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Early Childhood Australia WebWatch

Making news this fortnight …

Find out ways to get involved in Children’s Week; research suggests talking to newborns has long-term positive impacts; another study explores social and transition benefits for children who engage with music in their early years; the federal government may soon provide HELP debt relief as an incentive for teacher graduates who work a minimum time in very remote education settings; Sport Australia launches a statement on physical literacy; an Indigenous mother’s group translates children’s books into Kriol to help children learn both languages; early detection of hearing impairment in young children can help with learning difficulties; Professor Lester-Irabinna Rigney shares a free resource on Australian culturally responsive pedagogy; and The Hon Dan Tehan sets out the future of education funding, including a new evidence-based education institute and the role of phonics; early childhood tech expert says that while families are often anxious about children using digital technology, careful use can enhance children’s development; and Family Day Care Australia announces award winners. Are you interested in being part of an early childhood sector research network with colleagues across Australia? Have your say by completing the survey. Finally, read SNAICC’s Family Matters 2019 report, launched today.

Find the latest in state/territory news and jump down to read what ECA teams have been doing.


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The CCSA Rural and Remote Forum is returning to Dubbo in 2020. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to focus on the special circumstances facing early childhood education and care providers in rural and remote areas. Hear from government, sector experts, researchers and inspiring keynote speakers, and share challenges and solutions with others working in similar isolated locations. Go back to your community inspired to champion for access to quality early education and care for all children, wherever they live.

childrens week

Children’s Week
This Saturday marks the start of Children’s Week Australia (19–27 October), a time for national celebration of children’s rights, talents and citizenship. There are so many ways to mark this week. To find out what’s happening in your state or territory click here. Anti-poverty Week and National Nutrition Week end on Saturday 19 October.


Communication is key
New research finds that talking to babies from when they are newborns positively affects their communication and vocabulary. Analysis of the data suggested that families in higher income areas conversed more with their newborns, resulting in a possible 30-million-word gap by the time children were four years of age for children of families in low socioeconomic areas. Read more here.

physically literate

A physically literate Australia
‘Physical literacy is far bigger than just teaching our children how to play sport,’ says Sport Australia (SA) CEO, Kate Palmer, launching SA’s Position Statement on Physical Literacy this week. ‘Quality of life for this generation and for future generations depends on reducing inactivity, increasing everyday activity and developing skills for life.’ Read more here.

remote education

Incentive for remote education
The federal government wants to waive up to five years’ of HELP debt for teacher graduates—including early childhood graduates—who work for at least four years in very remote education settings. If passed, the legislation could benefit more than 3,500 educators in very remote settings annually, Minister Dan Tehan said. Read more here.

Jamming with toddlers

Jamming with toddlers
An Australian study reveals that children who are exposed to music as babies demonstrate stronger results in pro-social skills, literacy and numeracy and overall better readiness for school by age five, and that music could even benefit their development more than shared reading. Read more here.

Bilingual story time

Bilingual story time
A parent group is translating children’s books into local language with the support of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation and Ngukurr Language Centre. Teachers say family involvement in reading circles benefits both children and families. Read more here.

Hearing loss in young children

Hearing loss in young children
While there has been improvement in the early detection of hearing loss in newborn babies and in providing early access to hearing aids and cochlear implants, there is still a gap. Research shows hearing-impaired children have poorer learning outcomes, but early detection can help prevent learning barriers. Read more here

 Free resource

Free resource
Download a free resource from Professor Lester-Irabinna Rigney—2019 ECA National Conference Keynote presenter—and explore his ideas on a culturally responsive pedagogy for Australia. Click here to find the resource.

institute for education

‘Evidence’ institute for education
A new national institute to build a strong evidence base and improve learning outcomes will include early childhood education settings as well as schools. This and other initiatives were outlined last week by The Hon Dan Tehan, in a speech on future education funding. Read more here. And find Minister Tehan’s phonics initiative here.


Misplaced tech guilt

Early childhood tech expert Dr Kate Highfield says parents often feel guilty about digital technology, yet careful use can enhance children’s learning, communication and creativity. Read the article here and learn constructive approaches to use technology in the early years with ECA’s Statement and Summary Practice Guides.

