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Early Childhood Australia WebWatch

The latest early childhood news!

In this issue: Early learning is back in focus now that a Federal Election has been called for 18 May; last week saw the release of the first Child Care Subsidy data; and the Australian Law Reform Commission is examining how to better support children through family law proceedings. Around the country, a full report on 2018 NAPLAN results is now available; ACECQA is inviting feedback for an NQF Review to ensure that the framework is continuing to meet its objectives; consultation is now open on how to create a more digitally advanced health care system for Australia; the Australian Taxation Office has released updates on the deductions teachers and educational professionals can claim; ECA is inviting interested delegates to apply for a travel scholarship to attend the 2019 Reconciliation Symposium; and Nature Play Week (17–28 April) is encouraging children and adults to get outside and get active. In other news, research from leading Australian universities shows that families who can afford to, are more likely to delay their children’s school entry; and UNICEF’s first report into pre-school education has highlighted the global need for early learning. Finally, we wrap-up 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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Late breaking news: Save the date!

Early Childhood Australia Election Forum 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm, Thursday 2 May 2019.
Livestreamed via ECA Facebook from the Wheeler Centre, Little Londsdale Street, Melbourne. Click here to book for the event or livestream.


Early learning: A hot topic

While the recent Federal Budget largely ignored young children and the early childhood education and care sector, the lead up to the Election announcement saw both major parties finally talking about the importance of preschool and the release of government’s Child Care Subsidy data. Join the conversation to show federal political candidates that #EarlyLearningMatters: urge your local candidate to fill in our survey (use this email template) or download this handout for your colleagues. Visit the campaign for more ways to get involved.
ECA and SNAICC position statement

Child Care Subsidy impact
The Federal Government released Child Care Subsidy (CCS) data for the September 2018 quarter (June–September) last week to showcase the impact of recent changes to the childcare funding. Click here to read the report. Despite a first glance indication that more children are benefiting from the CCS, Early Childhood Australia CEO Samantha Page expressed concern that vulnerable families are opting out in the belief they won’t meet the activity test.

Closing the Gap

Ready to learn
UNICEF’s first-ever global report on pre-primary education, A world ready to learn: Prioritizing quality early childhood education, reveals that globally 175 million children do not have access to a form of early learning. The report acknowledges that children enrolled in at least one year of pre-primary education are more likely to develop the critical skills they need to succeed in school. Read more about the report here.

Your say on wages

Nature Play Week
From 17–28 April, get outside for Nature Play Week. The week aims to encourage parents and children to take a break from screens and spend time playing outside in nature. Scroll around the map to find out what events are being held in your city, or explore your own backyard, local Botanical Gardens or bushland. Get more ideas and resources on the website.

Benefits of early learning

NAPLAN 2018 report
The 2018 NAPLAN national report released last week shows an increase in several domains and year levels—particularly at the primary school level—since the establishment of the test in 2008. The report also shows disparity between Indigenous students and their non-Indigenous peers in several domains from Year 3 onwards. Read the full 2018 report here.


Health online
A recently opened national online consultation will provide insight into the standards required for a better connected, modern health care system in Australia. The feedback will help the Australian Digital Health Agency identify new ways to deliver more effective health services, and will give individuals more control over their own health information. Have your say here.


Travel scholarships
There are more than 25 travel scholarships available for the 2019 ECA Reconciliation Symposium (10–11 May 2019, Melbourne). Use the scholarships (totalling $1,880 each) to pay for registration, travel and accommodation to attend this important event. Spread the word: applications close Tuesday 30 April. Click here to apply.


Children in family law

Children are ‘falling through the gaps’ in family law courts according to a recent review by the Australian Law Reform Commission. Among 60 recommendations, the commission is calling for the establishment of a single court focused on the best interests of the child for resolving all family law, child protection and family violence issues. Read more about the review here.

Deductions update

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has released guidelines on income and work-related deductions—including car, self-education, home office and other work-related expenses—for teachers and education professionals. An ATO app, myDeductions, is another tool you can use to keep track of your professional expenses and receipts throughout the year. Read more about the guidelines and myDeductions.

School starters

Research by leading Australian universities examined parental reasons for delaying school start. Findings revealed that boys, children from more advantaged neighbourhoods and those with developmental delays were more likely to start school a year later. Families that can afford it are more likely to provide an extra year of early learning before school, compared to families from lower socioeconomic areas. Read more about the report here.

2019 National Quality Framework Review

ACECQA has just launched the 2019 National Quality Framework (NQF) review. For the first phase, educators, families and other professionals are being invited to have their say on the regulation of the quality of education and care services, and the areas of the NQF that can be further improved, including the National Law and National Regulations. The NQF was last reviewed in 2014, and the consultation will be part of a multi-year review. Read more about the review process or complete the survey here

In state and territory news ...

Victoria will offer free vaccinations against the flu to children under five; the Northern Territory (NT) has issued a public health notice against measles and mosquito-borne diseases, such as Kunjin virus; Tasmania has launched a new children’s wellbeing action plan, focusing on mental wellbeing; the South Australian government has made an $800 000 commitment to fund before-school breakfast programs; the Productivity Commission is undertaking an inquiry into government funding of children and family services, following the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the NT, while nationally the Commission is developing a ‘whole-of-government’ Indigenous Evaluation Strategy for policies and programs affecting Indigenous Australians; the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) has introduced legislation to extend parameters around background checks for working with vulnerable people, which will affect all professionals working with vulnerable people. Nominations for Victorian Education Excellence Awards are open until Sunday 9 June; in Western Australia, the Department of Agriculture and Food has issued warnings about the threat posed to regional and metropolitan outdoor activities by the increasing number of European wasps, which are attracted to sweet foods, including fruit—here’s some information on what to do if a child in your care is stung by a wasp.
Every Child Magazine
Early Childhood Australia Learning Hub

Do you live or work in one of these 25 priority electorates? Make a big difference this Election and help us show your local candidates that #EarlyLearningMatters—visit this page to access your Priority Electorate Kit, and for more details, contact Campaign Manager Carolin Wenzel.

ECA Learning Hub

STEM and play
Enrol now for the second Communities of Practice! Focusing on STEM and STEAM in play-based contexts, this is a unique opportunity to join a vibrant community of learning, explore a new topic and learn from each other. Each session is facilitated by Dr Kate Highfield. Enrolments close 16 May 2019.

Be You Early Childhood

Be You webinar
The next Be You In Focus webinar is all about finding everyday ways to support young children’s mental health and wellbeing. Here’s a question the Be You Early Learning team will be exploring on April 30: ‘During transitions, what is most important for children … and you?’ Nikki and Viki can’t wait to see you there! Book your spot here.

The Spoke

Join the conversation
A new blog post on The Spoke about the use of hi-vis vests during early childhood excursions has sparked strong responses and lots of comments from educators. Read the blog post here and find more educators’ views here. Also on The Spoke, Australian ingenuity and early childhood expertise are up for an international Webby Award. Vote by 18 April here!

ECA National Conference 2019

Latest releases
Every Child magazine Vol. 25 No. 1 2019 is now available—in this new edition explore how Canada’s First Nations children fight for their human rights; two opposing views on group times for children; and what educators can do for wellness, rest and relaxation during the middle of a busy work week. For a list of other articles, or to buy your copy, click here.

ECA Conference 2019

International keynotes announced
ECA is thrilled to announce two international keynote speakers for the 2019 National Conference: Professors Gunilla Dahlberg and Peter Moss. Make the most of early bird and member rates to join us in Hobart from 25–28 September 2019. And a reminder, entries for the ECA Awards close on 30 April 2019—get your nominations in now!

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 305, April 2019.