About us

The Early Childhood Australia, SA Branch, is organised by an active group of volunteers who advocate for young children, families and provide leadership in the early childhood education and care profession. The committee includes members from the community and a range of organisations, including the education, care and health sectors. As a peak early childhood organisation government and non-government agencies seek advice from our branch to contribute to and comment on early childhood issues and policies that affect young children and their families

Our branch priorities for 2019 are aligned with the ECA National Strategic Plan 2017-2020:

  • Speak up for Children
  • Build Social Capital
  • Champion quality in early education
  •  Lead and inspire professional learning
  •  Position ECA for long term success

Branch Executive

President Susan Jackson
Vice President Sue Dahlenburg
SA National Director Italia Parletta
Secretary Phyllis Mitchell
Treasurer Carman Wilson

Committee Members

Michael Austin
Marilyn Clarke
Trish Cook
Julie Brown
Melanie Crabb
Marie Cullen
Lesley-Anne Ey
Kate Martin
Gayle Mills
Phyllis Mitchell
Tamara Newbery
Suzanne Russell
Kate Ryan
Joan Gilbert

Committees with Branch Representation

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

ECA SA Branch is represented on the following committees:

  • The Committee for the Lillian de Lissa and Jean Denton Memorial Trusts Committee (Rosemary Green)
  • Australian Professional Standards for Teachers – Teachers Reg Board Future Directions Early Childhood Reference Group – (Joan Gilbert)
  • Council of Education Associations SA (CEASA) (Susan Jackson)
  • University of South Australia –Programs Advisory Committee (Susan Jackson)
  • Early Learning Everyone Benefits Campaign Reference Group (Sue Dahlenburg)
  • The South Australian Collaborative Childhood Project Governance Group – (Kate Ryan)
  • Re-imagining Childhood Birth to Three years Project Leaders Group (Joan Gilbert)
  • Margaret Trembath Research Fund – Lesley-Anne Ey & Margaret Sankey
  • Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM)(Melaine Crabb)
  • Supporting ECA SA Networks (Margaret Sankey)
  • Inclusive Play Working group (Marilyn Clake)
  • Initial Teacher Education Advisory Board, Flinders University (Joan Gilbert)

Speak up for Children

The SA branch Executive committee is committed to the promotion of the rights and wellbeing of all young children, and as such part of that work is reviewing and providing feedback on current policy, legislation and papers.

Recent responses submitted:

  • Child Development Council SA – Framework for Children and Young People
  • SkillsIQ – CHC Training Package Review: Early Childhood Education and Care – Draft 2 Validation Feedback


Build Social Capital 


Our Branch is a member friend of Reconciliation South Australia. A table of ECA SA Friends attended the Reconciliation SA’s annual Apology Breakfast on 13 February to honour the Survivors of the Stolen Generation.

Suzanne Russell, ECA SA committee member and Helen Connolly, Commissioner for Children and young people

The Welcome to country was given by Kaurna elder and ECA branch committee member, Suzanne Russell. Following is, committee member, Kate Martin’s reflection on the morning:

Attending this year’s apology breakfast was a moving and encouraging experience. Encouraging to see such a wide variety of community represented and supporting reconciliation. The music from local Aboriginal singer songwriter Vonda Last and Adelaide composer and jazz violinist Julian Ferraretto was beautiful and evoked many different memories and emotions. The way in which The Hon. John Hill, former Independent Assessor of the Stolen Generations Individual Reparation Scheme, presented his findings and his reflection on over 30 individual stories from stolen generation survivors was a beautiful way to show the complexities of the report.

This was my first experience hearing Uncle Jack Charles present, what a national treasure! The stories and memories shared were genuine, moving and at times humorous. He talked about growing up as part of the Stolen Generations and now his dedication in mentoring and guiding the younger generations of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous young Australians. I could have listened to his storytelling all day! A powerful morning on many levels.

Position ECA for long term success

Each year the branch offers a new early childhood graduate an ECA Award. This year the University of South Australia offered the ECA award to Courtney Irrgang

Margaret Trembath Scholarship 

Early Childhood Australia, South Australian Committee invites applications for the Margaret Trembath Scholarship for 2022 from individuals or organisations in Australia who are working in the field of early childhood (birth to eight years).

The Scholarship is available to support research in young children’s learning, development and/or wellbeing. The value of the scholarship is up to a maximum of $20,000 (tax exempt).

The research should inform the early childhood profession and benefit early childhood education and care in Australia. The successful applicant must obtain ethics approval and will be expected to write a publishable report and present their findings at the South Australia ECA branch executive committee.

Applications due: Tuesday, 31 May 2022 (COB).

Further details below:


e: ecasa@earlychildhood.org.au

Reclaiming What Matters in Early Childhood Online Learning Series

The Early Childhood Organisation of South Australia, Early Childhood Australia, South Australia, Nature Play SA and the Preschool Directors Association of South Australia are proud to launch another collaborative project: Reclaiming What Matters in Early Childhood.

Over the course of the collaborative project that will extend into 2023, we are coming together to plan a series of professional learning sessions that will have a strong focus on the five domains of child development:
• physical health and wellbeing
• social competence
• emotional maturity
• language and cognitive skills (school-based)
• communication skills and general knowledge.

11 May 2022: Hugh Mackay discusses The Kindess Revolution (via Zoom)
8 June 2022: Commissioner Anne Hollands discusses Mental Health and Wellbeing (via Zoom)
17 August 2022: Rick Baldock and ACHPER SA discuss Physical Development (face to face)
26 October 2022: Dr Naomi Fisher discusses Self Directed Learning (via Zoom)

Book now!