Reconciliation activities for ECA, and for the sector, have been a significant focus for ECA this quarter. We held our fourth Reconciliation Symposium in May in Fremantle, WA. It was terrific to use that gathering as an opportunity for formally launching our Stretch Reconciliation Action Plan: Embed, Enable and Strive. The plan is now available on our website. Our thanks to Karen Mundine, CEO of Reconciliation Australia, for delivering both a keynote address at the symposium and for launching our Reconciliation Action Plan alongside our National President, Ros Cornish, and the two Co-chairs of ECA’s Reconciliation Advisory Group: Geraldine Atkinson and Catharine Hydon. Thanks are also due to the ECA WA Branch for helping to organise the symposium and making everyone feel welcome.
For National Reconciliation Week, ECA teams around the country got together and some attended external reconciliation events. ECA employees were encouraged to attend a screening of the documentary ‘After the Apology’ on the contemporary issues surrounding the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families and communities. ECA is a proud supporter of the Family Matters campaign and encourages all of its members to learn more about this. ECA staff teams are now going to work on a reconciliation challenge between now and the end of the year. We have also been actively following up a discussion that arose during the Reconciliation Symposium about a popular children’s book—you can read about that on The Spoke.
This quarter has also been a time for significant policy and advocacy work. We have been consulting with our branches and key stakeholders on future funding and delivery models for Universal Access to Early Childhood Education including, but not limited to, the recommendations of the Lifting Our Game report, commissioned by state and territory education ministers. The report was completed by Susan Pascoe AM and Professor Deborah Brennan, and has now been presented to COAG in tandem with the Commonwealth Government’s Review to achieve educational excellence in Australian schools, undertaken by a Review Panel, chaired by Mr David Gonski AC.
We were surprised and dismayed by the Federal Government’s decision to withdraw from the National Partnership Agreement on the National Quality Agenda for Early Childhood Education and Care on the night of the Federal Budget. You can read our media release here. We have written to Minister Simon Birmingham expressing our concern and seeking a meeting to discuss the ramifications of this. We are also encouraging members to write to the Minister and explain the importance of a nationally consistent approach to quality improvement.
Another significant area of focus in recent months has been the impending implementation of the new Child Care Subsidy, with ECA members represented on several of the implementation and advisory groups. We are aware of just how much work service providers are undertaking in preparation for the transition, and we hope that it goes smoothly. We have suggested that more support for service providers would be valuable and we continue to raise our concerns about the subsidy and, in particular, the Activity Test with the government. From 2 July 2018 we will be monitoring the impact on children’s participation. If you have examples of impact, please get in touch with us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Work on the Statement on young children and digital technology is progressing, with a launch anticipated as part of the ECA National Conference in September. In April we released a discussion paper, which can be found on our website. This has been a very consultative process; our thanks in advance to everyone who has participated.
ECA is also pleased to be working with the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) to ensure that the needs of early childhood teachers are well understood in the review of teacher registration, professional development and, ultimately, the teaching standards. In addition, I was delighted to attend a recent event at Parliament House, hosted by the Australian Primary Principals Association (APPA) and the Parliamentary Friends of Primary School Education, where Professor Frank Oberklaid gave an address on the importance of the early years in preparing children for lifelong learning. APPA is launching an initiative called ‘Thrive by Five’, which will further help to raise the importance of the work that early childhood educators and
Finally, the ECA National Conference, Be the difference for children and families, is shaping up to be one of our best, with considerable depth of talent across all of the themes—from keynote speakers to concurrent sessions, you will find it hard to choose from the plethora of options. The program is now available, and I look forward to seeing many of you at the International Convention Centre in Sydney this September.
We are now in the last quarter before the new Child Care Subsidy (CCS) scheme is introduced. Yet, there are many services that haven’t registered as providers, and even more parents that haven’t transferred their information for the new system to be implemented. Parents who are currently using the Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate will not be automatically moved onto the new system. So, it’s important to encourage them to update their details through their myGov account.
