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Early Childhood Australia WebWatch
  The latest early childhood news!  
In this first issue for the year, the 2017 ECA Reconciliation Symposium has opened for registrations! Get in early to secure your spot. ECA comments on the recent media attention around Senator Leyonhjelm. The Early Learning Languages Australia (ELLA) program begins this year, with registrations closing 26 February. A new National Framework was launched, with a focus on helping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children get a better start in life, and the refreshed Learning Potential app is available. A variety of other resources are also available, including Stayin' on track; the 2015–2016 ACECQA Annual Report; and a literature review from the Institute of Child Protection Studies (ICPS). In other news, a recent AusPlay survey shows our children need to get more active; Victorians need to register for the Child Safe Standards course; and the Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) are continuing to support the use of children's sunscreens. There are also a number of events and conferences coming up including MENu, which aims to promote gender diversity in the sector; the call for abstracts is now open for the 7th SNAICC National Conference; and submissions close this Friday 20 January for the 2017 Child Aware Approaches Conference. We also fill you in on all the latest state and territory news.

Jump down to find out what the various ECA teams and projects have been up to and the new resources available for the early childhood sector.

Reconciliation banner
A commitment to language
From 2017, tens of thousands of Australian preschoolers will try their hand at languages as part of the Early Learning Languages Australia (ELLA) program. Minister for Education and Training, Simon Birmingham, said the response so far had been incredible. There are a range of tools in place to help services roll out the ELLA program but they need to register by 26 February 2017.
A new National Framework
The National Framework for Health Services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children and Families was launched in December 2016 and will help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children to get a better start in life. The focus of the Framework is on bringing a more holistic approach to health and wellbeing that draws on the strengths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and cultures.
Learning Potential
The Learning Potential app has been given a refresh! Downloaded more than 118 000 times since it launched in August 2015, the latest updates offer a range of new features and articles with activity ideas and parenting tips. Using the latest national and international research, this app also offers advice on how to use technology or alternative ways for parents to entertain and engage with their children.
Stay sun safe
The Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) has stated its continued support for the use of sunscreens, especially children's sunscreen products on the Australian market following recent reports of complaints. Sunscreen use remains an important form of sun protection; however, carers of babies and infants are encouraged to heed the warnings that come with sunscreen products for children.
Child Safe Standards
Have you registered for the Victorian Child Safe Standards course? It is now required by law for businesses and individuals working with children in Victoria to implement the new Child Safe Standards as part of their ongoing work with children. Completing this online course will help you understand and implement this new compulsory legislation which is active from 1 January 2017.
Stayin' on track
Aboriginal fathers: Stayin' on track is a series of online resources developed by Aboriginal men for Aboriginal dads. It is a place to yarn up about fathering at a young age, including the build-up and the bumpy ride of birth and beyond. It also provides an opportunity to listen to other people who have had the same or similar experiences.
Call for abstracts
Abstract submissions are open for the 7th SNAICC National Conference, to be held from 12–14 September 2017. For those interested, SNAICC is seeking presentations on a number of themes including: Community Advocacy for Change; and Keeping Children Connected with Family, Community and Culture.
ACECQA Annual Report
The Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) 2015–2016 Annual Report has been released. Available online or as a downloadable PDF, details include ACECQA's focus on promoting quality practice through research and analysis; and its increased support, training and guidance for authorised officers.
Get active
Results from a recent AusPlay survey demonstrated that the biggest barriers for participating in sport for children aged under eight are parents' perception that they are too young to start playing. These results show that we all need to be encouraging our children to get more active.
  Senator Leyonhjelm
  There has been a lot of recent media attention around Senator Leyonhjelm's ill-informed comments about the role of educators/quality care. ECA immediately started the process of writing a letter and setting up a more productive private meeting with Senator Leyonhjelm. Responding publicly gives his views and his party a credibility that they lack. Clearly he thrives on any kind of media attention. We will share any good news, post Senator meeting. Meanwhile, on 11 January we shared Chloe Grant’s eloquent educator experience/response on our Facebook site. Furthermore, the Winding back quality standards will not lower early learning costs blog was posted on The Spoke by ECA’s CEO Sam Page and can be accessed via our Facebook page.
  ICPS literature review  
  A new literature review is now available from the Institute of Child Protection Studies (ICPS), titled Foster carer attraction, recruitment, support and retention. The review hopes to address the difficulties in recruiting and retaining skilled foster carers by identifying the most effective strategies to attract, support and retain successful foster-caring families.   
  MENu—promoting gender diversity
  Presented by Down to Earth, MENu is an upcoming event with an aim to promote greater diversity in the sector by supporting males working with children. The event will be held on 18 February 2017 at the Ibis Styles Resort (ACT/NSW border). Registrations are now open.    
  Submissions are almost closed!
  Closing Friday 20 January, time is almost up to submit an abstract for the 2017 Child Aware Approaches Conference, to be held in Brisbane from 15–16 May. The Conference needs your ideas on how to make Australia an even better place for children and young people, so don't miss out!
  In state and territory news ...  
  In the Australian Capital Territory, an evidence-based prevention initiative, the PURPLE Crying Program, was launched to educate new parents; an additional $10 million has been provided to build on special education services in South Australia; the Victorian government is investing $4.6 million over four years for the Caring Dads program; a report has been released by the University of NSW about the experiences and impacts of out-of-home care in Australia; in Tasmania, improved access to child health services is anticipated with the move of the Child Health and Parenting Service from DHHS back into the Tasmanian Health Service; foster and kinship carers have been recognised for their tireless commitment to protecting Queensland children; in Western Australia, Family Matters has welcomed the announcement of $20 million to fund a new pilot program aimed at reducing the number of Aboriginal children removed by child protection authorities; and the Commonwealth and Northern Territory Governments have agreed to a request from the Royal Commission to extend its reporting date.  
The latest issue of RIPS is available now

Early Childhood Australia Learning Hub
What's in store for 2017?
Within the next few weeks, we'll be releasing the first in a series of high-definition, on-demand webcasts including 'Supporting bilingualism in early childhood settings' by Dr Ruth Nicholls, as well as the module, 'STEM in early childhood' by Dr Kate Highfield.
KidsMatter Early Childhood
Discuss and share advice
Join the discussion this month and share advice  on what parents can do to support their children starting in early childhood education or school on the Early Learning: Everyone Benefits facebook page.
KidsMatter Early Childhood
Get intentional about mental health
Educators wanting to get intentional about mental health should read this article.
Find here 10 ways to promote mental health in your early childhood setting.

Early Years Connect
New blog
Guest blogger, Kate MacKenzie, has a son with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). In her blog, Having a child with special needs without realising it, she details the journey from realising 'something is a little different' to the eventual diagnosis of ASD. Read the full article here.
Registered Charity
Continuing its legacy
Early Childhood Australia is proud to continue its legacy as a registered charity. Your support helps us advocate for children’s rights. To highlight ECA’s charity status, from 2017 the new Registered Charity™ logo will be visually displayed on relevant ECA communication.
Early Childhood Australia Reconciliation Symposium
Register now!
Engage in facilitated discussions, reflect on key topics and discover practical tips that can have a lasting impact. Make a difference within your early year settings and communities by attending the 2017 ECA Reconciliation Symposium. Register now for this interactive two-day event!
To view upcoming early childhood events and professional development opportunities, click here to visit the ECA events page.

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Early Childhood Australia disclaimer
The opinions expressed in the articles and external links are those of the authors and not necessarily those of Early Childhood Australia.
ECA WebWatch—Issue 251, January 2017.
Early Childhood Australia 2017 - All rights reserved