Early Childhood Australia is pleased to present the Ethics in Action Workshop, Engaging with the ECA Code of Ethics.

This series of five (5) half-day workshops was held across regional New South Wales and facilitated by Catharine Hydon, co-author of ECA Code of Ethics and Ethics in Action: A practical guide to implementing the ECA Code of Ethics.

About the workshops

Informed by ECA’s Code of Ethics and referencing ECA’s recent publication, Ethics in Action: A practical guide to implementing the ECA Code of Ethics, these workshops will explore the ethical dimensions of our work and strengthen our capacity to make more effective and respectful decisions. Using the guide to support our professional thinking, participants will be invited to practice the art of ethical decision-making, and work together to reinforce approaches that enhance the rights and wellbeing of children, families, our colleagues and the community.

The workshops are suitable for anyone working with young children (aged birth to eight) and their families, including:

  • service leaders, educational leaders, teachers and educators working in centre-based early learning services, such as long day care and outside school hours care
  • teachers and educational support staff working in preschool/kindergarten settings
  • family day care educators
  • professionals employed in family support services, maternal and child health or supported playgroup programs
  • teachers working in the early years of primary school education.

Dates and locations

Each workshop started at 9.00 am and concluded at 1.30 pm, with morning tea, light lunch and coffee provided.

Register Location Date
SOLD OUT Port Macquarie Thursday 21 February
SOLD OUT Central Coast Friday 8 March
SOLD OUT Dubbo Thursday 28 March
SOLD OUT Tamworth Thursday 4 July
SOLD OUT Merimbula Thursday 24 October

Why do we need a code of ethics?

Ethics is relevant to the everyday life and work of professionals, and is therefore not something abstract or removed from reality. Ethical professionals think carefully about their decisions and, individually or collectively, will enact values that the profession considers central to their work.

Every day early childhood educators make hundreds of decisions about their work with children and families. Many of these decisions involve complex choices about children’s best interests, families’ expectations and our understanding of exemplary practice in relation to the communities where we work. The ECA Code of Ethics recognises that childhood professionals are in a unique position of trust and influence in their relationships with children, families, colleagues and the community, therefore, professional accountability is vital. ECA’s Code of Ethics provides educators and professionals the standards and benchmarks for advocacy and action, and sets to identify the values and virtues regarded as important by the profession.

The core principles of the ECA Code of Ethics

The core principles of the Code of Ethics are:

  • Each child has unique interests and strengths and the capacity to contribute to their communities.
  • Children are citizens from birth with civil, cultural, linguistic, social and economic rights.
  • Effective learning and teaching is characterised by professional decisions that draw on specialised knowledge and multiple perspectives.
  • Partnerships with families and communities support shared responsibility for children’s learning, development and wellbeing.
  • Democratic, fair and inclusive practices promote equity and a strong sense of belonging.
  • Respectful, responsive and reciprocal relationships are central to children’s education and care.
  • Play and leisure are essential for children’s learning, development and wellbeing.
  • Research, inquiry and practice-based evidence inform quality education and care.

This history of ECA’s Code of Ethics

Early Childhood Australia has a long history of interest in the ethics involved in education and care. This interest prompted its members and other childhood professionals to think more deeply about ethics, by raising awareness of the ethical nature of their work. The interest in ethics was formalised with the adoption of the first national Code of Ethics in 1990. The first code was developed after two years of extensive national consultation and work undertaken by a working party led by Anne Stonehouse AM.

The original working party believed that the code would need to be reviewed regularly and that it should be regarded as a ‘living’ document rather than merely a symbolic gesture of professionalism. A review and revision of the original code took place in 2004–2005. At this time, ECA committed to regularly reviewing the code to ensure its ongoing relevance for the sector, as new research, issues and dilemmas emerge.

ECA’s decision to initiate the most recent review and revision of the code was strongly influenced by new research and the significant changes that have occurred in the education and care sector over the past 10 years. The introduction of the National Quality Framework, including the National Quality Standard, and two national learning frameworks (the Early Years Learning Framework and the Framework for School Age Care) have profoundly influenced and changed the sector.

A national working party, under the leadership of ECA board member Stephanie Jackiewicz, led the 2015 national consultation, review and revision process. The ECA National Board ratified the third iteration of the Code of Ethics in 2016. The consultation and review process revealed overwhelming support for the code, along with recommendations related to ‘silences’ and to making it more accessible for the profession.

About the facilitator

Catharine Hydon, Hydon Consulting

Catharine Hydon is the Director at Hydon Consulting. Over the last 10 years, she has worked as an independent education consultant for a range of organisations and governments to support the articulation of quality and inspire change. Catharine has extensive experience in the early childhood sector, having led a range of services and projects for children and their families. She has a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education, specialising in early childhood practice, policy and governance, the delivery of integrated services and the exploration of innovative programs to engage vulnerable children and their families. Catharine draws on this study and her ongoing practice research to consider how theory connects and informs practice. She is a long-time member of Early Childhood Australia (ECA), currently serves as the Co-chair of its Reconciliation Advisory Group, and is a regular contributor to ECA publications. Catharine has been a member of the ECA Code of Ethics working group for the last two reviews and is a co-author on the recently published Ethics in Action Implementation guide.  Catharine is also a member of the Respectful Relationship Expert Advisory Group for the Victorian Department of Education and the EY-10 Curriculum and Assessment Committee for the VCAA.


9.00 am–9.30 am Registration
9.30 am–11.00 am Session 1
11.00 am–11.30 am Morning tea
11.30 am–1.00 pm Session 2
1.00 pm–1.30 pm Networking lunch
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