin Rudd first apologised to the Stolen Generations, representatives from the Executive Committee of ECA SA and invited guests, Uriel Whipp and Larissa Taylor, attended the Reconciliation SA Apology Anniversary Breakfast.


The main event of the morning was the powerful performance of Archie Roach, who spoke of his own forced removal from his family at just three years old.  Sharing his story allowed guests to reflect on Australia’s dark past, and gave hope for healing.  Archie Roach delivered a moving performance that brought 1500 people to their feet and tears to their eyes.

Perhaps the most moving part of the morning was when Archie, Ellie and Nancy were joined on stage by The Dusty Feet Mob, a children’s dance ensemble from Port Augusta. Together, they told the heartbreaking story of forced removal through song and dance.  The performance of “Took the Children Away” was met with a standing ovation, tears and a true understanding of the significance of the Apology.



The Committee for the Lillian de Lissa & Jean Denton Memorial Trusts will again be offering scholarships this year to promote research and post graduate studies in the field of early childhood education.

This year, the Scholarships Committee invite applicants for the following scholarships:

  • Lillian de Lissa Action Research Scholarship
  • Lillian de Lissa Full Scholarship
  • Lillian de Lissa Tuition Fees Scholarship
  • Jean Denton Memorial Scholarship

The closing date for the scholarships was Friday, 7th October 2016.

Requests for application forms or further information about these scholarships can be directed to Carol Thompson Secretary Committee for the Lillian de Lissa & Jean Denton Memorial Trusts via phone (83377195) or email (carol.thompson@unisa.edu.au).

Committees with Branch Representation

The state government and other key decision makers regularly seek our involvement in reference groups, and our opinions on projects and programs for South Australian children and families.

Currently the SA Branch is represented on the following committees:

  • National ECA Reconciliation Advisory Group (Uriel Whipp)
  • Supporting ECA Networks Reference Group (Margaret Sankey)
  • Margaret Trembath and de Lissa Scholarship ( Lesley-Anne Ey & Rosemary Green)
  • Ministerial Advisory Committee on Children with Disabilities (Pam Linke)
  • Early Childhood Reference Group – Australian Professional Standards for Teachers – Teachers Registration Board – Future Directions (Gerry Mulhearn)
  • Council of Education Association of SA –CEASA (Sara Richardson)
  • University of SA– Programs’ Advisory Group (Tess Harford)
  • Everyone Benefits Campaign (Italia Parletta)
  • NQS Group (Joan Gilbert)

Branch Executive

President Joan Gilbert
SA National Director Kate Ryan
Secretary Susan Jackson
Treasurer TBA

Committee Members
Kaye Colmer
Trish Cook
Sue Dahlenburg
Lesley-Anne Ey
Rosemary Green
Tess Harford
Susan Jackson
Carley Jones
Pam Linke
Freya Lucas
Gerry Mulhearn
Sara Richardson
Lynne Rutherford|
Jose Thompson
Trish Tranfa


e: ecasa@earlychildhood.org.au