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Early Childhood Australia WebWatch

The latest early childhood news!

Making news this fortnight… A new children’s mental health strategy launches, over 75 early childhood educators gain grants under the Community Child Care Fund (CCCF), Alison Lester wins the CBCA Book of the Year, and more schools are pushing for play-based learning over assessment in the early years. Discussions spark following a national study on babies and screen time, and in the USA, universal childcare debates focus on women’s traditional roles in the home. Women in the education and care sector are encouraged to apply for leadership scholarships, and a new mental health toolkit provides information on using My Health Record. A push to teach young children philosophy, and children make their voice heard at the recent Garma Festival. ECA seeks writers and if you’re joining us at the 2019 ECA National Conference, discover the treasures of Hobart. Lastly, catch up on state and territory news and jump down to find the latest from ECA teams.

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You can manage important health information for yourself and your child securely in one place. Healthcare providers will be able to upload health information as it happens. This means important information such as allergies, tests and immunisations, is available where and when its needed, including in an emergency.

Grants awarded

Grants awarded
Congratulations to 75 early childhood education providers who have been awarded grants under the federally funded Community Child Care Fund (CCCF). Grants of up to $200 000 each will improve access for families to early education and care in disadvantaged areas. A further $207 million will ensure the operation of 157 early education and care providers in remote and indigenous communities over five years. Read more.

Universal childcare

Universal childcare
Discussion over the need for universal childcare in the USA has sparked further debate on women in the workforce. Research shows that 72 per cent of US women in the workplace have children, and 40 per cent are classified as their family’s ‘breadwinner’, yet debate about women’s traditional roles continues. In Australia, famous mothers examine where they think the childcare system is broken. Click here to view.

Parents support ‘No Jab, No Pay’ policy

School tests spotlight
Teachers in Western Australia are pushing for play-based models of learning to replace formalised testing and assessment of children under eight. The move comes after reports that the curriculum expectations were too great for young children and that they were missing out on the opportunity to discover, create, interact, and gain confidence. Learn more.

Mental health toolkit

Mental health toolkit
The new My Health Record Mental Health toolkit launched by the Australian Digital Health Agency aims to equip mental healthcare providers and their patients to make informed decisions about using My Health Record. The toolkit addresses how to use the system and manage patient information securely, sensitively and privately. Read more.


Philosophise this
Is it okay to tell a lie if someone might be hurt by the truth? Questions like this will be posed to children in early childhood services and primary schools as a part of a new initiative to foster philosophical thinking in children. Research suggests engaging in philosophical thinking increases capacity for critical thinking and analysis about the world. Read more.


CBCA Book of the Year
Alison Lester wins the 2019 Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book of the Year: Early Childhood Award for Tricky’s Bad Day. Alison Lester is one of Australia’s most beloved children’s authors, with a career spanning 40 years. Congratulations Alison! The CBCA Book of the Year awards kick off CBCA Book Week, from 17–23 August 2019. Learn more.

tech reality check

Tech reality check
Families ignore Federal Health movement guidelines on babies and screen time, according to a national study, although some experts called for more practical advice. Focusing on content and quality rather than time can be more useful according to Dr Joanne Orlando, an early childhood digital expert. Listen to the interview here or find ECA’s educator guidelines here.

Leadership scholarships

Leadership scholarships
Women & Leadership Australia is inviting women in the education sector to apply for scholarships worth up to $7000 to undertake one of its accredited leadership development programs. Applications for the scholarships close at 5 pm, Friday 20 September. Find more details and information on how to apply here.


Children’s mental health strategy

A new children’s mental health strategy will aim to prevent mental illness and suicides among young people. Professor Frank Oberklaid and Professor Christel Middeldorp will co-chair the expert group developing the strategy. Health Minister Greg Hunt described the strategy as a ‘single, simple, unified system’. Listen to the full interview here. Be You is part of transforming Australia’s approach to children’s mental health and offers educators the chance to join Be You Early Years Learning Communities. Jump down to learn more about these communities of practice or follow Be You on Facebook for updates.