ECA remains concerned that the new CCS will mean that many children will miss out on subsidised early education and care, due to the rigorous Activity Test and increased bureaucracy across the system. This fear was enhanced by the government’s Federal Budget projections, which implied a lower uptake of CCS in future years. Australian National University modelling, undertaken two years ago, had warned of this and now it appears to be the reality.
This year’s Federal Budget had a nasty surprise for the sector and for parents. The Federal Government announced that it would be unilaterally withdrawing from the National Partnership Agreement, and defunding states and territories to the tune of $13 million to undertake assessments and ratings, while continuing to fund the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) for just an additional two years. This has put the national quality system under threat, and starts to unpick the improvements in quality that have been made since the National Quality Framework was started almost
10 years ago. State and territory governments, and the sector, have urged the Federal Government to reconsider their decision and to reinstate what is, in the context of the $8 billion investment in early education and care annually, a small amount of funding. The nationally consistent approach to quality improvement across the sector is fundamental for ensuring that children are not only safe, but also receiving high standards of education and care. It is also pertinent that this is transparent to parents and families that use early childhood education and care (ECEC) services.
On 28 March 2018, the Review to achieve educational excellence in Australian schools (the ‘Gonski report’) was released, making mention of the importance of quality early childhood education about long-term educational outcomes for children. While there were no specific recommendations in regards to ECEC, it was heartening to see that the role ECEC plays in children’s education is being acknowledged. Against that backdrop, ECA is eager to see how the Federal Government will proceed with the National Partnership Agreement on Universal Access to Early Childhood Education, given that there still hasn’t been a long-term funding commitment. Without funding certainty, preschool programs around the country will have difficulty planning their services.
In the March-to-May quarter, ECA was mentioned in 37 online and print stories and 78 broadcast stories that reached 6.5 million views. Highlights of our coverage include:
- comments in support of the Educators’ Walk off in March
- ECA CEO interviews on ABC talk shows, in response to France introducing compulsory preschool for three-year-olds
- another ECA CEO interview on new family day care fraud statistics that ran in many ABC outlets in April
- a positive story about ECA WA’s proposal for a play strategy, which ran in The Australian
- coverage of ECA’s Budget Analysis in Kinderling and Kidspot, in May
- an interview by ABC Canberra about quality, where we were able to mention the Budget cuts to the National Quality Agenda
- ECA Queensland’s press and TV coverage of Under Eights Week activities.
See our media releases on the Budget here.
The ECA Shop has been busy with sales and promotions throughout the past three months, including discounts for ECA’s Reconciliation Symposium and Reconciliation Week in May. We had the chance to showcase a range of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander–related resources at the 2018 ECA Reconciliation Symposium in Fremantle, WA, and they turned out to be a big hit among the delegates. To view the entire range of resources, click here.
The ECA Shop also had an eventful spring, with new quality-assured resources added. Quality-assured means having every single publication and resource peer-reviewed by the ECA Publications Committee. Find out more about the quality assurance criteria here.
ECA members receive exclusive discounts on ECA publications and on a huge selection of quality-assured titles. You just need to login to your account when visiting the ECA Shop to be entitled. Want to become an ECA member? Click here to find out more.
We also had great interest in our much-anticipated Ethics in Action: A practical guide to implementing the ECA Code of Ethics. This easy-to-use publication is suitable for all educators, managers and childhood professionals caring for children aged birth to 12 years. You can get your copy here.
