Although the year is drawing to a close, we are not yet slowing down here at ECA. As I write this, I am crossing the Tasman to meet with colleagues and stakeholders in Wellington, NZ after a productive National Board meeting yesterday in Canberra.
There have been some changes to the National Board as a result of the AGM in September. We said thanks and farewell to outgoing National President Ros Cornish and SA appointed Director Kate Ryan, and welcomed incoming National President Chris Legg and SA appointed Director Italia Parletta. This created a 12-month casual vacancy in the position of Deputy National President. The Board felt it was appropriate for an existing Director to fill this role and has since appointed Ian Alchin. We will now work with the NSW Branch to fill the 12-month casual vacancy for the NSW appointed Director role.
There have also been some changes in State/Territory Branch Management Committees, with a new Branch President in WA—welcome Pauline Roberts. We will update the branch websites with committee and contact details as we receive them.
Internally, our Customer Service Team have been busy responding to a recent cyber-security incident in which some of our email lists were illegally accessed on a third-party platform. We have done our best to inform all affected by the breach that it was a hoax and apologise for the inconvenience. While the breach was not on our system, we have heightened security around all of our email lists and will be seeking expert advice to ensure this cannot happen again.
On a more positive note, I would like to reflect on just a few of ECA’s major achievements for 2018:
- The first standalone AJEC Research Symposium was hosted by the Queensland University of Technology in February.
- We delivered our second Reconciliation Action Plan, this one at the Stretch level—Embed, Enable and Strive. The 2018 Reconciliation Symposium was held in Fremantle, WA.
- We received a very positive response to two new resources—the Box of provocations and Ethics in Action: A guide to implementing the ECA Code of Ethics.
- We commenced online learning partnerships with Reggio Emilia Australia Information Exchange, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) and Smiling Mind to expand the range of resources available on the ECA Learning Hub.
- This year’s National Conference, Be the difference for children and families, was held in Sydney. We received positive feedback on the keynotes, panel discussions and concurrent sessions.
ECA’s Statement on young children and digital technologies was released in 2018—the culmination of two years of sector consultation, expert advisory group meetings and feedback from Australian and international academics.
The National Education Initiative (NEI) ‘Be You’ was launched. This program is an evolution of KidsMatter Early Childhood that ECA is delivering in partnership with Beyond Blue and headspace. Be You already has over 1700 early childhood services engaged in high quality, free, professional learning to enhance the social and emotional development of young children.
None of this would be possible without the substantial contribution of the volunteers who serve ECA through branches, advisory groups and reference groups. There are too many to mention individually, but I would like to thank each of you for the time and expertise you generously contribute. I would also like to acknowledge and thank the employees across all branches and the national team that incorporates the Be You (NEI/KidsMatter) team, the Professional Learning team and the National Operations team. It is a privilege to work with you, thank you for your exemplary service this year.
Policy and research
On 21 September, the newly appointed Minister for Education, the Hon Dan Tehan MP, attended and spoke at the ECA National Conference in Sydney. Senior ECA representatives met with Mr Tehan at the conference, and we will continue to engage with him over the coming months to ensure that early childhood education stays firmly on the Federal Government’s agenda. This will become increasingly important in the lead-up to the federal election.
On the topic of federal elections, on 4 October, the Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten, announced the Australian Labour Party’s (ALP) election policy on preschool, with a commitment to lock-in ongoing funding for 15 hours of subsidised preschool for four-year-olds and extend the commitment to include three-year-olds by 2021. The announcement also included $100 million to support the rollout of the program, including workforce development and expanded capacity, and a commitment to restore the $20 million of funding taken from the National Quality Framework (NQF) Agreement in the last federal budget.
The announcement was warmly welcomed across the sector, though it’s important to acknowledge that there is still work to be done on implementation should the ALP be elected into government. It’s also of note that while restoring the $20 million of funding to the NQF is welcome, prior to the funding being cut, states and territories were about to commence discussions about significantly increasing the funding allocated to the regulation of the early education sector—a discussion which would hopefully have strengthened the regulatory framework for services and families.
