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Early Childhood Australia WebWatch

The latest early childhood news!

In this issue: In the final few days before the Federal Election, Early Childhood Australia (ECA) explores why political commitment to investing in the early years matters, and provides an overview on various party policies; ahead of the Election, social justice and community organisations have come together in support of stronger action for tackling climate change. Around the country, ACECQA’s latest report shows sustained improvement in quality early learning nationally; Alannah and Madeline Foundation will implement a new initiative that aims to provide young children with the skills needed to effectively navigate the digital environment; National Reconciliation Week will be celebrated from 27 May to 3 June; and nominations are open for this year’s HESTA Awards, which will be presented in conjunction with the 2019 ECA National Conference in Hobart. Internationally, Canada is introducing a new early education program to lift poverty statistics in Nova Scotia; a study based in Vanuatu has found that children’s communication development is similar internationally; Spain’s research on the impact of paternity leave has found that fathers involved in early care stay engaged in child care; and a recent article examines how teaching phonics earlier could support better literacy skills. 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.

Late breaking news...

The Family Matters National Week of Action (20–26 May) is fast approaching: join the campaign to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people grow up safe, and are cared for in family, community and culture—get involved here; in Victoria, due to an online NAPLAN assessments glitch, a number of schools have opted to return to pen and paper; Beyond Blue has reported that parents are reluctant to talk about their wellbeing, and instead seek information and support online, asking questions; finally, it’s National Families Week (15–21 May) and the Australian Institute of Family Studies has released four fact sheets that examine trends in modern Australian families.


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Early learning benefits from Election focus

A new webinar from ARACY, featuring ECA CEO Samantha Page, explores why increasing community understanding and political commitment to investing in the early years matters, and what we know about giving every Australian child access to quality early learning. Watch the recorded webinar here. Alternatively, read the policy positions of the major parties against seven election priorities, including responses to the Early Learning: Everyone Benefits campaign’s Candidate Survey, and insights from the National Early Childhood Election Forum. ECA CEO Samantha Page also breaks down party policies and promises on the podcast, Feed Play Love.
Reconciliation Week

Reconciliation Week
Reconciliation Week (27 May to 3 June) is a time to learn about Australia’s shared histories and cultures, and explore how each of us can contribute to reconciliation—get involved here. Eat, share and yarn with traditional recipes you can make with children, hold a TED screening as professional development or participate in events in your community. The recently concluded ECA Reconciliation Symposium discussed ways to develop an ECEC Reconciliation Action Plan—a framework that can help you cement your commitment to reconciliation. Learn more about it here.

The value of learning

The value of learning
Based on the understanding that investments in early childhood are necessary to address the inequities faced by certain communities, the Canadian government is introducing a no-fee early childhood education program in Nova Scotia to tackle high rates of child poverty. The newly launched Early Learning Curriculum Framework highlights children as capable, confident and curious. The program is expected to be implemented later this year. Read more about it here

Baby talk

Baby talk
A recent study based in Vanuatu has found that babies communicate in similar ways despite their geographical location or cultural and social upbringing. These findings from Simon Fraser University come after the 2017 report on ‘sampling bias’—the idea that 95 per cent of developmental science is based on 5 per cent of the world’s population: particularly, western, educated, industrialised, rich and democratic populations. Read more about these studies here.

Social Sector Climate Statement

Social Sector Climate Change Statement
ACOSS is calling on all parties and candidates at the upcoming Federal Election to support stronger action against climate change with a Social Sector Climate Change Statement. ECA supports the statement, with CEO Samantha Page noting: ‘It is time for political leaders to look beyond the short-term election cycle and make decisions in the interests of future generations’. Read the statement here.


New tool for navigating online environment
Australian school students will soon benefit from an innovative new tool, funded by Google Australia and delivered by the Alannah and Madeline Foundation. The new literacy tool, which will teach students to critically analyse and navigate the online environment, will be rolled out to school students aged 8–16 from early 2020.