Our social media team remained busy, with Facebook followers exceeding 99 000 and more adding in each week. We are now reaching more than three million people across our social media channels. Please come and join the conversation here! Some of our recent activities include:
- the ECA Leadership Facebook group (exclusively for participants) that has been exchanging videos, quotes and observations about the professional development module and reflections in the ECA Leadership Program
- video previews from ECA Learning Hub’s new modules, such as Documenting and assessing children’s learning: Part II
- 14 posts (nearly double the number since last quarter) on ECA’s blog, The Spoke. Improving air quality with indoor plants at the Honey Tree Preschool Bellbird had a very strong response, as did The Gonski report—implications for early years teaching. If you would like to write for The Spoke, please have a look at our blog guidelines and send us your article ideas
- an infographic highlighting the signs of young children’s stress, and a post about how you talk to babies and its effect on their brains, reached an astronomical
82 000+ views in April
- nature play, the outdoors and mindfulness were popular themes on our social media channels in May—our post about the research on the benefits of time spent outdoors by young children reached more than 60 000 views; as did a short video post on ways children can regulate emotions through breathing
- the Federal Budget infographic—available within hours of the Budget 2018 release—reached 37 000+ views
- Facebook posts marking reconciliation—including one offering free ECA Learning Hub resources—were also popular in May.
We are continuously on the lookout for new, engaging content from our members about their 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.
The ECA Publications and Studio Team was busy developing, editing and designing materials for the recently concluded ECA Reconciliation Symposium, and work for the upcoming ECA National Conference is currently in full swing. Besides that, our experienced ECA Studio team developed a diverse selection of innovative materials for ECA and external clients. A few of our latest ECA titles include:
- Everyday Learning Series—A guide to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures: The important first step to reconciliation, by Jo Goodwin (Vol. 16 No. 1 2018)
- Every Child magazine—Wellbeing and much more … (Vol. 24 No. 1 2018)
- Research in Practice Series—Helping children with difficult things, by Pam Linke (Vol. 25 No. 1 2018)
- Australasian Journal of Early Childhood (Vol. 43 No. 1 2018).
A big thank you to our current subscribers, as your subscription supports ECA’s advocacy for young children. Upcoming and future topics being covered in our publications include:
- Intentional teaching of cultural competence in play-based settings
- Science in early childhood
- Reconciliation: Building all children’s understanding
- Technology and documentation/Ethical and meaningful use of documentation
- Critical reflection
- Wellbeing for educators and families
- Learning to read.
To help support your professional learning, make sure you don’t miss out on receiving each issue of ECA’s core publications, all of which are available through 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. Find out more about the series by clicking here and viewing a sample of The Circle of Security: Roadmap to building supportive relationships.
Did you know? ECA is currently seeking authors for the following Research in Practice Series topics:
- Mentoring and coaching
- Trauma-informed practice
- Transition to school
The call for Expressions of Interest, and further information on each of the topics, is available here. Submissions for the above EOI topics close Monday 2 July 2018. For more details visit: https://www.earlychildhoodaustralia.org.au/our-publications/research-practice-series/write-research-practice-series/
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’. Find out more about the series by clicking here and viewing a sample of Children’s rights: Every day and everywhere—Book 1.
To make sure you don’t miss out, subscribe to an ECA publication today and save on upcoming titles!
KidsMatter Early Childhood has been busy this year, especially with the return of our webinars. You can watch the recordings of the first two popular events, ‘Educator wellbeing—Yours, mine and ours’ and ‘Becoming social—learning how’ now. Another eight webinars, on topics we know you’ll love, have also been scheduled. So don’t miss out, book your spot now!
Webinars aren’t the only online events we have available. There are many more events being offered, so educators can get started with KidsMatter, and have more opportunities to check-in with the KidsMatter team as well as other educators across Australia.
The KidsMatter team members are busy continuing their work in preparation 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. Today, approximately 800 early learning services and schools are participating in KidsMatter Early Childhood. Their communities are enjoying the mental health and wellbeing benefits … but there is still room for more services to get started!
To find out what is involved and how to get KidsMatter started at your place, watch ‘KidsMatter Essentials’, an on-demand webinar 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.
If you have more questions, or want to come and say ‘Hi’, we’ll be at the ECA National Conference in September too. See you there … or online soon!
New professional learning packages
The ECA Learning Hub has developed a collection of five new professional learning packages. Each package contains a cluster of five online learning courses, comprising of on-demand webinars and interactive learning modules.