It is heartening to see that state and territory governments—with the ACT and South Australia moving first—are beginning to sign onto the 2019 National Partnership Agreement with the Federal Government. This agreement supports preschool in the year before school. At present, funding is only available until the end of the 2019 school year and ECA has repeatedly called for the funding is to be secured over the longer-term. We would also encourage the Federal Government to match the ALP’s commitment to preschool for three-year-olds in the lead-up to the federal election.
At this year’s ECA National Conference, ECA launched the Statement on young children and digital technologies. The statement was developed over a two-year period in consultation with the sector and under the guidance of the ECA Digital Policy Group. It provides an evidence base from which educators can make informed decisions about the use of digital technologies with, by and for young children.
The statement provides an overview of existing research about young children and digital technologies across four known areas of importance in early childhood education: Relationships; Health and wellbeing; Citizenship; and Play and pedagogy. Each of these areas is accompanied by a guiding principle and ‘practice advice’, which is intended to facilitate professional reflection on the role and optimal use of digital technologies according to the digital contexts in which children, their families and educators play, work and live. Educators can also access a summary version of the statement, which serves as a handy reminder about the questions to consider when working with young children and digital technologies.
Communications and marketing team
The ECA Communications Team was busy promoting the 2018 ECA National Conference, which was held in Sydney from 19 to 22 September. The event was a huge success, thanks to a great behind-the-scenes team and the ongoing support of all our members. The Communications Team would also like to congratulate all the 2018 ECA National Conference award winners.
Some of our highlights for the quarter include:
We are always seeking new and engaging content from our members about educational practice with young children and families. Please let us know if you have a blog or video you would like featured on our social media platforms.
This quarter, ECA doubled its media coverage, receiving mentions in 544 press and online stories and 567 broadcast items that reached 56 million views.
During September, we attracted good media coverage of the ECA National Conference, and successfully placed stories in Fairfax publications on the ECA Statement on young children and digital technologies.
Some media highlights over the quarter included:
- Kinderling Conversation featured interviews with Dr Shanker and Dr Cindy Blackstock, and ran a great podcast on the Statement on young children and digital technologies.
- The ALP’s big announcement on 4 October of their pre-election promise to fund two years of preschool prompted a media frenzy, with high demand for ECA CEO Sam Page to provide context and response. Sam did back-to-back interviews on ABC and commercial radio; TV studio interviews for ABC News 24 and Sky; TV grabs for ABC, SBS and Channel 7 at Parliament House, Canberra; and an interview with Channel 10’s The Project at MOCCA childcare centre in Canberra.
- ECA was mentioned in many media stories covering the launch of the new ‘Be You’ mental health in education initiative on Thursday 1 November.
- ECA WA spokesperson Sandra Hesterman was quoted in WA media and press stories about the Department of Education WA’s new priority to focus on play-based learning in the early childhood curricula. ECA WA President Pauline Roberts was also interviewed about this topic on ABC WA radio news on 25 November.
- ECA Tasmania’s collaboration with the Tasmanian government on the delivery of preschool programs for three-year-olds in targeted early childhood education services received coverage in Tasmanian newspapers and radio during November.
See our media releases here: www.earlychildhoodaustralia.org.au/media
ECA would like to extend a warm thank you to all those who visited the ECA stand at the National Conference in September; it was great to see you there. The stand was abuzz with activity and we had a record-breaking year for sales. Popular products included:
In its first year of publication, the 2019 Early Years Weekly Planner has sold out and the 2019 Early Years Daily Planner is selling well. If you want to get a head start on 2019 and haven’t secured your copy yet, click here. The planners were produced in collaboration with ECA and feature early years learning tips linked to the Early Years Learning Framework and the National Quality Standard, which are aimed at supporting educators in their profession. ECA members receive a discount on this best-selling resource.
The first year at school is an important transition for children, families and educators. Leading into 2019, we are promoting our resource, First year at school: Essential tips for parents and carers, by Jenni Connor and Pam Linke. We are targeting primary schools, principals and P&C associations across Australia, and are advertising the resource in a parents’ supplement, ‘Parents Guide for Up to 5’ in the West Australian newspaper. The First year at school: Essential tips for parents and carers aims to inform and support children, educators and families through one of the most important years of a child’s life.
