I have been lucky enough to get out of the cold Canberra winter and travel to Darwin and Wollongong in recent weeks. There I met with ECA members to discuss current priorities as well as to participate in meetings with state government representatives to discuss the transition from KidsMatter Early Childhood to the new National Education Initiative later this year.
Everywhere I go, I am struck by how hard early childhood educators are working to support families and children through the transition to the new Child Care Subsidy, and to minimise any negative impact on disadvantaged children. Services have spent many hours sitting with families, working through the application process and navigating the Child Care Safety Net provisions to try and avoid children being withdrawn from early learning.
This has been a salient reminder of the importance of our advocacy work in Canberra. We must hold politicians accountable for the decisions they make; we must employ the resources we have to monitor impact; and we must engage with members to tell the story through example after example of unintended consequences. I hope that in the lead up to the next Federal Election, ECA and our advocacy partners will be able to apply sufficient pressure and get a commitment to improve the base entitlement from 12 hours to 18 hours of subsidised early learning, alongside other key advocacy priorities related to quality reform, workforce needs and universal access funding.
I am also very conscious that we couldn’t do this work if it wasn’t for the enormous contribution that ECA members have made over the past 80 years. The Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd) Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, along with Lady Cosgrove, will host a Morning Tea on 19 September at Admiralty House in Sydney to celebrate our 80th anniversary and acknowledge the work of those who have made a significant voluntary contribution to ECA or the early childhood sector more broadly. This will be a lovely opportunity to gather former National Presidents, Board and Branch Committee members and those who have supported ECA’s work through advisory and reference groups, writing and editing publications and contributing to policy/advocacy work. We will share some pictures of the event on our social media channels.
The Morning Tea is aligned with our National Council meeting on 18 September. The meeting will bring together more than 50 representatives from across the ECA network to review our work over the past year and set priorities for the year ahead. Then, from the evening of 19 September, I look forward to seeing many of you at the ECA National Conference 2018, which promises to be one of our best conferences yet—in true Sydney style, there will be light shows and a bit of razzle dazzle, alongside the substantive content presented by our three international keynotes, our Australian keynote, panellists and more than 100 workshop presentations. Our thanks to Modern Teaching Aids (Platinum Sponsor), and HESTA for again sponsoring the Early Childhood Education & Care Awards to be presented at the gala dinner.
See you in Sydney!
The Federal Government’s new Child Care Subsidy (CCS) commenced on 2 July 2018, and as expected, there were some significant teething issues for service providers and families. Some providers were challenged by software difficulties as well as the increased administrative load created by the new legislation. Many families didn’t respond to the ‘call to action’ until quite late in the transition, and some then discovered they are not eligible for a subsidy due to the new Activity Test.
It is estimated that 30 000 children are no longer accessing early learning, due to families either not applying for the CCS or failing to meet the Activity Test. ECA will continue to advocate for changes to the Activity Test until all young children have access to at least two days per week of affordable, high-quality early education and care, prior to starting school.
ECA is particularly concerned about children at risk of long-term educational disadvantage missing out on early learning. We are hearing worrying reports from services operating in low socioeconomic areas that a significant number of children have withdrawn from programs—particularly those who would benefit the most from regular participation. We are also very concerned about some of the services that were formerly funded through the Budget Based Funding (BBF) program and are now struggling to maintain their enrolments since moving into the CCS system. This includes services in rural and remote areas, Indigenous services and mobile services.
Back in May, the Federal Budget had revealed that the Federal Government was withdrawing from the National Partnership Agreement on the National Quality Agenda for Early Childhood Education and Care, and cutting funding to state/territory regulatory authorities. The former Minister for Education and Training, Simon Birmingham, had stated that he no longer saw a role for the Commonwealth in financing regulatory activities that are state/territory government responsibilities. ECA met with Senator Birmingham to express our concern about the long-term consequences of this decision; we continue to urge the Federal Government to re-engage and demonstrate a clear commitment to continuous quality improvement.
Funding for the National Partnership Agreement on Universal Access to Early Childhood Education, which delivers 600 hours of preschool/kindergarten to children in the year before school, was extended to the end of 2019, but the longer-term status is unclear. The Lifting Our Game report on the role of early education in improving Australia’s education performance was commissioned by state and territory governments to inform Council of Australian Government negotiations. The report recommended extended universal access to two years before school, while allowing flexibility across jurisdictions in regard to how this would be delivered. The Federal Government has not formally responded to the recommendations of Lifting Our Game, and has instead focused on negotiating increased accountability and transparency in Universal Access (UA) funding, including a new requirement for reporting attendance data. We anticipate this will be part of any negotiation for future UA funding.
