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Early Childhood Australia WebWatch

The latest early childhood news!

Making news this fortnight … One-third of Australian preschools may lack qualified teachers by 2023; the World Health Organization (WHO) is seeking a ban on added sugars in commercial foods for children; some families may be in for a tax surprise as the federal government checks accuracy of parents’ reported income for the childcare subsidy; rural education is at risk as the ongoing drought affects early learning settings and schools; and a recent report suggests the economy receives $2 back for every dollar invested in quality preschool education. Research from Price Waterhouse Cooper (PwC) finds early childhood education plays a vital role in children’s short- and long-term development; new research suggests picking up on suspected autism in children at 12 months of age has language benefits; baby equipment brands are under safety review in Australia after infant fatalities in the USA. Internationally, parents in Germany who fail to vaccinate children before early education and school could face a hefty fine; and a USA-based education innovator discusses bringing early learning to children in disadvantaged areas. Have your say on the future of STEM education with this online focus group. Lastly, catch up on state and territory news and jump down to find the latest from ECA teams.

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Have your say

Sugar in baby food
High sugar content in commercial baby food may be a threat to first teeth and affect food preferences in adulthood. The World Health Organization (WHO) is seeking a ban on added sugars in foods for children under three years of age. Read more.

NAIDOC Week impact on tv

Mandatory vaccinations
Parents in Germany who fail to vaccinate their children before enrolling them in early childhood education and school could face a $4000 (AUD) fine. If the proposed bill is approved, all children will be required to receive a measles injection. Read more.

Early learning investment

Family tax surprise?
Families filing tax returns may be hit with a surprise debt. The federal government began reviewing parents’ incomes to check they received the correct amount of childcare subsidy. It is anticipated about a third of the 1.1 million families who receive the childcare subsidy have been overpaid for the previous financial year. Read more.

Stress and self-regulation

 Autism treatment research
New research suggests early intervention for suspected autism at 12 months of age can boost language abilities. While autism is often not diagnosed until at least two years of age, the theory is that if responses are made early enough the trajectory of autism can be aletered. Read more.


Research truths
A recent report showed quality preschool would deliver a two-for-one return on investment for Australia. However, a chain of events needs to be in place before the economy gets a return. Read more.


Educator shortfall
Currently, half of all early childhood teachers in Australia have a bachelor degree. However, new modelling from the University of Melbourne shows that one-third of preschools may lack a qualified teacher by 2023. Read more.

Literacy and numeracy

Millions of children across the United States don’t have access to early learning programs that prepare them for kindergarten and beyond. The UPSTART Project plans to bring early learning into the homes of children in disadvantaged communities, at no cost to families. Education innovator Claudia Miner shares how UPSTART is setting four-year-olds up for success. Listen to her TED Talk here.

Transition to school

Drought affecting early learning 
Parents of children enrolled in rural Queensland and New South Wales early learning settings and schools say the ongoing drought is putting the future of rural education at risk. Early learning settings and schools in drought-affected areas are beginning to struggle financially, and parents are worried that if closures occur, they won’t be able to re-open. Read more.


Long term benefits of early learning

A study undertaken by Price Waterhouse Cooper (PwC), has found early childhood education plays a vital role in short-term and long term-development for children. This research confirmed children who attend one year of early childhood education are more likely to achieve better NAPLAN results in Year 3 than those who don’t attend early childhood education. Read more.

Have your say on the future of STEM education!

Are you interested in sharing your views and experiences in an online focus group on STEM education programs? You are invited to be a part of the evaluation (even if you haven’t completed these programs) of government-funded STEM education programs (including Little Scientists, ELSA and Let’s Count). The evaluation process is being managed by dandolopartners, and participants will be informed of future policies and funding decisions. Learn more.

Baby equipment review

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has commenced a thorough safety review on baby bouncers, rockers and inclined sleep products. The review was prompted by a United States Consumer Product Safety Commission report showing that at least 74 infant fatalities in the United States were caused by bouncers, rockers and recliners—some of which are available on the Australian market. Read more. 

In state and territory news ...

In Victoria, the Ballarat Foundation is raising awareness and support for early childhood development with their inaugural ‘Run for a Cause’. And Victorian families located in Drouin will soon have access to more kinder places, with work set to begin on a facility upgrade at Drouin Primary School Early Learning Centre. On the south coast of NSW, families with babies aged under six months will benefit from ‘Embracing Babies’—a new support network facilitated by experienced early childhood professionals. An early childhood education centre located in Woden, ACT, is taking on a developer giant over a $132 million project which will affect privacy, parking and traffic conditions for the centre. In Western Australia, $1.75 million is being invested in facilities for a new Child Parent Centre to provide essential health and wellbeing services in Ellenbrook. The Queensland state government has assigned $293.1 million to early childhood education this 2019–20 budget. And a review is being conducted for the Department of Education to advance Queensland’s world class early childhood education system and ensure all children have a great start.

Available now-New Research in Practice Series title-Strengthening quality through critical reflection and action research

Early Childhood Australia Learning Hub

NESA-endorsed PD with ECA
Did you know ECA is endorsed to provide NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA)-registered professional development (PD) for teachers accredited at Proficient and Highly Accomplished Teacher? To explore all NESA-endorsed PD available on the ECA Learning Hub, click here.

ECA Spoke

Professional love
Be You shares the importance of baby and toddler mental health in the early years and how it has lifelong impacts. Researchers Liz Rouse and Fay Hadley discuss the hotly-debated topic of ‘Professional love’, as part of a series on love and care in early childhood education and care settings.

Be You Early Childhood

Join us virtually
If you cannot be in Hobart for the 2019 ECA National Conference you can still join us online. We are thrilled to announce that ECA is offering virtual access via live-streaming. With our virtual delegate pass, you can view live-streamed keynote and workshop sessions and enjoy special access to our digital exhibition hall. Click here to find out more.

Early Learning campaign

Share how children learn
Share your great early learning activities and provocations–to promote Early Learning Matters Week. Take a photo (that does not identify any children) and email OR post it on Facebook with the hashtag #EarlyLearningMatters and tag Early Learning Everyone Benefits. Read more here.

ECA National Conference 2019

Children’s resilience
One in 14 children and young people experience anxiety. Supportive adults are a protective factor. Use the Be You Anxiety Fact Sheet for ideas about how you can help to build children’s resilience and coping skills. Click here for the fact sheet or explore our Learning Resilience domain.

ECA Conference 2019

ECA Events–save the date!
2020 AJEC Research Symposium will be held on 13–14 February 2020, at Macquarie University, Sydney NSW.

Merimbula Ethics in Action Workshop: This half-day workshop will be held on Thursday 24 October in Merimbula, NSW. Costs start from $148.50 per person. Click here to register.

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 312, July 2019.