Publications and the ECA Studio
The ECA Publications and Studio Team spent the first month of this past quarter completing all the 2018 ECA National Conference materials and publications that were launched at the conference. These included the 2017–2018 ECA Annual Report, the Statement on young children and digital technologies, the ECA Learning Hub Catalogue and the ECA Leadership Program Brochure.
In the months of October and November ECA Studio focused on finalising our latest ECA titles:
Did you know? ECA’s Research in Practice Series provides practical, easy-to-read, up-to-date information and support for early childhood educators. The books bring together the best information available on wide-ranging topics, and are an ideal resource for children’s services, educators and others interested in the care and education of young children. To find out more about the series, click here.
Did you know? ECA’s Everyday Learning Series is aimed at early childhood educators, students of early education, beginning practitioners, parents, grandparents and carers. This series provides wonderful suggestions about how to create positive learning environments for young children, by ‘making the ordinary extraordinary’. To find out more about the series, click here.
To make sure you don’t miss out, subscribe to ECA publications today and save on upcoming titles!
Spring has sprung for the National Education Initiative. On 1 November 2018, KidsMatter Early Childhood became ‘Be You’. There has been an incredible amount of activity leading us into this new and exciting chapter of the initiative.
What is Be You?
Be You is a single, integrated national initiative to promote mental health from the early years through to age 18. It’s for every Australian educator from early learning services through to secondary schools, including future educators. Be You is led by Beyond Blue with implementation partners Early Childhood Australia and headspace, and is funded by the Australian Government.
Be You’s vision is that every learning community is positive, inclusive and resilient—a place where every child, young person, educator and family can achieve their best possible mental health through promotion, prevention and early intervention. Building on the work of KidsMatter Early Childhood, Be You is growing a mentally healthy generation.
We’ve been out-and-about … and online
The Be You team attended the ECA National Conference in Sydney and were on hand to answer questions about professional learning, participation and the changes on the horizon.
Over the quarter, we hosted events aimed at helping educators get started with their KidsMatter professional learning, and delivering opportunities for educators to learn and network nationally. These events will be continuing under the Be You banner.
The Be You In Focus webinar Diversity matters for mental health took place on Friday 7 December. Watch the full video here.
Keeping early childhood a priority
The important work of supporting the mental health and wellbeing of children hasn’t stopped with the transition of KidsMatter into Be You. ECA is continuing our commitment to the importance of early childhood and ensuring our youngest children and those who are dedicated to their learning, development and wellbeing are supported and have a voice.
Have you registered?
Currently there are over 1700 services participating in Be You nationally. To join, register online. You can then attend a Be You Essentials event and begin implementing Be You in your setting. If you are already participating in the program, why not attend a National Check-In, where you can chat with a Be You consultant and network with other educators from across Australia.
ECA Learning Hub
ECA Learning Hub offers a comprehensive range of online professional learning programs and resources, aimed at providing all early childhood educators and carers with an effective and flexible way to extend their knowledge and improve their practice.
What’s new From ECA Learning Hub?
Understanding sleep and safe sleep practices in early childhood education and care
Cost: $120 for the three-part package
Available as a part of an ECA Learning Hub subscription.
Developed by ECA and the Centre for Community Child Health, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI), and with support from the Ian Potter Foundation, this professional learning package contains three comprehensive and highly practical online learning modules which examine the importance of sleep to infant and child health, wellbeing, learning and development in line with the introduction of safe sleep and rest practices (ACECQA, 2017).
This learning package is available as part of an ECA Learning Hub subscription for a limited time—annual subscription-holders can have this course assigned to their account.
Professionalism, paperwork and pedagogy: Leading professional practice in long day care
Available as a part of an ECA Learning Hub subscription.
This on-demand webinar is a panel discussion providing an opportunity to learn what leadership approaches and strategies enable professional practice in long day care settings.
After completing this webinar, participants will have an understanding of:
- what the term ‘professional practice’ means to you
- how centres enable professional practice
- the difference enabling leadership makes
- how to enable professional practice.
Interactive Learning Module—Music in early childhood
Available as a part of an ECA Learning Hub subscription.