Finally, the somewhat tumultuous political events in recent weeks have resulted in a change of Minister at the Federal level. Hon. Dan Tehan MP has been appointed Minister for Education and Training in Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s new Cabinet, and Michelle Landry has been appointed Assistant Minister for Children and Families. Over the next few months, ECA will be keenly engaging with the new Ministers, as well as early childhood spokespeople from across other political parties, as we head to a Federal Election sometime between now and May 2019.
The ECA Communications team is pleased to report that our Facebook following has reached 100 000+ during the quarter, with more followers being added each week. We are now reaching more than three million people across our social media channels. You can join the conversation here! Some of our recent activities include:
• the ECA Leadership Program group and ECA Reconciliation Champions Facebook pages have been actively exchanging videos, quotes and observations about the professional development modules, events and practice reflections
• view the ECA Leadership Program video previews from ECA Learning Hub modules, such as Documenting and assessing children’s learning: Part II
• seventeen posts featured on ECA’s blog, The Spoke—many of these posts were received from members or commissioned in response to sensitive topics and areas of keen interest to members, such as:
– the controversy over the Sorry Sorry picture book, which had a high online and Facebook engagement
– children’s rights
– consent and agency
– the ever-popular theme of children’s self-regulation, emotional and social development
– a new Q&A format to highlight the work of international keynote presenters at the 2018 ECA National Conference was trialled successfully, featuring Dr Stuart Shanker on Self-Reg, and Dr Cindy Blackstock on Doing better for all young children.
To write for The Spoke, please have a look at our blog guidelines and send us your article ideas. 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.
In the June to August quarter, there were momentous changes and announcements affecting early childhood education.
• On 2 July, the new Child Care Subsidy (CCS) came into effect—ECA calls for two days per week of access to early learning for all children, expressing concern that the CCS Activity Test will result in children missing out on access to early learning.
• On 20 June, the New South Wales (NSW) Government announced funding of community preschool for three-year-olds.
• On 31 July, the Australian Capital Territory Government announced the introduction of free preschool for three-year–olds.
• On 30 August, NSW Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, Pru Goward, announced funding for ECA’s Early Signals. First Responses project under the DV Innovation Fund Round 2 grants.
For further details, see our media releases, here.
Overall, ECA was mentioned in 270 online and print stories and 119 broadcast items that reached 550 million views. The coverage jumped dramatically during this quarter (from six-and-a-half million in the previous quarter) because of the high number and broad syndication of stories about the new Child Care Subsidy, which quoted ECA CEO Samantha Page. ECA Western Australian (WA) was also quoted in several major stories in WA press about the WA Play Strategy campaign.
ECA has several new resources coming out and sales of our other popular products continue to soar. We are delighted to present our latest resource for early childhood services: Box of provocations by Anne Stonehouse AM. The provocations contained in the box will provoke deeper thinking and reflection that drives improved quality, particularly in pedagogy and practice. They can be used with educators of all levels of formal qualifications and experience in a variety of settings. Beautifully presented and made to last, these will be a popular resource in your service for many years to come.
Our popular Early Years Daily Planner and Weekly Planner are back for 2019! The full-colour practical layout includes ample writing space for recording reflections, notes, meetings, focuses, interactions and learning experiences. The planners have been 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 can currently receive a discount on this best-selling resource—so grab your copy today!
By the end of this quarter, more than 76 600 copies of ECA’s revised Code of Ethics have been distributed to services, and over 1500 copies of Ethics in Action: A practical guide to implementing the ECA Code of Ethics have been sold. A number of ECA branches and regional networks have held events to discuss the revised Code of Ethics and provide some guidance on using the implementation guide. There is also a webinar and an online learning module on the ECA Learning Hub, related to the Code of Ethics, to support professional learning. ECA will continue to develop resources to support the Code of Ethics and ethical practice more broadly across the early childhood sector.