Australia's ECEC quality
has improved
ACECQA’s 25th NQF Snapshot shows sustained improvement in quality early learning nationally, with 79 per cent of services being rated as ‘Meeting the National Quality Standard’, compared to 56 per cent in 2013. Read the summary here. For information on attending a consultation session for the National Quality Framework review, click here.



Nominations are still open for the 2019 HESTA Early Childhood Education and Care Awards. Don’t miss out the opportunity to nominate an exemplary early childhood professional by Sunday 30 June 2019! With a prize pool of over $30 000, the winners will be announced at an awards dinner in conjunction with ECA’s National Conference in Hobart.

Impact of paternity leave

A new study of the Spanish paternity leave scheme shows that men who took leave following their child’s birth stayed engaged in caring for their children, and were less likely to have more children. Researchers speculate greater understanding of the role shifts fathers’ preferences from child quantity to quality. Mothers, however, became more likely to want more children, citing feeling better supported. Read more about the study here.

Learning to read

A new article on literacy approaches suggests that teaching about the connections between letters and sounds, known as phonics, can help children develop reading proficiency earlier. Phonics is one approach to teaching literacy in the early years. Read the full article here.

In state and territory news ...

In Victoria, children are learning French as a part of the state government’s new early childhood language program; with National Reconciliation Week approaching, Australian Capital Territory will be marking Reconciliation Day as a public holiday, with a wealth of events scheduled. In Queensland, the premier has launched the Queensland Reading Challenge; in the Northern Territory, distance educator Marcia Harvey has received the Presidential Citation for Outstanding Service to the Australasian Association of Distance Education Schools; in Victoria, work has begun on building a new kinder hub in Morwell, which is expected to be operational by 2020; Western Australian educators from the Pilbara region are invited to attend the 2019 Pilbara Early Childhood Education and Care Conference on Saturday 18 May; educators in South Australia can have their say on the 2019 NQF Review consultations through sessions across the state; and in Tasmania, educators and families in the Huon Valley are invited to a community morning tea to celebrate early learning.
Available now-New Research in Practice Series title-Strengthening quality through critical reflection and action research
Early Learning: Everyone Benefits

Policy promises for the sector
How you vote in this Election matters for the future of early childhood education. You can assess and compare the three major parties’ policies in ECA's #Election2019 Policy Guide. Read our detailed analysis here. See how you can get active and share vital information in these final days before the Election.

ECA Spoke

The Voice
New from The Spoke: ‘The image of the child re-imagined on Instagram’,  an insight into children’s digital footprint, and recommendations for educators and families when it comes to children and social media. And a summary from ECA, analysing how well the three major political parties have addressed our seven key election priorities.

Be You Early Childhood

Share and extend
The share and extend in practice check-in events provide opportunity for Action Teams to discuss ways of facilitating educator group sessions that support embedding the Be You Professional Learning and resources into practice. Bring along your plans and questions to discuss with a Be You Consultant and other educators. Book today!

ECA Learning Hub

Managing challenging exchanges   
As a professional working with young children and their families, you will come across challenges and conflicts in your role. The ECA Learning Hub module, Managing challenging exchanges: Responding professionally, provides strategies to minimise conflict and address challenging exchanges. Learn more about it here.

ECA Publications

Reflections on reconciliation
Following the ECA Reconciliation Symposium held in Melbourne last week, here is an interesting article by service director Rachael Phillips—My reflections on reconciliation—that may help you take the first step towards your reconciliation journey. Like this article? Consider becoming an ECA Member to receive Every Child magazine.

ECA Conference 2019

Join us in Hobart
A curated professional learning experience awaits you at the 2019 ECA National Conference. As places are limited, secure your spot now with early bird registration on member and non-member rates. Set in beautiful Hobart, this four-day conference will explore current and emerging practice to enhance young children’s experiences. Early bird offer ends on 30 June 2019. Book 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 307, May 2019.