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Early Childhood Australia WebWatch

The latest early childhood news!

Making news this fortnight … The Australian Greens and The Australian Labor Party announce policy initiatives for Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) and you can ask the major political parties your questions at the National Early Childhood Election Forum in Melbourne; The Children’s International Film Festival takes centre stage in Melbourne and Sydney; and Australians travelling to Papua New Guinea are advised to be up-to-date with vaccinations after ongoing Polio outbreaks in the country. The World Health Organization issues guidelines on physical activity, sleep and sedentary behaviour for children between birth and five years old, Family day care will be celebrated during National Family Day Care Week, and The Conversation examines the unexpected consequences of privatisation of school cleaners. Public consultation has begun for a review of the Melbourne Declaration on Education Goals, and the Grattan Institute announces Australia’s international rankings on issues such as housing, healthcare and tax ahead of the Federal Election. The Australian Bureau of Statistics releases statistics on school spending, and it’s time to start planning for Reconciliation Week (27 May–3 June). Finally, 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. We wrap up with state and territory news.


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Election news

With the Federal Election just weeks away, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten announced that a Labor government would increase the childcare subsidy for many households and increase early childhood educators’ pay by 20 per cent over eight years. Read more and ECA’s response here, and find ECA CEO Samantha Page’s article in The Sydney Morning Herald here. Last week the Greens announced universal early childhood education for three and four year olds, and free childcare for families on a combined income of approximately $171,000 or less. Read Greens policy initiatives here. The Coalition has not yet released an early childhood policy as part of the election campaign, but in an interview this week, it drew attention to its 2018 reform of the Child Care Subsidy to drive down out-of-pocket expenses for parents. The Federal Election will be held on Saturday 18 May, with voting options available on the AEC website. Learn more at the National Early Childhood Election Forum.
Election forum in Melbourne

Election forum in Melbourne
Join ECA in Melbourne or online to hear from key political representatives (Coalition, Labor and the Greens confirmed) about their policies and commitments for children, families and early learning. If you can’t be in Melbourne, join the conversation online and ask questions on the ECA Facebook live stream. Register here to attend in Melbourne or via Facebook live stream.

Children's film festival

Children's film festival
The Children’s International Film Festival (CHIFF) returns to Sydney and Melbourne from 24 May–10 June with a packed program for children aged 4 to 16. Look for old favourites and new characters in a range of international children’s short and feature films and family-friendly sessions. View session times and book tickets here.
(Image courtesy of CHIFF).

Polio cases skyrocket in Papua New Guinea

Polio cases skyrocket in Papua New Guinea
The Australian Department of Health is recommending Australian residents be up-to-date with their polio vaccination if planning to visit Papua New Guinea. It comes after 26 children were diagnosed with polio in Papua New Guinea in 2018, with the outbreak response still underway. Read more here.

What's in a name?

What's in a name?
Do you remember the school cleaner’s name? The Conversation explores the unexpected consequences of privatisation of school cleaning on both cleaners and children, notably, the relationships children form with adults, community and the environment. Read the article here.


WHO physical activity guidelines
World Health Organization (WHO) has issued Guidelines on physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep for children under five years of age. The guidelines make recommendations in movement and sleep practices, as well as time spent passively with screens or restrained in chairs, cars and prams. Read more here. Educators can find ECA’s Statement on using digital technologies with young children here.


A week to celebrate family day care
National Family Day Care Week will be held from Monday 6 May to Sunday 12 May. It recognises and promotes the important role family day care educators and services play in the development and wellbeing of more than 153 500 children in Australia. The celebrations precede International Day of Families on Wednesday 15 May and National Families Week (15–21 May).


Melbourne declaration

Melbourne declaration
Have your say in the Review of the Melbourne Declaration on Education Goals for Young Australians. In 2008 Australia’s state education ministers signed the Declaration, which is now in review to develop the next Declaration to shape the future of Australia’s education over the next decade. You can submit your feedback here until Friday 14 June.