Professional learning package topics include:
- Curriculum learning areas
- Exploring pedagogical practices to promote learning
- Science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM)
- Service leadership
- Supporting language and culture in early childhood.
Click here for more information.
ECA Leadership Program
The ECA Leadership Program has been in the studio recording two new ECA Leadership Program webinars. Both our new webinars are panel discussions that focus on a particular capability from the ECA Leadership Capability Framework. The first one is about describing and understanding Capability 2: Addresses children’s rights and honours diversity of all kinds in positive, constructive and courageous ways. The second panel discussion is on
Capability 6: Collaboratively creates a cohesive and effective team. These two webinars are being offered exclusively to participants enrolled in the
ECA Leadership Program.
New professional learning
On demand webinars
- Anti-bias approaches in early childhood
- Settling multiple children in ECEC settings
- Privacy awareness in children’s services
- Understanding behaviour: Supporting children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Documenting and assessing children’s learning: Part II
- Managing challenging exchanges—responding professionally
- Webinar: Emotion coaching—a transformational tool
- Module: Music in early childhood education
Mindfulness in early childhood
ECA and Smiling Mind are partnering up to deliver two online modules, exclusively for early childhood educators looking to increase their own mindfulness skills and foster children’s mindfulness skills. Look out for these modules in the coming months! In the meantime, why not download this free app for adults.
ECA Learning Hub has teamed up with the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) to develop sleep resources. The sleep resources will consist of three online learning modules that will support educators’ understanding of children’s sleep needs, sleep-related practices, as well as policy and procedure considerations. These modules are due for release in September 2018.
Our team has been busy developing new ways of spreading the word about the importance of early education. We have developed new infographics, which have proved to be very popular—they are being run on Facebook and Twitter after releasing them in our monthly newsletter (to educators and parents). Each image is accompanied by a detailed blog with references.
Our top performing post to date was our March infographic about pay equity for early childhood educators—it reached more than 215 000 views and achieved more than 6400 actions (shares, likes, etc.).
We invite all ECA members to share the new infographics—you will find a link to the relevant blog in the description panel here.
To be the first to see the new infographic each month, sign up here.
To date, the campaign has received over 12 000 likes on Facebook, which is a great start. Like our page and help us achieve our goal of 15 000 likes this year.
Early Learning Matters Week
The campaign is coordinating Australia’s first ever Early Learning Matters Week from 5–12 August this year. We will invite Federal MPs and Senators to excellent early childhood services and programs. The purpose is to educate them on the value of quality early learning and access for all Australian children to better support their early development.
Click here to check if your organisation is currently a member involved in Early Learning Matters Week.
To find out more about how your organisation can get involved, contact our campaign manager, Carolin Wenzel, at: email@example.com.
2018 ECA Reconciliation Symposium
The 2018 ECA Reconciliation Symposium, Advancing reconciliation in early childhood education and care, was held in Fremantle, WA, on 11 and 12 May 2018. This fourth symposium was very successful, attracting more than 200 delegates from around Australia.
The event featured keynote presentations from Karen Mundine (Reconciliation Australia); Carol Innes and James Back (Reconciliation WA); Cheryl Kickett-Tucker (Curtin University); and Isabelle Adams on Day 1. Day 2 of the symposium began with a presentation from Alex Shain, Esma Livermore and Stephanie Woerde (Narragunnawali: Reconciliation in Schools and Early Learning) explaining how the Narragunnawali platform can help schools and services to build a Reconciliation Action Plan. And there was a powerful presentation by Kerryn Jones, Katrina Tjitayi, Makinti Minutjukur and Penny Cook on ‘Finding a third space’ that articulated how early education in the remote Aṉangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) lands (SA/NT/WA) is delivered under the guidance of the Pitjantjatjara/Yankunytjatjara Education Committee (PYEC) and SA Department of Education and Child Development (DECD).
Hearing the Pitjantjatjara language spoken was a particular highlight for many delegates.
