Early Childhood Australia Victoria Branch advocates to ensure quality, social justice and equity in all issues relating to children from birth to eight years and ensuring that these children have a voice.  Our vision is that ‘Every young child is thriving and learning’.

The Victorian branch achieves this through speaking on behalf of young children to parents, governments, educators, carers and the community. We are committed to promoting high standards of practice in the early childhood sector and contribute to and comment on policy that effect young children and their families.

ECA Vic Branch is governed by a volunteer committee and is a member of the ECA national organisation.  We engage our members through regular communication via social media and newsletters and hold regular forums that members can attend to keep up to date with current policy, research and issues within the sector.  The Branch is strongly committed to increasing our membership and advocating for the early childhood sector work force.

To view the ECA Victoria Branch Constitution please click here.

Acknowledgement of Country

Early Childhood Australia Victoria Branch acknowledges the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nations as the Traditional Custodians of the land in which our office is situated. We extend this acknowledgment to Traditional Custodians across Victoria and recognise their continuing connections to land and water and thank them for protecting this vast landscape and its ecosystems since time immemorial. We pay our deepest respects to Elders past and present and to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

We recognise that we must reflect upon the significance of true reconciliation in all of ECA’s work. This commitment to Reconciliation is a commitment to all children and particularly to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and their families.

As a community of Early Childhood professionals, we recognise that Aboriginal communities have been and continue to nurture and teach children on this land and in recognition we highly value, honour and respect this.

Click here to view the Early Childhood Australia (ECA) Stretch Reconciliation Action PlanEmbed, Enable and Strive

Branch Committee

Branch President Marie Howard
Branch Vice President
Nominal Treasurer
Alistair Gibbs
Secretary Sean Whiting
General Member Janet Williams-Smith
General Member Nicole Pilsworth
General Member Rachel Pollitt
General Member Sarah Louise Gandolfo
General Member Casey Goodman
General Member Claire Cooper

For a short bio on the ECA Victoria Branch Committee Members, please click here.


The Branch AGM is an important opportunity for us to share the work of the year with our members.  Each year we bring together reports that detail what we have been up to and showcase our achievements.  It’s also a time to thank those who have made a contribution to the Branch and invite our members to stand for any vacant positions.

Our 2021 Annual General Meeting was held on Tuesday 9th November 2021


e: ecavic@earlychildhood.org.au

ECA Victorian Branch Facebook page—you don’t have to sign up to look.

Committees with Branch Representation

The Victorian Branch has representation on a variety of early childhood committees, advisory groups and professional support services throughout the state of Victoria.

  • Early Learning Everyone Benefits Campaign Reference Group
  • Regulation of Education and Care Services – Key Stakeholders
  • Early Childhood Development Advisory Group (DET)
  • ECA Leadership Forum
  • Early Childhood Strategic Communications (DET)
  • Kindergarten Reform Design Sub-Group
  • ECA Learning Hub Advisory Group
  • VIT Early Childhood Teacher Stakeholder Reference Group
  • Deakin University: Bachelor of Education Advisory Board
  • Box Hill Institute: Early Childhood Course Advisory Committee
  • DET Respectful Relationships Early Years Working Group
  • Kindergarten Expansion Consultative Committee (DET)
  • The ECEC Stakeholder Reform Committee (DET)
  • Training and Practice Advisory Group (Child Information Sharing reforms)
  • Fortnightly COVID-19 Updates (DET)


Each year the Victorian Branch of Early Childhood Australia hosts a series of forums as an opportunity to engage with members and early childhood professionals alike. Further details for each forum will be available closer to the dates. Forum topics for 2022 will include:

Planning for 3-year-old kinder 2023:  Join with the Committee and DET (Department of Education and Training VIC) to discuss planning for Three Year Old kindergarten in 2023.

Children’s Mental Health:  An opportunity to contemplate how early childhood education and care services play a part in promoting and protecting positive mental health, considering how we provide learning environments that attend to building self-confidence, inclusivity, and resilience.

Play:  we are inviting conversation and contemplation on how Play is facilitated. We focus on our role as educators in children’s play, the importance of play in children’s learning, play for infants, family and community understanding of play and inclusivity in the play environment. Through discussions we invite you to engage with imagination to think deeply.

Research Forum:  An opportunity to connect with some of the current research being undertaken by Victorian early childhood researchers and practitioners.

  • Members  FREE
  • Non-Members  $33


The Victorian Branch of Early Childhood Australia offers a range of awards that celebrate student achievement and research excellence, in addition to providing financial support to attend professional development. The awards were established in 2005 and have expanded to six award categories, to meet the diverse needs of the early childhood community. Consider submitting a nomination, for you or someone you know.

Please click here for our Awards brochure.

Agnes Farrance Conference Award

In recognition of her strong commitment to the professional development of early childhood educators, the Agnes Farrance Conference Award enables someone from within the profession to participate in a professional conference and to have the opportunity to share their experience with colleagues and peers.

This award provides financial support for an early childhood educator to attend a conference up to the value of $1,000. This could be the National Early Childhood Conference or another significant conference.

For application forms and further details click here.

Dianne Chandler Memorial Award

Diane Chandler was strongly committed to the belief that all staff working within the sector needed to remain abreast of current research, trends and influences which would affect teaching practice in early childhood.

In recognition of her strong commitment to the professional development of early childhood educators, the Diane Chandler Memorial Award enables someone from within the profession to participate in their choice of a professional development opportunity that would improve outcomes for young children and their families.

This award provides financial support to an early childhood professional educator, to undertake professional development of their choosing to the value of $1500.