International scoreboard

International scoreboard
Where does Australia rank on an international scale? The Grattan Institute recently released the Commonwealth Orange Book 2019, which found that Australia is leading in healthcare and retirement, but is behind on housing, electricity, pollution and trust in government. It includes recommendations to make teaching more prestigious and an international scorecard to set priorities for the next Commonwealth Government. Read more.


Reconciliation Week

‘Grounded in Truth: Walk Together with Courage’ is the theme of this year’s National Reconciliation Week (27 May–3 June). Reconciliation Australia is encouraging Australians to learn about shared histories, cultures and achievements, and reflect how everyone can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia. Get involved here, and explore resources for educators on Narragunnawali, including teacher features, webinars and curriculum resources.

Education spending

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released government spending on education in Australia from 2008-09 to 2017-18, showing an increase in school spending of $4.25 million since 2016-17, with 51.7 per cent of operating expenditure spent on school education. Read the full release here. Additional news from the ABS shows government revenue exceeded expenses by $9.8 million and no movement on CPI increases for the March 2019 quarter.

In state and territory news ...

Queensland will extend its foster and kinship allowance to support children and young people up to 19 years old from mid-2020; By 2021 before and after school care will be rolled out to all public primary schools in New South Wales, and from July 1 this year families can register interest in a before or after school care in their local area via Service NSW. Families in Victoria have access to Find My School, a new website that shows local school zones.

School enrolments have opened for the 2020 school year in the Australian Capital Territory and several organisations and schools in Canberra’s south have introduced Community Book Exchanges to promote reading. In New South Wales, Indigenous children are reading more through initiatives by the Indigenous Reading Project. In South Australia, Adelaide’s Lord Mayor is pushing for more childcare centres to open in the city’s Central Business District and three teachers from schools in New South Wales and Western Australia were awarded 2019 Principals Scholarships.

Available now-New Research in Practice Series title-Strengthening quality through critical reflection and action research
Early Childhood Australia Learning Hub

STEM and play
A new Community of Practice is starting—enrol now to secure your place. Explore STEM and STEAM in play-based contexts and become part of a vibrant community of learners sharing and learning together. Each session is facilitated by Dr Kate Highfield, ECA's Professional Learning and Research Translation General Manager. Enrol by 16 May 2019.

2019 Reconciliation Symposium

You could be lucky but you have to apply first! The deadline has been extended for travel scholarships to attend the 2019 ECA Reconciliation Symposium (10–11 May) in Melbourne. The scholarships (totalling $1880 each) pay for registration, travel and accommodation. Applications close 11.59 pm on Friday 3 May. Click here to apply or register to attend.

Be You Early Childhood

Educator Self-care
While you're putting your energy into creating a positive mental health environment for children and young people, it’s important to focus on your wellbeing. Your wellbeing can change over time, and encompasses the health of you as an individual—physical, mental, social and emotional. Explore the Be You Wellbeing Tools for You.

Early Learning campaign

National EC Election Forum
The forum will be held on Thursday 2 May and live streamed from The Wheeler Centre in Melbourne, 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm. This is your chance to hear directly from, Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education and Development, Amanda Rishworth, Liberal Senator James Paterson and Greens Early Childhood spokesperson, Senator Janet Rice. Register to attend in person or via Facebook Live stream.

ECA National Conference 2019

ECA National Conference
ECA is thrilled to welcome international experts Peter Moss, Gunilla Dahlberg to the ECA 2019 National Conference in Hobart (25–28 September). Each expert is committed to young children’s early development and offers deep insights and fresh perspectives. Take advantage of early bird rates to book your ECA national conference tickets now!

ECA Spoke

New posts
A new blog post on The Spoke from Dr Sue Elliott educating us on sustainability and the changes we can make to the environment in early childhood settings, see full blog here. Adam Duncan, preschool teacher and educational leader, shares his thoughts with ECA on how educators can achieve change towards reconciliation—Make it personal and meaningful.

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 306, May 2019.