There were several talks from different panels, such as: Perspectives on what it means to be Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander—personal stories of family, culture, language and Country; Practice and strategies for promoting cultural inclusion in early childhood settings and schools; and Perspectives on supporting Aboriginal educators and Indigenous leadership.
The 2019 ECA Reconciliation Symposium will be hosted in Melbourne. Registrations will open later this year.
2018 Early Childhood Australia National Conference
Not long before early bird registration closes on 30 June 2018—don’t miss out! The Program at a Glance is available now! View the program here and register today for this highly anticipated event. Join professionals from the sector who want to make a difference in the lives of young children and their families.
The conference will explore current and emerging practice, showcase professional development resources and facilitate deep reflective thinking. It will also be a terrific opportunity to network with peers, meet with leading suppliers and see the latest technology available to support early childhood service delivery. Keynote speakers include Dr Cindy Blackstock, Executive Director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada; Dr Stuart Shanker, Research Professor Emeritus of psychology and philosophy, York University, and the creator of The MEHRIT Centre and the Self-Regulation Institute; as well as Professor Paul Ramchandani, LEGO Professor of Play in Education, Development and Learning, Cambridge University; and Stan Grant, Indigenous Affairs Editor for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and Special Advisor to the Prime Minister on Indigenous constitutional recognition.
This year will also see the addition of two limited-place ECA masterclasses for eligible conference delegates: the exclusive masterclass (open to ECA Leadership Program participants); and the Claire Warden masterclass (open to all conference delegates). Both masterclasses will be presented by ECA Learning Hub. The ECA Events team will release details in the coming weeks—members will be the first to hear about the options to register for these limited-place sessions.
Sponsorship of the ECA National Conference is a great way to promote your organisation/business to the early childhood sector. ECA will ensure that your investment is worthwhile, with many direct and indirect benefits for your business or organisation. Sponsorship will allow you to promote your products and services to reach the early childhood education and care sector, demonstrating commitment and support for service providers and educators. A range of promotional opportunities are available, including branding in printed conference material and on the ECA website, as well as placement at the 2018 National Conference. Click here for more information on sponsorship opportunities.
We can’t believe we are almost half way through this year! The Customer Service team has been very productive thus far: updating systems, training new staff, checking over our procedures (updating where necessary), managing memberships, subscriptions and ECA Learning Hub enquires. We are now getting ready for the 2018 ECA National Conference registrations.
We have also been working on a new application to sell ECA products at our various events. It was tested at the recent ECA Reconciliation Symposium, and we can report that it was very successful.
Australian Capital Territory
ECA ACT held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) in March. We are pleased to congratulate the new Branch committee for 2018–19: Sandy Leitch, Sarah Wilcox, Julie Rutups, Vanessa Whelan, Robby McGarvey, Rowena Muir, Sandra Page, Michelle O’Sullivan, Jessica Smith, Louise Marootians and Susan Foy. Another amazing group of experienced early childhood educators and advocates to work together to support the rights of children and families across the ACT.
The AGM included the ACT Branch’s second Ethics in Action workshop, focusing on using the ‘Practice Tool’ templates in our everyday practices.
New South Wales
ECA NSW held a successful Annual General Meeting (AGM) with Megan Mitchell, National Children’s Commissioner, as guest speaker. Megan was inspirational as she spoke about the rights of the child and her advocacy work for all children.
The NSW branch would like to congratulate Carol Burgess, who was re-elected as the President of ECA NSW.
ECA NSW is providing six scholarships to help educators attend the 2018 ECA National Conference, Be the difference for children and families, in Sydney this September. The scholarships will support educators from a diverse range of cultural backgrounds, as well as educators from regional and
Our Far North Coast regional group hosted its annual conference, which was a continued success, despite the attendance being slightly lower than previous years. This year’s keynote speaker was Maria Aarts, founder of Marte Meo. Congratulations to the conference committee whose hard work made it a successful conference. The committee is looking to establish another way to present the conference in 2019 by surveying the needs of the local members.