For application forms and further details click here.

ECA VIC Doctoral Thesis Award

The Victorian Branch Early Childhood Australia Doctoral Thesis Award was established in 2015.  The aim of this award is to recognise the level of excellence and diligence required to undertake and complete a Doctoral thesis and to encourage the generation of quality and early childhood research in Victoria.

The thesis must be a PhD or EdD (Professional Doctorate) awarded in the year of application or the previous year by a university in Victoria.

The Doctoral Thesis Award comprises:

  • A citation delivered with the presentation of the award at the ECA Victorian Branch AGM and/or Research Forum
  • Travel support if required to attend the Victorian Branch AGM and/or Research Forum

The Award recipient will also receive a 12-month complimentary membership to Early Childhood Australia and subscriptions to ECA publications:  AJEC; Every Child: Research in Practice and Everyday Learning.

For submission and assessment guidelines click here

For application forms and further details click here

ECA VIC Student Excellence Award

The Student Excellence Award showcases the endeavours and accomplishments of early childhood graduates, recognising not only academic excellence but also personal, professional and community achievements.

The Victorian Early Childhood Australia Student Awards are offered in the final year of pre-service teachers’ studies. The successful candidates for this award must be in the final year of their Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care, Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood) or Master of Teaching (Early Childhood) course to be eligible for this award.

The Award recipient will receive a 12-month complimentary membership to Early Childhood Australia and a 12-month subscription to the Early Childhood Australia Learning Hub as an acknowledgment of being part of a dynamic, collective of early childhood professionals.

For application forms and further details click here.

Warrawong Conference Scholarship Awards

The Warrawong fund supports not-for-profit early childhood services and organisations in Victoria to enable staff to undertake training and professional development in the field of early childhood.

From time-to-time, the Victorian Branch of Early Childhood Australia secures funding from the Trustees of the Foundation of Graduates in Early Childhood Studies and the Warrawong Foundation to provide financial support to early childhood professionals, particularly those who are disadvantaged from participating in these types of opportunities due to geographic location, physical, personal, economic or social circumstances, to attend the ECA National Conference.

The Warrawong Conference Scholarship Award provides financial support of up to $2000 to early childhood professional educators who, through financial or isolation disadvantage, may not otherwise have the opportunity to attend the ECA National Conference.

Check back here in 2022 for more details on what scholarships are available.

Rose Kelly Recognition Award

The Rose Kelly Recognition Award aims to acknowledge well-recognised and respected early childhood professionals who have engaged in effective advocacy for social justice and equity on behalf of young children and the early childhood sector.

This award provides financial support to attend an ECA event in the year awarded.  The successful recipient will also receive a 12-month subscription to the Early Childhood Australia Learning Hub.

For application forms and further details click here.

Special Interest Groups

ECA Victorian Branch operates with a number of special interest groups (SIG’s) that support the needs and interests of ECA members. SIG’s operate under the auspice of a larger organisation and adhere to their policies. Each SIG is shaped by what its members want and hope to achieve, with objectives including but not limited to, a research and reading focus, discussions, networking, visits, guest speakers or advocacy. They offer opportunities for smaller groups to get together to think through marginalised and or specialised areas of interest.

Each SIG has two convenors who oversee the group.  SIG convenors can be contacted directly if you are interested in joining the group or if you would like further information.

Click here to view the policy that guides the formation and structure of a Special Interest Group. As each SIG has a different focus and identity, this policy is a guide only.

Talking Reconciliation SIG
Convenor: Susan Werner and Leanne Mits—swerner@swin.edu.au

“Talking Reconciliation” aims to provide a regular opportunity for educators interested in progressing reconciliation within their services, and providing programs that include Indigenous perspectives in meaningful ways, to meet and share knowledge and skills. If you are interested in joining this group please contact the ECA Victoria Branch office.

This group is made up of interested participants in protecting and advocating for children.

Let’s Reflect – An opportunity for early childhood professional discussion
Convenors: Melissa Lowndes and Josie Caryuso—sigletsreflect@gmail.com

Let’s Reflect offers an informal space for educators, pre-service teachers, teachers and professionals from across the sector to come together to reflect on current ideas and challenges that are occurring within their practice. Let’s Reflect host four forums a year with a particular topic of discussion and where possible we invite along a professional friend who has a particular specialty or research in the topic.

Anti-Bias SIG
Convenors: Alistair Gibbs and Sarah Louise Gandolfo
Anti-Bias SIG aims to create a space where early childhood educators, teachers, students, specialists and professionals can come together to bravely discuss hard topics, questioning their practices and perceptions and making plans for a more inclusive environment.


Over the years, our Victorian Branch SIG’s have developed a variety of resources for the early childhood sector (below).

Click here to view slides that were presented at an open meeting as a way of demystifying what a Special Interest Group (SIG) is, what they can do and what they could look like.

1. Healthy biodiversity is no luxury – it’s the foundation of all life on earth – exploring biodiversity and conservation in Early Childhood Practice. (Download)
2. Energy Matters – exploring understandings of energy, and energy conservation in early childhood education. (Download)
3. Water play is essential play – exploring water play and conservation in Early Childhood Practice. (Download)
4. Environmental Sustainability article one (Download)
5. Environmental Sustainability article two (Download)
6. Environmental Sustainability article three (Download)
7. Sustainability web links (Download)

The child-friendly version of the Convention on the rights of the child (CROC).


Through the Victorian Branch Bulletin, we would like to report on regular activities of the branch members, and as a collective, representing the rights of children. Here we will share with you individual reports as well as showcase our Committee members, so you may become familiar with all of us.