This past quarter has been a very busy one for the ECA Publications and Studio Team—developing, editing and designing materials for the upcoming 2018 ECA National Conference, working on the 2017–2018 ECA Annual Report, along with various promotional materials and statements for the 2018 conference. While conference projects have been at the forefront of the ECA Publications and Studio Team’s workload, we have also been busy producing various publications for ECA and external clients. A few of our latest ECA titles include:
• Everyday Learning Series: Sleep in early childhood by Pam Linke (Vol. 16 No. 2 2018)
• Every Child magazine (Vol. 24 No. 2 2018)
• Research in Practice Series: Intentional teaching of cultural competence in play-based settings: A cultural-historical view by Marilyn Fleer (Vol. 25 No. 2 2018)
• Australasian Journal of Early Childhood (Vol. 43 No. 2 2018).
To help support your professional learning, ensure you don’t miss out on receiving each issue of ECA’s core publications, all of which are available through publication subscriptions—each title is published four times per year, with discounted prices for ECA members. Subscribe today with a one-, two- or three-year subscription.
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!
KidsMatter Early Childhood has been very busy recently, with the number of participating early learning services and schools now exceeding 1000. These services and schools are realising the mental health and wellbeing benefits derived from being part of the KidsMatter community.
We have seen an unprecedented rise in the number of Getting Started and Check-in events. This has helped us provide even more opportunities for educators across Australia to become involved in KidsMatter Early Childhood, and for those already involved, to join national networks to participate in professional discussions.
If you have questions about KidsMatter or just want to say ‘Hi’, please come and visit the KidsMatter team at the ECA National Conference in Sydney during September. We will be there to answer any queries you may have about KidsMatter or to just have a chat about mental health and wellbeing at your place. See you there … or online!
We have almost reached the conclusion of the current webinar series, which has proved to be very popular, attracting large numbers of participants Australia-wide. Stay tuned for news of more webinars to come.
The KidsMatter team members are also busy preparing for the launch of the National Education Initiative later this year. ECA is an implementation partner alongside headspace in the National Education Initiative being led by beyondblue. The initiative aims to support the mental health of children and young people from birth until they reach the end of Year 12.
Participating in KidsMatter Early Childhood is a great way for early learning services and schools to prepare for all that the National Education Initiative has to offer. To find out what is involved and how to get KidsMatter started at your place, please watch our on-demand webinar, ‘KidsMatter Essentials’, with your team. Then register your service or school, and book to attend a Getting Started event. Your team will walk away from the event with two professional learning topics well under way.
Why choose online professional learning?
Online professional learning has the potential to engage educators and be an effective and flexible way to extend their knowledge and improve their practice.
Services using online learning within their professional development programming report that it is a sustainable and enduring option. Participants can revisit content and new staff can complete professional learning in a timely manner, with everyone accessing and sharing the same knowledge. Services also report on the value of access to high-quality presenters and unique training topics that otherwise would not be available in their local setting.
Research suggests that online learning can enable greater access to professional learning and consistent, better quality programs (Gomez, Kagan & Fox, 2015). Recent Australian research (Highfield, Wallis & Stockman, 2017) found that educators enjoyed the flexible nature of online learning, as they could access resources at times that suited them—no matter their location—and that online resources could be used in many ways, such as independently or with a team of colleagues.
What’s new from ECA Learning Hub?
Discover and explore the principles of Reggio Emilia in this one-of-a-kind online professional learning package, developed by Early Childhood Australia (ECA) and the Reggio Emilia Australia Information Exchange (REAIE), in collaboration with Reggio Children, Italy.
Duration: 3 hours
This package contains three interactive learning modules:
• Encounter 1: Not just any place
• Encounter 2: Seeing things differently
• Encounter 3: Teachers and children as researchers.
To learn more about the package, and watch an exclusive video, click here.
Where to start when using Australian Early Development Census data in your setting (Webinar)
Dr Jessie Jovanovic explores why the Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) data is useful for educators, what it tells us, and some of the ways in which educators may wish to start using it. This is a highly practical webinar that explores, step-by-step, how to access, read and interpret data provided by the AEDC. Click here to find out more.
This highly practical webinar by psychologist Beth Macgregor examines, through case studies and videos, how the five steps to emotion coaching can provide teachable moments during times of distress and assist children in further developing their own agency and understanding of emotions and feelings. To learn more about this webinar, click here.
ECA Learning Hub pre-conference masterclasses
Collaborative leadership in a world of complexity—masterclass with Leanne Gibbs
Attend an ECA Leadership Program masterclass on 19 September! Presented by Leanne Gibbs, ‘Collaborative leadership in a world of complexity’ will expand your knowledge on leadership and collaborative approaches to building your team. For more information, or to register, click here.