ECA NSW Mid North Coast hosted a regional symposium: Celebrate, Collaborate and Innovate, bringing together 60 early education professionals to facilitate discussions focused on fostering children’s emotional wellbeing and resilience, supporting the health and wellbeing of educators and building networks within the region. Nikki Buchan and Thea O’Connor, as keynote speakers, initiated thought-provoking discussions. Attendees had the opportunity to discuss and share their own experiences of practice, and collaboratively discuss ideas for future practice and pedagogy. Participants gained valuable connections with other ECA members within the region, and were excited about continuing these connections via our regional ECA network.
ECA NT has had the pleasure of hosting two special guests during the last quarter: Professor Jacqueline Barnes (Director of the Institute for the Study of Children, Families and Social Issues, UK) and Professor Edward Melhuish (Professor of Human Development at the University of Oxford, UK; and a Visiting Professor at the University of Wollongong). Professor Barnes spent the day working with ECA NT staff in a focused conversation around aspects of her work and its practical application by the inclusion professionals working in services. Professor Melhuish and Professor Barnes also teamed up as guests for an
ECA NT Members and Friends network meeting. It was a most lively and enlightening evening, enjoyed by more than 50 educators, teachers and academic staff from across the Northern Territory.
ECA NT has recently been announced as the Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) service partner for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in the Darwin, Litchfield and Palmerston regions. This is an exciting time for ECA NT as it gears up to deliver ECEI services to children from birth to six years. It will officially kick off in August. The NDIS is expected to support more than 6500 people in the Northern Territory, when it is fully implemented in 2020.
ECA NT also continues to deliver the Australian Government Inclusion Programme across the Northern Territory.
At the ECA Queensland Branch this quarter, we were very busy putting together our events for the Under Eights Week in May. We had many people from the early childhood sector view our Under Eights webpage and sign on to let us know what they did for the week. There were celebrations galore from Far North to our southern borders with NSW.
The theme of our week was ‘Children Exploring Language and Culture’. The Education Department walked by our side to support this week by putting on a ‘Romp in the Park’ for approximately 3000 people!
The Toowoomba sub-branch (new to our Queensland Branch) hosted a networking event ‘200 Voices of Children’, which was presented by Professor Bev Fluckiger, Associate Professor Judy Dunn and Dr Madonna Stinson. It was a very stimulating presentation, capturing children’s thoughts and ideas.
The Annual General Meeting was held on 30 May 2018, and we spent the evening networking over wine and canapés, and enjoying the presentation by Queensland University of Technology’s Professor Ann Farrell on ‘Global meets local: Leadership in the changing contexts of early childhood’.
There’s much more planned for the second half of the year, with our Reconciliation Action Plan Working Party, and two seminars for more remote areas of Queensland.
If you are interested in joining our branch, please get in touch to find out more. We have great people to network and work with, for better advocacy for our young children, and support for our sector in general.
Our Executive Committee of 16 members continues to strengthen as a group, as we consolidate our advocacy work in building understandings across our society and the early childhood sector to realise the potential of every child. The ECA SA Branch committee has worked collaboratively to give feedback on a number of documents including:
- the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) National review of teacher registration
- ECA discussion paper on the Statement on young children and digital technology
- the SkillsIQ draft on Children’s education and care industry skills forecast.
At the University of South Australia’s Scholarships, Prizes, Awards and Grants Ceremony 2018, ECA SA’s Melanie Crabb was awarded the Early Childhood Australia (SA Branch) Prize for her contribution to education and care in the early years. Melanie, in her acceptance of this prize, said: ‘As a mature-aged student, I always considered it a privilege to be studying my Bachelor of Education at University, and view the effort I put into my degree as a sign of respect to the children that I would be teaching in the future. I am looking forward to what the future holds for me in my teaching career’. We extend our best wishes to Melanie as she continues her professional journey.
In May, ECA CEO Samantha Page and members of the Executive Committee met with the Minister for Education, Hon. John Gardner, to formally introduce ourselves and begin building our relationship with him. In our advocacy role for young children, we are keen to work with the minister in the implementation of the State Plan for Early Childhood Education and Care under the new government and his leadership.