Music has long been regarded as an important part of early childhood education. In this module, participants can learn how to explore music as an integral and vibrant part of a child’s family, community and culture, and how it can be utilised as a powerful tool for learning and development. For young children, music can be a way of:
- connecting with others
- expressing themselves, and
- exploring and making meaning through their senses.
This module also aims to improve educators’ knowledge of and confidence with music.
The Planning Cycle: Rediscovered
Available as a part of an ECA Learning Hub subscription.
Rod Soper presents this inspiring rediscovery of the Planning Cycle and challenges us to consider how we can use the Planning Cycle to reinvigorate not only our thinking, but how we approach children’s learning and development. The webinar also addresses common misconceptions and mistakes we make when using the Planning Cycle improperly, and how we can foster strong analytical thinking skills within teams.
Playing with gratitude
Brought to you by MyLife MySuper.
Rod Soper explores the development, implementation and findings of the Playing with Gratitude Project and the role of mental health in children’s learning and development.
Gratitude is a social–emotional process that results in a sense of happiness, joy, or appreciation due to receiving something based not on one’s own efforts but rather on the giver’s free and unrestricted intentions to give.
The Playing with Gratitude Project believes the best early start in life will result in a future of achievable possibilities. The foundations of these possibilities are a child’s right to play and the transformational learning experienced through co-play.
The aim of the Playing with Gratitude Project is to examine the science of gratitude and combine it with the powerful influence of co-play in order to make a positive change in the wellbeing of children, birth to five.
Interested in an annual ECA Learning Hub subscription?
Annual subscriptions are available for individuals, services or organisations, and provide ongoing access to all our learning modules and webinars. If you would like to purchase an annual subscription, visit the ECA Learning Hub website or email email@example.com for a tailored quote.
Cost: Individual annual subscriptions start at $320.00 (ECA members) and $390.00 (non-members).
ECA Learning Hub Project Work
NSW OSHC Quality Development Program
The ECA Learning Hub is pleased to be delivering a comprehensive collection of free online professional learning for NSW Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) services, under the NSW Department of Education’s OSHC Quality Development Program (OSHC QDP).
The OSHC QD is a targeted program funded by the NSW Department of Education. It is designed to support quality improvement in the OSHC sector in NSW. The program focuses on building the knowledge and capability of educators and service leaders in OSHC services operating under the National Quality Framework (NQF), by providing access to free online professional learning tailor-designed to meet the unique needs of the NSW OSHC services.
The OSHC QDP will include a dedicated website as well as a number of interactive learning modules, recorded webinars and video presentations covering targeted support areas from across the NQF. It will be rolled out between November 2018 and March 2019.
Find out more at www.earlychildhoodaustralia.org.au/nsw-oshc.
Early Learning: Everyone Benefits
The campaign focus is now on how to draw on the success of Early Learning Matters Week to maximise impact in the lead-up to the 2019 federal election. The release of Federal Labor’s preschool policy on October 4, to extend federal funding to cover two years before starting school sparked strong commentary on our Twitter feed and Facebook page. See campaign analysis in this blog; or check out some of the key media articles.
Online activity jumped in October, mostly due to responses to posts about the ALP’s preschool policy, and the popularity of our reposted Children’s Rights posters developed for Children’s Week.
The average monthly reach of Facebook posts was 135 000—with up to 163 000 in October. Engagement was about 6300 likes, shares, etc, per month, with up to 8300 in October.
Join the Early Learning: Everyone Benefits campaign to show your support and receive campaign news and updates. Visit www.everyonebenefits.org.au/getinvolved
Events and conference
2019 AJEC Research Symposium
The 2019 AJEC Research Symposium Multiplicity: Exploring multiple perspectives, agendas and methodologies in early childhood research will be held in Melbourne on 14–15 February 2019, in partnership with the Australian Catholic University (ACU) and La Trobe University. The objective of the symposium is to encourage childhood practitioners, researchers, academics and students to share innovative research methodologies and findings through cutting-edge partnerships and collaborations, and to strengthen the research networks in Australasia and beyond.
Registrations are now open, click here for more information.
2019 ECA Reconciliation Symposium
As part of our ongoing commitment to acknowledging reconciliation in the early years, ECA will be hosting the Reconciliation Symposium at Moonee Valley Racing Club in Melbourne on 10–11 May 2019.
