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Early Childhood Australia WebWatch

The latest early childhood news!

Making news this fortnight … NAIDOC Week is being celebrated across the nation, see how children can get involved. NAPLAN is under review after 10 years and will eventually be online; immunisation rates have increased substantially due to the ‘no jab, no play’ policy; investing in programs to give disadvantaged children high-quality education and care creates impact; ACECQA announces an extension for transitional workforce provisions; a newly released webinar discusses how service organisations can support Indigenous children’s emotional wellbeing; and the Minister for Education announces three new research programs, with $399 000 going towards helping disadvantaged and Indigenous families access early childhood education. In international news, research from Canada shows smaller classes benefit children’s learning; and a UK study has found sibling bullying to be more profound in larger families. Finally, have your say—Future Tracks is seeking input from diploma-qualified educators, and the Digital Health Agency is seeking opinions and knowledge from the early childhood education and care sector with their short survey.

Jump down to see state and territory news and what the ECA teams have been up to and the new resources available for the early childhood sector.


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Strong support for immunisation

The ‘no jab, no play’ policy has made a significant impact, according to recent research into mandatory vaccinations, which found that 85 per cent of Australians support vaccination policies (as a prerequisite to accessing government-funded early childhood education services). Immunisation rates for Australian children have reached a record, with 95 per cent of five-year-olds vaccinated against deadly diseases, and an even higher figure of 97 per cent for Indigenous children. Convincing the anti-vaxxers may be easier than we think, with some experts suggesting that censoring anti-vax claims online will do little to help and that the best way to change views is through open and respectful conversations.

We celebrate NAIDOC Week as a nation, with the 2019 theme being: Voice. Treaty. Truth. Let’s work together for a shared future. Get children involved with some of the activities suggested on the NAIDOC website. The NAIDOC website also has excellent resources to support educators and teachers in addressing Indigenous culture and history. Visit the NAIDOC page for ideas if you are planning an event or resources here.

NAIDOC Week impact on tv

Changing life trajectories
Children who encounter extreme adversity in the early years are likely to suffer major developmental impairments that can lead to lower educational and workforce achievement, as well as lifelong health problems. It has long been established that targeted intervention programs, such as those implemented in the United States that directed high-quality care and education to disadvantaged children, can have big impacts. Read more.


NAPLAN review
Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria’s state governments are pooling resources and working together to determine the effectiveness of NAPLAN assessments and how the test can be improved outside of the Educational Council review. NAPLAN has not been reviewed in over 10 years, and will be transitioned to an electronic test. Read more.

Class size

Class size
Class size has always been a hotly debated subject, and new research out of Canada examines the differences in class sizes and children’s learning. Children in smaller classes had increased literacy skills, although no significant differences in vocabulary or mathematics were observed compared to peers in larger class sizes. Read more.


Have your say
Have you been thinking about making the jump to university? Future Tracks is seeking input from diploma-qualified educators on the barriers they face in becoming bachelor-qualified early childhood teachers. The survey is open until 14 July. Plus, the Digital Health Agency wants to know your thoughts about My Health Record.


Education research projects
Education Minister, Dan Tehan has announced three new research projects aimed at improving education outcomes. Around $900 000 will be spent on the three projects, $399 000 of which will go towards research into how disadvantaged and Indigenous families access early childhood education. Read more.


A number of transitional workforce provisions have been extended by education ministers in all states except Victoria. This is to address ongoing challenges faced by the early childhood sector in building a highly skilled workforce, particularly in rural and remote areas. Read more.

emotional wellbeing

Indigenous children’s emotional wellbeing
The Australian Institute of Family Studies has produced a webinar that explores how service organisations can work with Aboriginal communities to improve accessibility and deliver positive outcomes, particularly for infant and child mental health. Learn more.


Sibling bullying

Rough-housing, teasing and conflict are a normal part of growing up with a sibling, but according to a new UK study, 28 per cent of children reported being involved in sibling bullying—either as the bully or the victim. Bullying behaviours are most commonly found in families with older males (especially first-born), larger families and families under financial stress. Read more.

Early learning finalists

Reconciliation Australia announces the early learning and school finalists for the Narragunnawali Awards. These awards celebrate early learning services and schools that are striving for a just, equitable and reconciled Australia. The early learning finalists are recognised for the important work they do for their early childhood education and care (ECEC) colleagues, children and communities. Read more.

In state and territory news ...

The NSW Government announces that eligible families may now claim two $100 Active Kids vouchers; and have also recently released a guide to funding opportunities for NSW community groups, including some grants related to the early childhood education and care sector. Adelaide launches an Australia-first in intergenerational learning, with a school inside an aged care home. In Queensland, the Birthing in Our Community service program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families has almost halved the odds of pre-term birth since opening in 2013. In Tasmania, three early childhood educators are among 37 finalists for the Together We Inspire awards. New first-time mothers across Victoria will receive free ‘baby bundles’ from mid-July onwards. The peak body for Australia’s early childhood sector says it has become increasingly difficult to hire and retain early childcare staff in the ACT, as centres across the territory struggle with understaffing. Western Australia Education and Training Minister, Sue Ellery has announced a new day to recognise parents, grandparents and other school community members for supporting WA public schools. In the Northern Territory, 40 schools have welcomed NAIDOC Week with an opening ceremony, in what is to be a packed week of NAIDOC celebrations.

Ethics in Action Guide

Early Childhood Australia Publications

ECA’s four core publications are available as subscription packages for those working, studying or interested in the early childhood sector: Research in Practice Series; Everyday Learning Series; Every Child magazine; and Australasian Journal of Early Childhood. Click here to subscribe today!

ECA Spoke

Sharing ideas
Karen Hope shares some key discussion points on rethinking ways to document learning and development for educators and children. Katey De Gioia allows us to think about ‘Shifting perspectives: Our role in partnerships with families’. Click here to read our NAIDOC Week blog and more.

Be You Early Childhood

Register now!
As places are limited, secure your registration now! The 2019 ECA National Conference will present you with new possibilities, new knowledge and new skill areas. Set in beautiful Hobart, this four-day conference will explore current and emerging practice to enhance young children’s experiences. Book now.

Early Learning campaign

Early Learning Matters Week
What are you planning for Early Learning Matters Week, 1–6 September? Get inspiration here to showcase quality early learning in action. Register now to be considered for a local politician to visit your service or program. We aim to invite every federal MP and senator to visit a local service or program in the first week of September.

ECA National Conference 2019

Free webinar
Infant and toddler wellbeing is a foundation for lifelong mental health. This webinar will explore how early years experiences and quality early childhood practice can contribute to growing a mentally healthy generation. Join Be You Consultants to learn more about educators developing relationships and environments that promote positive mental health. Book here.

ECA Conference 2019

Online learning
The ECA Learning Hub offers quality-assured, self-directed and accredited professional learning courses for educators, teachers and other professionals working with young children (birth to eight years). The latest catalogue, Exploring Online Professional Learning: A guide to quality-assured short courses by ECA, lists all the modules and learning topics available.

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


Become an ECA Member today: Learn more

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ECA WebWatch—Issue 311, July 2019.