Nature Pedagogy meets technology: A perfect match or an incompatible disaster? Masterclass with Claire Warden and Dr Kate Highfield
Participants will engage in hands-on sessions exploring Nature Pedagogy and technology, focusing on opportunities and challenges for educators. Click here for more information, or to register today.
Our key focus this quarter was on coordinating our major campaign initiative for the year, our first ever national Early Learning Matters Week. The goal was to increase federal politicians’ understanding of the benefits of early learning for children, families and society, and to engage politicians of all parties in experiencing quality early learning first-hand by inviting them to visit an excellent early childhood service in their electorate.
We had 67 federal politicians from across both houses and all sides of politics—including five Ministers, two Assistant Ministers and 10 Shadow Ministers—visit 68 early childhood services in all six states and the ACT. You can access photos of the politicians’ visits through this album.
Media coverage included a feature in the Sydney Morning Herald, several positive local media stories and a great interview on Kinderling Conversation with ECA’s Professional Learning and Research Translation General Manager, Dr Kate Highfield, describing the early learning activities taking place in the online photos. See links to media stories here.
We also increased engagement with the campaign and created a new public showcase of quality early learning by inviting educators to post photos of early learning activities on social media using the #EARLYLearningMatters hashtag.
On Twitter, #EARLYLearningMatters reached 123 000 accounts and 273 274 impressions; Facebook posts reached over 138 000 accounts, with 6900 engagements; and during the week, 80 photos related to #EARLYLearningMatters were posted on Instagram—you can see the selection in the Facebook album here.
Our Everyone Benefits Facebook page also received another 260 likes, taking the total to just over 13 000 (an increase of more than 4000 this year). ECA members are invited to continue sharing photos of their favourite early learning activity, using #EARLYLearningMatters on Facebook and Instagram.
Join the campaign to show your support and receive campaign news and updates.
The ECA Events team is excited to be in the last few weeks of preparation for the 2018 ECA National Conference, Be the difference for children and families, being held in Sydney from 19 to 22 September. We have been busy finalising a brilliant line-up of international and local keynotes, workshop presenters plus wonderful entertainment, an Exhibition Hall of 100+ booths and 75+ exhibitors, with launches, hands-on experiences and lots of networking opportunities.
This is your chance to make use of your membership discount to register for the NESA- and TQI-registered Conference and—for the first time ever—two ECA masterclasses. The conference is an opportunity to meet other like-minded professionals and ECA members, and to learn from researchers and experts such as Professor Paul Ramchandani, Cambridge University’s LEGO® Professor of Play in Education, Development and Learning; Dr Cindy Blackstock, Executive Director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada; and Dr Stuart Shanker, Research Professor Emeritus of psychology and philosophy, York University, and the creator of The MEHRIT Centre and the Self Regulation Institute. It is also a great way for ECA members to source the best resources and ideas for your practice. Register now!
We have also confirmed the next AJEC Research Symposium for 14 and 15 February 2019, to be held at the Australian Catholic University, Melbourne. AJEC Call for papers is now open and the theme is Multiplicity: Exploring multiple perspectives, agendas and methodologies in early childhood research.
The 2019 ECA Reconciliation Symposium will also be hosted in Melbourne. Registrations will open later this year.
The ECA Customer Service team has been extremely busy over the past few months! We have been working hard on a new ‘one-click renewal process’, which will make renewing memberships and subscriptions a lot easier for our current members. We have also welcomed a new team member, who is proving to be a great help leading up to a busy 2018 National Conference period.
We have been reviewing our internal procedures and ensuring they are accurate. A new desk configuration and setup has been installed, providing two additional workstations. Our weekly team meetings are proving valuable, ensuring we are all up-to-date with our weekly tasks and providing a chance for new ideas to be discussed and actioned.
Australian Capital Territory
ECA ACT has focused the first part of the year on building our online presence through our Facebook page. We are very excited to have Rowena Muir as our social media expert, who is ensuring our Facebook page offers engaging information and promotes ACT early childhood community information. We are currently inviting contributors from the ACT early childhood sector to share their inputs through ECA publications such as Every Child magazine; to engage in professional conversations via our Facebook page by allowing us to share their articles; and be available to respond to any questions that our community may have.