Attendees at the ECA Reconciliation Symposium will learn about a culture dating back more than 40 000 years, and facilitated table discussions will lead to an atmosphere of dialogue, understanding and engagement between Indigenous and non-Indigenous participants.
The format of the two-day symposium will be highly interactive. For those participants who attended last year’s event, there will be updates from various speakers plus new presenters and ideas to build on the journey and continue our exploration of reconciliation within the sector. For more information or to register, click here.
2019 Early Childhood Australia National Conference
From vision to action is the theme for ECA’s 2019 National Conference, which will be held in Hobart, Tasmania, on 25–28 September next year. The 2019 conference will expand on ECA’s strategic priorities to progress its vision of ‘Every young child is thriving and learning’.
This conference will explore current and emerging practice to enhance young children’s experiences across the spectrum of service and education settings they attend. This includes early childhood education and care as well as the early years of school, outside school hours care and child/parent programs such as playgroups and family centres. The conference will engage participants in a discourse on rights, wellbeing and quality improvement to facilitate deep reflective thinking and enhance ongoing professional learning and development.
Presenting at the conference
If you or one of your colleagues wish to present at the 2019 ECA National Conference, you will need to identify which of the five areas of inquiry your presentation most directly contributes to. Applications to present are now OPEN.
State Branch updates
Australian Capital Territory
ECA ACT invited members and sector leaders to a strategic planning evening in order to strengthen our commitment to advocating for children, families and educators across the ACT and region.
Todd Wright from Threesides Marketing facilitated the session, and we would like to thank Amanda Tobler from Children’s First Alliance; Julia Ham from NSW, Riverina Branch; Greg Mowle from ECA National Office; ECA members Lisa Syrette and Stacey Hodgson and our committee members for their extremely valuable insight and direction.
Commitments for further consultation and development in alignment with ECA’s Strategic Priorities include:
- Position ECA ACT for long-term success through regional partnerships, awareness campaigns, communication with members, member scholarships.
- Champion quality in early education by supporting partnerships to recognise and reward quality through ‘ECA ACT Presents’ events such as open nights and tours, sharing and amplifying success stories, and supporting National Conference presentations.
- Lead and inspire professional learning, host ECA Learning Hub live events, calendar of events, subsidised/sponsored personal development attendance.
- Build social capital: Branch RAP, ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander connections, focus on Children’s Week, community connections including the Children and Young People Commissioner and health services.
- Speak up for children via local government connection and consultation, advocating for children’s voices in local planning, professional development in consulting with children.
Our Annual General Meeting will be in March 2019—consider being a part of this very dynamic, professional team and supporting us to achieve these priorities.
New South Wales
ECA NSW has been very excited about the launch of Be You. This program will provide invaluable assistance for children and educators. The Illawarra region and Riverina have hosted introductory sessions with speakers from Be You in attendance. Other regions are following. Hunter held a workshop on staff wellbeing on 5 December.
ECA NSW has celebrated the exceptional work of early childhood educators. As sponsor of the 2019 NSW Premier’s Teacher Scholarship (Early Childhood) award, we are proud to announce that this year’s scholarship winner is Ljiljana Kocic from the preschool at Lansvale Primary School.
In the Riverina, the High Achiever award was won by Sharon Gill, long-serving director from St Mary’s Rainbow Preschool. Tanya Green from KU Koala won the Making the Difference Award. As an educator who manages her disability so well, it was excellent to see her recognised for the positive difference she makes in children’s lives.
ECA NSW enjoyed the Sydney ECA National Conference with a record number of committee members attending National Council. The venue was excellent and the feedback has been very positive. Our thanks to the organising committee and to all the local volunteers who helped with the smooth running of the conference.
In continuing to expand our networks, ECA NT Branch has recently partnered with ACECQA in delivering forums based on the Quality Standards and Inclusion. Branch members teamed up with Rhonda Livingstone to facilitate the forums in Alice Springs, Katherine and Darwin. Over 80 educators and preschool teachers participated.
The NT Branch Annual General Meeting was held at the beginning of November, and in true NT style, members connected in via Skype from the Alice Springs office. Following the election of the Executive, the branch welcomes two new members: Amanda Dockey as General Member and Jackie Bradshaw as Vice Chairperson.