Imagination, voice and a dream

Children at the recent Garma Festival drafted the Imagination Declaration, challenging the Prime Minister and education ministers to involve young voices in policy, particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices. Read more in The Conversation. Also, this week is the launch of the documentary, The Australian Dream, which examines the racism experienced by former AFL star and 2014 Australian of the Year, Adam Goodes.

Hobart treasures

Joining us for the 2019 ECA National Conference? Make space in your itinerary for some brilliant sidelights: Tasmania Museum and Art Gallery exhibition ‘Making Marks’ features the work of very young children, a forum by the Early Childhood Education for Sustainability Alliance and Hobart’s Salamanca Markets. Check the soon-to-be-launched 2019 ECA National Conference app for special offers and things to do.

Write for ECA!

ECA is seeking authors for the upcoming titles of its Research in Practice Series and Everyday Learning Series. The call for Expressions of Interest and information on each of the topics is available on the ECA website. Submissions for the topics of both series close Sunday 15 September 2019. Don't miss out!

In state and territory news ...

Thirty new scholarships are available in 2020 for ACT-based education professionals to complete the Masters of Education at the University of Canberra, and a new exhibition on Australian children’s literature opens at the National Library of Australia. In New South Wales, the spotlight is on Anzac Park Public School where personalised learning advocates for children’s voices and supports them to articulate their learning goals. Celebrate book week at Tasmania’s local libraries with 30-minute sessions for babies, toddlers, preschoolers and their caregivers. Early childhood education and care is among one of 139 potential future skill shortages identified by the Queensland Government following the launch of a free apprenticeship scheme for Queenslanders under 21. In Victoria, enrolments for three-year-old kindergarten are now open, and recent legislation will require all religious and spiritual leaders to report child abuse to authorities, even if disclosed during religious confession. A new three-year strategy in the Northern Territory aims to enhance technology use in schools and reduce the digital divide between the NT’s remote and urban students. In Western Australia, primary school teachers join national pressure to implement play-based learning during the early years of schooling. Finally, the South Australian government has released a state-wide Bullying Prevention Strategy, focusing on strengthening responses to children’s bullying, both inside and outside the school gates.

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

Early Childhood Australia Learning Hub

OSHC Learning
Register now for the free Outside School Hours Care Quality Development Program (OSHC QDP), featuring online professional learning on developing and maintaining a Quality Improvement Plan, environmental sustainability, active supervision and planning in OSHC. This professional learning aims to build the knowledge of educators in OSHC services in NSW. Learn more.

ECA Spoke

Debating love
Read The Spoke’s series on love and the early childhood profession with the latest blog by Lisa Bryant and earlier posts by Fay Hadley, Liz Rouse and Karen Hope. Plus sift through the stories on child care costs and read an Antarctic angle on leadership by ECA Conference keynote speaker, Rachael Robertson. Read The Spoke here.

Everyone benefits

Final call
If you’d like to invite a federal or state politician to visit your early childhood service during Early Learning Matters Week (1–6 September), act now: registrations close this Friday 23 August! Everyone can get involved in Early Learning Matters Week by posting photos and comments on social media with the hashtag #EarlyLearningMatters—find out how here.

Early Learning campaign

Still time
Missed the boat? You can still make it to the 2019 ECA National Conference—virtually. View the virtual program here and buy your virtual delegate pass today from $394. Participate in the Q&A panel discussions in real time, network with colleagues and revisit the ideas later with your library copy recording.

Be You Early Childhood

Learning communities
Would you like to join a community of practice? Be You Early Years Learning Communities are for you. You can explore Be You in nature, Self-care on Country, Educator wellbeing or Be You in family day care. Click on a community for details and follow us on Facebook for updates.

ECA Conference 2019

Be provoked
ECA’s popular resource the Box of Provocations is back in stock! This collection of provocation cards is designed to help you and your team critically reflect on your teaching, learning and professional practice. The resource is suitable for educators at all levels of formal qualification and experience. Order yours today!

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 314, August 2019.