For the first-ever Early Learning Matters Week, we received some fantastic contributions and look forward to seeing this event grow bigger and bigger as it gains momentum!
ECA ACT also welcomed the ACT Government’s announcement about extending 15 hours per week of free, universal education to three-year-old children, as part of the ACT Early Childhood Strategy. We look forward to contributing to the next phase of consultations, and welcome members’ feedback on how they see this working effectively.
New South Wales
Our ECA NSW Annual General Meeting (AGM) was held on 17 May 2018 in Sydney. The National Children’s Commissioner, Megan Mitchell, was our guest speaker. She presented on Australia’s current preparation for its appearance before the United Nations (UN) Committee on the Rights of the Child. The UN Committee monitors Australia’s progress in fulfilling its obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Every five years, the Australian Government reports to the UN Committee on its progress on children’s rights.
Commissioner Mitchell also discussed the Child Safe Organisations project as well as the development of the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations. If you would like to find out more information about the work of the Commission, please click here.
The AGM elections were held for the executive positions of ECA NSW. We thank Dr Sandra Cheeseman for acting as Public Officer during our elections. The following members were elected to the Branch Executive for the next twelve months:
• Carol Burgess—President
• Natalie Grenfell—Vice President
• Rose Todd—Treasurer
• Ian Alchin—Executive
• Gabby Holden—Executive
• Jan Langtry—Executive
• Chris Legg—Executive
• Anita Jovanovski—Executive
• Marina Papic—Executive.
For all our members, a copy of the branch Annual General Report 2017 is available for download on our website.
It has been a very busy quarter for the ECA NT Branch. The branch has commenced services as the Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) partner with the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
Through a very productive partnership with the NT Department of Education, ECA NT had the pleasure, once again, of hosting Professor Ted Melhuish in the Territory. Professor Melhuish spoke at fully subscribed Network meetings in Darwin, Katherine and Alice Springs. Of particular note was the excellent response from educators in Katherine, highlighting a growing interest in the services that ECA NT can provide.
The visit from our CEO, Samantha Page, coinciding with the Darwin Network meeting, was also a welcome surprise.
The ECA Queensland Branch welcomed new members to our Branch Committee. We have formed new subcommittees since our AGM and have started preparing for the 2020 ECA National Conference to be held in Brisbane.
In early August, the Early Careers Committee held an evening to discuss digital technology with students and teachers from all over Brisbane. We had approximately 90 people attend and it was a wonderful evening for a gold-coin donation. We also took the opportunity to launch our Instagram account.
We also have several events planned for the coming months. For further information on future events, please view our Facebook page. Upcoming events include:
• Reconciliation Forum on Saturday 13 October from 9.00 am to 3.00 pm in South Brisbane.
• Reconciliation Forum on Saturday 27 October from 9.00 am to 3.00 pm in Bundaberg.
In June, ECA SA held a successful branch meeting focusing on mental health, with KidsMatter Early Childhood consultants Cris Zotto and Nikki Edwards. Mental health is integral to the overall health of each of us. Particularly, educator self-care and children’s mental health are important considerations for all early years settings. Cris and Nikki shared news about some new and exciting changes that would soon bring KidsMatter Early Childhood and other school-based initiatives together into the National Education Initiative.
KidsMatter Early Childhood continues to offer a free, whole-of-service framework, with an extensive range of resources, online professional learning and ongoing consultant support to build on the work that early childhood services and sites are already doing. KidsMatter aims to develop educator mental health literacy and to enable early childhood settings to grow protective factors for children’s good mental health as well as identify referral pathways when additional help is needed. The attendees on the night gave positive feedback on the content of the information and the opportunity to network with colleagues.
This event was provided by the ECA SA Branch free of charge, to encourage a wide audience of participation.
In August, the first session for the second round of the South Australian Collaborative Childhood Project commenced, with an exclusive presentation by Professor Carla Rinaldi. It was a privilege and delight for ECA SA to engage with this rich dialogue; launching us into the next phase of our work: raising the visibility of children from birth.
The project is a state-wide network doing early childhood research. It was developed following recommendations by the 2013 Thinker in Residence, Professor Carla Rinaldi, through her Re-imagining Childhood: The inspiration of the Reggio Emilia education principles in South Australia report.