The Queensland Branch recently hosted Catharine Hydon in Brisbane to discuss the Ethics in Action guide. We have also invited Catharine to come back to Brisbane and travel to some more remote areas to present to members next year. All will be welcome.
Our RAP Committee provided two more RAP workshops where Elders and members have come together to hear and understand stories of our First Peoples. Both workshops were an amazing success and we look forward to again bringing people together in 2019.
A successful meeting was held in Toowoomba to start discussions about forming a new sub-group to work in partnership with the Brisbane Branch. If you are interested, please call 1300 322 753 and speak with Val.
Thank you for your continued support, and wishing you all very happy end-of-year celebrations.
The South Australian Branch held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) in November. We welcomed three new members to the Executive who will join the 14 continuing members. This larger committee will open new opportunities for our work in advocating for young children. The AGM was an opportunity to acknowledge the wonderful work and contributions of our Executive Committee throughout 2018, in particular Trish Tranfa and Kate Ryan.
During the year, Trish Tranfa resigned from the committee due to work and family commitments. We would like to express our appreciation for the work Trish has put into ECA in her previous roles as Past President and Executive Committee Member, and her commitment over many years to both ECA SA and ECA nationally. Thank you Trish.
After serving as the SA representative Director on the ECA National Board for six years, Kate Ryan has reached the end of her tenure. In this role, Kate has kept the branch informed about the national agenda and contributed significantly to steering ECA’s national strategic priorities and direction. Kate will continue with her role on the Publications Advisory Committee.
Kate has made a significant contribution to ECA SA over many years. She has forged connections with political parties and raised our branch profile. Several federal and state elections have taken place over this period and Kate has been instrumental in organising our Early Childhood Forums. We would like to thank Kate and look forward to her continuing commitment to ECA.
Italia Parletta has been endorsed by ECA SA Executive Committee and appointed SA representative Director on the ECA National Board.
Following the formal business of the AGM we held an Early Childhood Forum. Dr Lesley-Anne Ey, lecturer in child development, educational psychology and child protection at UniSA, presented her research paper on supporting young children’s understanding about bullying. Her paper was well received and provided the 45 participants provocations for their own practice.
In 2017, the Tasmanian Liberal Government announced it would partner with ECA Tasmanian Branch to build on teacher and educator skills. The Early Years and School Age Care Sectors Workforce Plan for Tasmania 2017–2020 provides educators with the opportunities to further develop their skills and learning, in order to support children to get the best possible start in life.
We are pleased to report that in November 2018, the government announced it will continue to provide funding from the Department of Education’s Education and Care Unit’s Grant Program to progress the second year of this Workforce Plan. This allows us to continue exploring options and pathways to ensure a sustainable Tasmanian workforce for the early childhood education and care (ECEC) and school age care sector. Established Innovation Networks will be strengthened, allowing collaboration between stakeholders to identify strategic goals and actions and the ongoing development of an online workforce hub as a ‘one-stop-shop’ for the ECEC and school age care sectors and broader community.
Tasmania is facing critical early years workforce issues, so we are thrilled at this announcement and congratulate the government for their foresight in extending this important project into a second year.
The government also announced the trial sites for the Working Together for 3 Year Olds initiative that will be fully implemented from 2020. This program will provide opportunities for eligible three-year-olds to benefit from 400 hours each year of free early learning, delivered predominantly by ECEC services. Representatives from ECA Tasmania have been active participants in the consultation process.
Advocacy by ECA Tasmania has resulted in the Department of Education developing a guide to the co-location of ECEC and Department of Education services. This policy will provide clear guidelines and expectations of all stakeholders in order to build inclusive and respectful partnerships where ECEC services are located on school sites.
Members of the Branch Executive meet on a regular basis with the secretary of the Tasmanian Government Department of Education. These informal meetings provide the opportunity for both parties to discuss and debate early years matters and collaborate on key issues.
The branch is excited to be hosting the 2019 National Conference in Hobart. We encourage colleagues to make Tasmania their destination and register early, as the smaller capacity of Hobart’s conference centre means it will be a ‘limited edition’ event.
