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Early Childhood Australia WebWatch

The latest early childhood news!

Making news this fortnight … Sonic Boom, the Little Scientists educator conference is coming up on 21–22 August just after National Science Week; research finds most Australian parents support the ‘No Jab, No Pay’ policy; figures on the impacts of the government’s Child Care Subsidy (CCS) reforms spark intense commentary with HILDA survey results showing an increase in child care costs and ‘work-family conflict’, while the Australian Institute of Family Studies assesses implementation of the Child Care Package. UNICEF calls for better policies to support breastfeeding in Australia, while research in the Pacific Islands shows millions of children face extreme discipline; the government reviews families’ incomes for CCS and tax purposes; the Kids Helpline reports that 10 per cent of calls from children aged five to 12 years in 2018 were suicide-related; an Australian author sparks debate about parenting behaviour, overprotectiveness and children’s development; timely evidence-based advice from the Child Health Poll on protecting children from colds and  Family Day Care Australia (FDCA) releases a comprehensive profile of Australia’s family day care workforce. Finally, August is a great month to celebrate learning with International Day of Indigenous Peoples, National Science Week and Book Week all coming up. Lastly, catch up on state and territory news and jump down to find the latest from ECA teams.

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Sonic Boom

Little Scientists educator conference
Sonic Boom, the Little Scientists educator conference, 21–22 August 2019, will discuss all things STEM and early childhood learning. Keynote speaker and STEM Ambassador Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith will highlight the importance of starting STEM early in a child’s life. Also speaking (and singing) is well-known actor and musician Justine Clarke. Professional development workshops on day two will help educators implement STEM and inquiry-based practices in their centre. Attending each day will contribute to 5-plus hours of NESA- and TQI-registered PD.

Family-friendly policies for breastfeeding

Family-friendly policies for breastfeeding
The benefits of breastfeeding for children and mothers are well known and include healthy brain development in babies and young children and protection against infection and disease, yet policies to support breastfeeding are not available to most mothers worldwide. A recent UNICEF Australia report, Building Better Business for Children, recommends expanding policies such as governments and businesses striving for nine months paid parental leave and breastfeeding breaks in Australia. Read more.

Parents support ‘No Jab, No Pay’ policy

Parents support ‘No Jab, No Pay’ policy 
Research by the Kirby Institute of the University of New South Wales shows that four in five parents support the Australian Government’s controversial ‘No Jab, No Pay’ vaccination policy. It also reveals that low-income families who may be negatively impacted by the policy were more likely to change their view and support vaccination. Read more.

Pacific children face extreme discipline

Pacific children face extreme discipline
According to research undertaken by organisations working in the Pacific Islands, nearly 70 per cent of children surveyed report that they feel scared in their communities, and suffer physical pain resulting from extreme discipline and violence. Aid groups are urging Australia to invest more in programs to protect these children from violence. Read more.


Child self-harm
The Kids Helpline recently provided statistics on child suicide, saying that in 2018, 10 per cent of calls from children aged five to 12 were suicide-related. The data suggests a number of factors lie behind this disturbing trend, including distress connected to family and school, challenges with peers and underlying mental health difficulties. Read more.


What prevents colds?
‘Frequent handwashing is the most effective way to prevent catching a cold,’ says Dr Anthea Rhodes. The latest Child Health Poll Report, Preventing colds: Knowing what works, outlines tips and strategies for families, educators and health workers that help limit the spread of infection. Find the report, summary tips and video here.

Today’s family day care educator

Today’s family day care educator
More than half (55 per cent) of today’s family day care (FDC) educators have a diploma or higher qualification, 45 per cent have worked previously in another type of early childhood setting and an increasing number of FDC educators rent their home, according to new industry research released by the national peak body FDCA. Read more.

Secret powers: August dates to celebrate

Secret powers: August dates to celebrate
August offers excellent opportunities to involve young children and educators in rich learning experiences. Friday 9 August is International Day of Indigenous Peoples, and the following week, 10–18 August, is National Science Week —visit for ideas on how to get involved. And get ready for CBCA Book Week later this month, 17–23 August. The 2019 theme is ‘Reading is my secret power’. 


Different stories on the cost of child care

A complex picture of child care costs has emerged since the Federal Government’s Child Care Subsidy (CCS) reforms were introduced last year. The Minister for Education, Dan Tehan, has welcomed an Australian Bureau of Statistics report showing that out-of-pocket child care costs for families are down 7.9 per cent. Yet the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey indicates dramatic increases in child care costs since 2002, particularly for some groups, and calls for government action. A region-by-region profile released by the Australian Institute of Families Studies (AIFS) provides comparisons of child care costs across regions and within the same region. If you want to understand more about what is happening with costs in early childhood, read ECA’s brief opinion piece here.

Parenting damage or parent-blaming?

Media controversy about an epidemic of ‘damaging’ parenting that is failing today’s children brought counter perspectives from AIFS and constructive strategies from one psychologist to share with families about giving young children space and the chance to learn from failure.

Child Care Subsidy balancing

On Monday 29 July, the Federal Government began CCS balancing, also known as ‘income review’ or ‘reconciliation’. CCS balancing compares family income estimates with the actual adjusted taxable income to ensure families receive the correct amount of their CCS entitlement. Read more.

In state and territory news ...

The Northern Territory Government is set to improve children’s hearing as the Community Hearing Worker program expands to a Families as First Teachers site in Palmerston. In NSW the Premier launches 2019 Education Week with the theme Every Student, Every Voice, and the NSW Minister for Health launches free dental checks for 136,000 primary school children over the next four years. The Queensland Government has put a $32 million program in place to cover apprenticeship training costs, including early childhood education. In Western Australia, the Broome-based program, Feed the Little Children, provides 700 meals per week to children in vulnerable situations. Lastly, the ACT Government announces the first phase of the implementation for the Future of Education Strategy over the next decade.

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

Early Childhood Australia Learning Hub

New Release
STEM inquiry: Co-constructed environments for curious minds invites early childhood educators and teachers to engage in inquiry-based, child-led STEM practices, this module discusses common notions of STEM and unfolds what STEM looks like in the early years. Read more.

ECA Spoke

New blogs
Explore Indigenous ways of knowing and being with a new blog on The Spoke for National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day (Sunday 4 August) and find a male perspective on working in early childhood education and care.

Everyone benefits

Your week
#EarlyLearningMattersWeek (1–6 September) is your week as well as your opportunity to showcase the benefits of quality early learning to politicians in person, and to everyone via social media. What will you do with it? You can get inspiration here to showcase quality early learning in action.
Get involved here.

Early Learning campaign

Be part of it
Join us at the 2019 ECA National Conference as a virtual delegate—purchase your virtual delegate pass today from $394. The virtual program is now live and you can view it here.
Save the date: The 2020 AJEC Research Symposium will be held on 13–14 February 2020 at Macquarie University, Sydney NSW.

Be You Early Childhood

Educator wellbeing tools
Paying attention to your mental health and wellbeing ensures you’re better able to support the children and young people in your learning community. Wellbeing Tools for You outlines a range of online tools and resources designed to support your mental health and your team’s. Explore the tools here.

ECA Conference 2019

Supporting parent wellbeing
The wellbeing of parents and carers, helps strengthen foundations for children’s health, happiness and social functioning. Everyday Learning Series (EDL) ‘Supporting the wellbeing of parents and carers', provides strategies to build these relationships. Purchase your copy or subscribe today.

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 313, August 2019.