The project engages in ongoing research into how childhood can inspire cultural, educational, philosophical and economic change for SA, and challenge current perceptions of childhood.
An invitation to apply to be part of a second cohort of services resulted in a high number of services responding. Nine new sites were chosen to work alongside five continuing sites. Over the coming 12 months, these sites have committed to:
• research the Reggio Emilia education principles within their local context
• make visible how each service enacts the rights of the child as citizen from birth
• share their research locally, state-wide and nationally.
ECA SA is represented in the project through the position held by our National Director, Kate Ryan, as Chairperson on the Social Cultural Collaboration, along with Joan Gilbert, ECA SA President, on the Project Birth to Three Leadership Committee that manages and leads the research project.
ECA Tasmania Branch has had a busy three months, working hard in our advocacy role and ensuring that our members have opportunities to network with other professionals.
Our work continues on the draft policy for co-location of early childhood education and care (ECEC) services on school sites. We presented a second position paper to the government after a series of consultation workshops were held across the state. The two executive members on the Stronger Partnerships working group have been actively advocating for an improved understanding of the issues faced by outside school hours care and long day care services on school sites; they will continue to work hard to ensure the policy is in the best interests of all children.
We have held two state-wide meetings over the past three months, with a range of guest speakers including: Dr Elspeth Stephenson from the University of Tasmania, who spoke on trauma-based practice; Karen Swabey from the University of Tasmania, who spoke about the new Associate Degree; and Gail Eaton-Briggs, the new Deputy Secretary of Children, Communities Tasmania. There were also presentations on Cyber Safety, KidsMatter Early Childhood and the new Child Care Subsidy. State-wide meetings continue to be the best way to bring the sector together, to encourage professional conversation and to allow opportunities for members to network.
At our recent AGM, there was a change in committee, with Ros Cornish being elected as President, and Kathryn Laing as Vice President. The Executive wishes them well in their leadership positions.
We are well into term three of 2018 and now looking forward to the ECA National Conference in Sydney in September. The response for registrations was strong, and we are proud of being able to offer free registrations and assistance with accommodation and fares to six lucky members through a grant from the Warrawong Foundation. The program looks stimulating and thought-provoking as usual, with ‘something for everyone’.
On 8 June, the Department of Education and Training (DET) hosted a sector forum ‘Realising the Potential’ at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. The forum attracted 1500 delegates from across the state, with a waiting list on the day. ECA Victoria Branch—together with Early Learning Association Australia (ELAA), Early Childhood Intervention Australia (ECIA), the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV), the Parenting Research Centre, The Front Project and Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Incorporated (VAEAI)—partnered with DET to stage the huge event.
July came and went, with the introduction of the new Child Care Subsidy (CCS) still to reveal its impact on families, and any change in utilisation patterns due to the Activity Test.
In Victoria, the Early Years Reforms are being rolled out, with the first round of School Readiness funding announced by the government. The new team of officers employed by DET to implement the funding has been established.
So far this year, we held one forum Ethics in Action on 17 April, with more than 80 members attending, and another forum in partnership with Community Child Care Association and ELAA on 28 August. The latter was an election debate on early years policy, with the three main parties represented: Minister for Families and Children, Jenny Mikakos (Australian Labour Party); Shadow Minister for Families and Children, Georgie Crozier (Liberal Party); and Spokesperson for Women, Families and Children, Nina Springle (Victorian Greens). These representatives gave us their views on the state of early education in Victoria and what they will be promising in their election platforms.
This year, ECA WA branch has been busy reaching out to centre-based care services, family day care, outside school hours care and the early years of schooling to offer trials of resources that ECA produces. Beginning with books, papers and web links, this culminated in a shared webinar in August. The educators, directors and providers got together to look at the content of the webinar and how they can best use it to support team growth.
The branch meetings support this learning community approach with discussion-based meetings, where members do what they really want to do: share learning, ideas and innovations.
The meetings have also heard from the incredible Play Strategy team as they spread the message that we need governments, agencies, organisations and individuals to support the push for a WA Play Strategy. In Bunbury, a multidisciplinary meeting on the issue brought together representatives from health, education, family support, and education and care sectors to learn more on the issue and the campaign. We are seeing some incredible work on ‘play’ happening across the state as the issue and need is highlighted. Click here for more information.
Finally, we are gearing up to celebrate ECA’s 80th birthday. Our branch Facebook page and newsletter will have more details on planned events and activities.