On 11 October, ECA Victoria Branch, in partnership with Community Child Care and the Early Learning Association Australia (ELAA), were fortunate to host the election forum. We invited the Minister for Early Childhood Education, Jenny Mikakos; Shadow Minister for Families and Children, Georgie Crozier; and Greens representative Nina Springle to address our audience about their vision for early childhood in Victoria. An election submission had been prepared by the three organisations and the speakers were asked to respond to that document. The forum was a great success and an excellent example of collaboration and partnership between like-minded organisations.
In September, many Victorian ECA members attended the ECA National Conference in Sydney, where a record 2049 delegates were registered. ECA Victoria was able to offer six scholarships to attend the conference through the generosity of the Warrawong Foundation.
Sustainability is always a challenge for small not-for-profit organisations, so we were thrilled to recently sign a service agreement with the Department of Education (DET) to administer the early childhood scholarship program on behalf of the Victorian Government. $7 million worth of scholarships will be rolled out over four years to undergraduate and post-graduate students. We are delighted to continue our relationship with DET to deliver this most important initiative and at the same time ensure the longevity of the organisation.
On 20 November we hosted our Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Research Forum as a combined members’ event. The AGM is an opportunity for the branch to share our work and achievements for the year with our members. It’s also a time to thank those who have made a contribution to the branch and invite members to stand for any vacant positions. The Research Forum provides our members and friends an opportunity to connect with some of the current research being undertaken by Victorian early childhood researchers and practitioners.
At this year’s forum, ECA Victoria was proud to present the Doctoral Thesis Award 2018 to Dr Sue March, Research Assistant at the Faculty of Education, Monash University, for her thesis titled Using fairy tales and the principles of Golden Key schools to develop complex whole group play in an Australian early childhood context. The panel was interested in the use of fairy tales in Golden Key schools; how a traditional fairy tale was used in the research; the complexity of play that was created in a whole-group situation that involved children and adults; and the way contradictions can be used pedagogically.
In Memoriam: Rosemary Waite
We were saddened to hear of the passing of Rosemary Waite earlier in the year.
Rosemary’s long and distinguished career as a campaigner and advocate for community-owned childcare started in the 1970s, when she joined the management committee of the Carlton Creche.
In 1978 she worked with others to set up the Victorian Association of Subsidised Child Care Centres which, following the withdrawal of federal operational subsidy to community child care centres in 1997, became the Victorian Children’s Services Association (VCSA). It is in this capacity that Rosemary was most well-known.
In her role at VCSA, Rosemary always advocated strongly for improved pay conditions for educators in long day care. She played a major role in the new classification structure for mothercraft nurses and childcare workers in the early 1990s, the formation of the Federal Children’s Services (Vic) Award in the mid 1990s, and the long-running wage case in 2003–2005.
For over 30 years Rosemary provided detailed, practical, honest and fearless advice (over the telephone and in person) to many directors, coordinators and committee members on a wide range of industrial and management issues. It was for this role that she was most valued and loved.
Rosemary also made an important contribution to the sector through her roles on the Community Child Care (CCC) Board of Management and the Board of FKA Children’s Services.
Rosemary passed away on 27 May 2018 following a severe stroke.
It has been a very busy three months for us here in the west, with a significant number of members making the trip to Sydney for the ECA National Conference.
The ongoing work of the WA Play Strategy has made some fantastic inroads, reaching 5000 endorsements through engagement with the public at the Royal Show. In addition, the WA Department of Education have prioritised ‘play based learning in a balanced program’ in their annual Focus document.
In October, the branch celebrated its 80th birthday with a party for members, and co-hosted an event with AISWA to celebrate cultural competence in the early years.
At the branch Annual General Meeting, Emma Forde of ARUP delivered a presentation on designing urban childhoods; we elected our new committee for the upcoming year; and farewelled Stephanie Jackiewicz who has served numerous roles on the WA Committee during her time with us, including National Board representation.
As part of our ongoing focus on reconciliation and increasing the Indigenous knowledge of local educators, the branch hosted a Kambarang Cultural Walk event in Piney Lakes with a local guide. We look forward to holding more of these events in 2019.