During National Reconciliation Week 2018, our Executive Committee committed to supporting the ECA Reconciliation Action Plan by researching something of significance in the local area, and presenting this information throughout the year at either the Executive Committee meetings or Branch events. A number of members attended the film screening of ‘After the Apology’, a documentary on the removal of Aboriginal children which was screened around the country.
ECA Tasmania Branch is actively involved with several government committees to ensure that the voice of our members is heard and that children are at the centre of some important government decisions and policy changes.
Our position paper in relation to the Draft Policy to guide co-location of ECEC and Department of Education Services was presented to the government and, as a result, we have seen a change in the direction of this policy. ECA has two representatives on the Stronger Partnerships working group, and has been actively advocating for an improved understanding of the issues faced by outside school hours care and long day care services on school sites. We will continue to work closely with the government to ensure that any policy decision is in the best interests of children in our state.
ECA is also actively involved in the design and implementation of the ‘Working Together for Three-Year-Olds’ initiative. Commencing in 2020, the initiative will ensure that disadvantaged three-year-old children get free access to 10 hours per week of approved education and care, for 40 weeks per year. This is a bold move by the Tasmanian Government. It is aimed at bridging the gap and enabling access to early education for children from vulnerable families.
ECA Tasmania Branch, like all other branches across Australia, is concerned about the Budget announcement and the lack of continued funding for the National Partnership Agreement and the National Quality Agenda. We have written to Minister Simon Birmingham and our State Minister for Education and Training, Jeremy Rockliff, as well as our Premier, Will Hodgman, urging them to re-instate the government’s commitment to the National Partnership Agreement as well as continue financial support to state and territory governments, so that they can undertake the regulatory requirements that ensure quality education and care for Tasmania’s children.
Code of Ethics Forum
Almost a year after the publication of Ethics in Action, we at ECA Victoria recently hosted our Code of Ethics Forum. Attendees were engaged in conversation about ethics in everyday practice: what they have experienced, what the great ethical issues are on a day-to-day basis, and what we understand to be the right thing to do. As early childhood education fights for a place in the national political agenda, educators are grappling with daily decisions that shape the ethical dimensions of our profession. Some of the issues discussed included: The place of food in play; Gender and sexuality in ECEC curriculum; What is an authentic assessment?; Are graduation ceremonies okay?; and Should we alert children to the political issues of our time?
Regional Network Meeting in Ballarat
We recently hosted our second Regional Network Meeting in the regional town of Ballarat. It was an open-door, drop-in evening of informative discussion and information-sharing on local issues in ECEC. Members and non-members from Ballarat and surrounding areas shared their challenges, successes, what’s current in their community and what’s happening more broadly in the ECEC sector. The ECA Victoria Branch Committee would like to extend our appreciation and sincere thanks to our regional friends in and around the Ballarat region for their attendance and participation.
The ECA WA Branch proudly hosted the 2018 ECA Reconciliation Symposium. The two-day symposium was a joint initiative by our branch and national office, along with Reconciliation Australia. The event drew together leaders and supporters of Aboriginal communities from across the country. They generously shared their stories and learnings. Described by some as the most influential professional event that they had attended, educators shared their reconciliation journeys and learnt from each other, as they explored what actions they could take in their services, schools and communities.
The work on a WA Play Strategy took a major step forward in April, as the first meetings of the new multi-agency steering committee took place. With more than 3000 individuals and agencies now endorsing the need for a Play Strategy, the WA Branch and partners on the committee are working towards the development of the strategy. ECA members, including Dr Sandra Hesterman, have been discussing play across the media in WA, gaining great exposure for discussions on learning through play.
Some of the most popular branch activities included the great discussions we have hosted. These are opportunities to work with sector leaders on key issues in education and care. These are the features of our calendar for the balance of the year, and will be featured on the ECA WA Branch Facebook page.