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Early Childhood Australia WebWatch

The latest early childhood news!

In this issue: Early Childhood Australia and SNAICC launched a position statement with recommendations on how to ensure equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children in the early years; the Federal Government released the eleventh Closing the Gap report; COAG has endorsed all the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations; and UNICEF released a new report that explores the effects of drought on children. Around the country, early years professionals are being invited to participate in a new salary survey; applications are open for several early childhood professional learning grants and scholarships; the 2019 World First Nations Early Childhood Conference is calling for papers; and ECA’s Ethics in Action Workshops begin across regional NSW. In other news, new US-based research confirms that children who engage in quality early learning achieve better assessment scores in middle school; a recent comparison of school lunchboxes in different socioeconomic areas raises concerns about nutrition; and finally, we fill you in on 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.


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ECA and SNAICC position statement

ECA and SNAICC position statement
Last week, Early Childhood Australia and SNAICC—National Voice for our Children released their position paper: Working together to ensure equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in the early years. With twice the rate of developmental vulnerability on starting school, and significant barriers to accessing quality early education and care, the needs of Indigenous children remain significant. Endorsed by more than forty child welfare, education and research organisations, this paper lays out recommendations on how governments can ensure that all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children receive quality early learning and family support. Read the full paper here.

Closing the Gap

‘Closing the Gap’ targets
With 13 February 2019 marking the eleventh anniversary of the National Apology to the Stolen Generations, the Federal Government released its Closing the Gap report. While on track for the target that 95 per cent of Indigenous four-year-olds are enrolled in early childhood education and care (ECEC) by 2025, only two-thirds of all Indigenous children attended for 600 hours or more, and children in remote communities had the lower attendance rates. Developmental vulnerability for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children starting school is high, and there is more work to be done to improve outcomes. This blog post explains the gaps that remain for young children and early learning.

Your say on wages

Your say on wages
Randstad Education is conducting a number of surveys to determine what it takes to attract and retain childhood professionals. They’re inviting sector professionals to participate in the surveys and provide an understanding of the salaries earned by early years staff in Australia. Follow the links to find specific surveys for early childhood educators and outside school hours care professionals.

Benefits of early learning

Benefits of early learning
A recent report from Duke University in the United States measured the impact of two state-specific early years programs on children’s academic outcomes through elementary school. Researchers found that involvement in both programs yielded an increase in reading and math grades in primary and high school. Read the working paper here.


National Principles for Child Safe Organisations
The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) has endorsed all National Principles arising from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Led by the National Children’s Commissioner, Megan Mitchell, the principles aim to provide a nationally consistent approach to creating organisational cultures that foster child safety and wellbeing across all sectors. Read more about it here.


Teaching scholarships and grants
First State Super is inviting applications from early stage public school teachers for its annual professional development scholarship, valued at more than $10 000. The scholarship supports professional development for Early Stage One and Stage One teachers. Click here to apply. There are also various grants available for professional learning projects from the Foundation of Graduates in Early Childhood Studies (Victoria). Find more information about them here.

Ethics in Action Workshops

Ethics in Action workshops
Registrations are open for ECA Ethics in Action Workshops to be held in March across New South Wales. Facilitated by Catharine Hydon, the workshops will explore ethical dimensions of early childhood education and care, and ways to strengthen ethical decision-making. Workshop venues include Central Coast (Tumbi Umbi) on 8 March and Dubbo on 28 March. Find more information here.

Lunchboxes re-examined

Lunchboxes re-examined
An ABC News reporter compared school lunchboxes in different socioeconomic areas of Melbourne. While her findings cemented the white-bread Vegemite sandwich as being a staple, she found that highly processed junk foods still dominated school lunches, irrespective of median family income. Read the full article here.


Call for papers

Indigenous Conference Services has opened a second round of call for papers for the upcoming 2019 World First Nations Early Childhood Conference, Empowering generations. Scheduled to be held in Cairns from 23–25 October 2019, this conference aims to inspire early childhood educators and services to provide high-quality childcare programs for First Nations children. Follow these links to submit a paper, or register for the event.

Children and distressing events

A new report from UNICEF explores the attitudes among Australian children in drought-affected areas. The report, In their own words: The hidden impact of prolonged drought on children and young people, brings into focus how drought and other natural disasters impact children. It is a timely release, as flood and fire alerts continue being a concern for some states and territories. Educators supporting young children through difficulties and natural disasters can find a blog and extra resources here. Be You Fact Sheets on children and trauma can be found here.

In state and territory news ...

In Victoria, a new free program will teach young children about the importance of first aid in the event of an emergency; South Australia launched a major wellbeing program to support preschool directors; in New South Wales, the Active Kids program is offering two $100 vouchers per child to support participation in sports all year long; in Far North Queensland, Save the Children has established three ‘child friendly spaces ’ for flood-affected families and children; the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) government has passed legislation to strengthen child safety laws in ACT schools; in Western Australia, children aged birth to five years who attend day care have been named as the most sun-smart age group in the state; the Queensland government has extended the allowance of foster and kinship carers looking after vulnerable children who turn 18 while still at school; and in Tasmania, 107 kindergartens will benefit from a $15 million state-wide upgrade of early learning and education facilities.
Available now-New Research in Practice Series title-Strengthening quality through critical reflection and action research
Early Childhood Australia Learning Hub

OSHC webinars
Two new webinars are now available on the Outside School Hours Care Quality Development Program. Explore self-regulation and conflict management with Beth Macgregor, child psychologist, neuroscientist and mental health expert. This program is free for NSW-based OSHC professionals. Read the instructions on how to register. For other Learning Hub resources from Beth Macgregor, click here.

ECA Spoke

Gaps, ethics and Reggio Emilia
New blog post by Karen Hope explores why the Reggio Emilia educational project—despite being so far removed culturally, politically and geographically from Australia—remains so important in our context. Another article explores where the gaps remain, despite good news on Indigenous children’s early childhood enrolments. Also read about the renewed interest in ethics in a troubled world.

Be You Early Childhood

Be You and national standards
The Be You Framework and the Professional Learning modules link to the National Quality Standard. Progressing through the Be You Professional Learning modules and putting your learning into practice can support the assessment and rating process. Be You also links to the Australian Curriculum for schools, and to the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers.

Early Learning campaign

Children’s voice
‘Children know … that every child deserves … clean water to drink, … good food to eat and someone to love and hug them’. How can we involve children in our advocacy initiatives? Be inspired by Canada’s First Nations children’s advocate, Dr Cindy Blackstock, and her examples of giving a voice to children. Join our campaign to help increase access to early learning for all Australian children.

ECA National Conference 2019

Exploring inclusion
In the latest issue of Every Child magazine, early childhood teacher Marnie Saunders reflects on the inclusion of LGBTQI+ families in early childhood services, and talks about how the Early Years Learning Framework supports the inclusion of all families. Purchase this issue to read the article, or subscribe to Every Child magazine.

ECA Conference 2019

Big ideas
From Vision to Action is the theme of the 2019 ECA National Conference. Among the five areas of inquiry are Speak up for children and Build social capital. Book your ticket now to get Early Bird rates or the member and non-member concessions. This year’s conference also features a Virtual Delegate Pass. Click here to learn more or subscribe to our newsletter.

To view upcoming early childhood events and professional development opportunities, click here to visit the ECA events page.


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ECA WebWatch—Issue 301, February 2019.