2019 Excellence Family Day Care awards

Congratulations to winners of the 2019 Excellence in Family Day Care (FDC) Awards. ECA is proud to recognise excellence in the family day care sector through gold sponsorship of the 2019 Awards. You can see this year’s national winners here.

National research network

Do you want to be part of a network of early childhood professionals? The Melbourne Graduate School of Education is establishing a network where members can identify research priorities and opt in to projects that contribute to better learning experiences for young children and better policies. Learn more and complete a survey here.

Family Matters, children’s rights

As SNAICC launches the 2019 Family Matters Report, detailing an escalating crisis of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in child protection and a trend to permanent removals, the United Nations urged Australian governments to stop the removal of Indigenous children from families and communities. Find the UN report here and the Family Matters Report 2019 here.

In state and territory news ...

WA’s Dr Sandra Hesterman asks whether push-down curriculum and the demise of play-based learning in the early years are among reasons families choose home-schooling. Also in WA, debate emerges on assessing a child’s readiness for school with different perspectives provided by principals, educational authorities, commentators and academics.

In Victoria, the Andrews Labor Government is giving teachers and school leaders extra resources, training and incentives through a $244.6 million package to improve the quality of teaching and learning in every classroom across the state.

In the Northern Territory, the City of Darwin Children’s Artwork Exhibition opens on Saturday 19 October and Playgroup South Australia’s annual membership event, Playgroup at the Zoo, takes place on Friday 1 November at Adelaide Zoo. In Queensland the Children’s Week Association of Queensland has developed the Neat Eats initiative to provide free resources on children’s food and nutrition, while in the ACT, you can celebrate Children’s Week by attending the Children’s Festival event, for a day of activities hosted by Marymead.

Applications for the 2020 New South Wales (NSW) Women’s Week Grants close on Wednesday 6 November. Not-for-profit community organisations and local councils can apply for funding to hold events and activities that celebrate women during NSW Women’s Week 2020. A program launched by teachers in NSW encourages children to spend time outdoors, meditate and be more mindful to reduce anxiety and relax.

Supporting the wellbeing of parents and carers

Early Childhood Australia Learning Hub

Discover new resources
Browse all-new professional online learning in the latest ECA Learning Hub Exploring Online Professional Learning guide. And if you’re based in NSW, you can register for free online professional learning to support children experiencing trauma. Developed by ECA and funded by the NSW Domestic Violence Innovation Fund.

ECA Spoke

Nature pedagogue Claire Warden takes us on the journey through Floorbooks and Talking Tubs to effectively reflect, record and engage children. In a new blog, Be You’s Dr Kathryn Hopps examines how our language can unintentionally discourage children from expressing emotions and offers responses we can use.

2020 ECA Conference

Save the date!
We are thrilled to announce we will host our 2020 ECA National Conference in Brisbane next year from 30 Sep–3 Oct. In 2020 we celebrate young children as citizens with rights. Throughout this conference we will explore how we respect and support those rights. Applications to present are now open. Click here to apply.


Application to present
Do you have an action-research project underway in your early learning setting? Share your ideas and findings with other early childhood professionals, academics, policy-makers and students. Be part of the 2020 AJEC Research Symposium Children’s rights and research. Applications to present close soon.

Be You Early Childhood

You’re invited
Free Webinar: Always Be You—Conversations and connections for mental health. Join Be You Consultants engaging in professional conversations to demonstrate connections between Be You and your everyday practice. Celebrate culture in your learning community. Wednesday 23 October, 1pm–2pm AEDT (on-demand recording will be available). Book here.

ECA Publications

Have your say
We want your Voice! Tell us what you think about ECA’s quarterly print newsletter, Voice, and go in the draw to win one of three 12-month subscriptions to ECA’s Research in Practice Series or the Everyday Learning Series. We value your voice. Tell us what we are getting right and where we can improve! Find the survey here.

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

Subscribe to ECA publications today: Learn more

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ECA WebWatch—Issue 318, October 2019.