The latest in early childhood news

Making news this fortnight …  a round-up of the latest novel coronavirus (COVID-19) information for the early childhood sector; current measures to slow the spread of coronavirus cripple the early childhood sector as Early Childhood Australia (ECA) continues to advocate for realistic and sustainable support; early childhood advocates examine how educators and services can maintain their viability; experts encourage families to avoid strict school routines; join an online storytime session and explore other services and activities now being hosted online; the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) announces its 2020 notable shortlist; and several important key dates are coming up, including World Autism Awareness Day.  

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

As the impact of the new coronavirus and measures to slow its spread within our communities continue, ECA has collated the most up-to-date information for the early childhood sector here. Find the Federal Government’s new WhatsApp Channel and coronavirus apps to receive messages and updates.
Not good enough
Current Federal Government measures to slow the spread of coronavirus, including that children should remain home, ignore the critical issues facing the early learning sector. ECA continues to call for sustainable and realistic support for educators and services. Click here for our media releases and advocacy. 
A dire situation
As families withdraw children from early education at an alarming rate, Lisa Bryant and Georgie Dent forward the case for realistic and sustainable support to ensure educators and services can welcome back families at the end of the pandemic. 
Children at home
Experts encourage families to avoid aiming for strict school routines at home; this article shares ways children can learn and play at home. Schools, click this link and scroll down to find free resources to support children’s at-home learning. 
Staying connected
During national closures, libraries are streaming storytime sessions online. Children can listen to stories read aloud from Storybox Library. Find ideas at ABC Kids; tune into age-appropriate news for Australian children or daily PE classes for children.
Notable achievements
The CBCA has released its notable list for 2020 ahead of the Book of the Year announcement. 2 April is International Children's Book Day. Congratulations to the ABC's Bluey for winning an International Emmy overnight.
Key dates
Speaking of world days, 2 April is World Autism Awareness Day and take a moment on World Health Day (7 April) to recognise medical teams for their work against COVID-19. World Creativity and Innovation Week (15–22 April) is a great time to send a painting or card to a service or business. 
In state and territory news...

For coronavirus prevention measures within your state or territory, please visit your relevant government health website. You’ll also find lots of information at your state or territory education page to support families and children learning and working at home together.

Several states and territories have closed their borders due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some travellers require a pre-approved entry pass to cross the border. In general, seriously reconsider your need for unessential travel. For more information, click here. 

In the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), ACT's education page has many useful tips for school activities and managing children’s wellbeing at home. In New South Wales (NSW), working with children clearances have been extended for thousands of essential workers to meet regulatory requirements. Keep up-to-date with specific measures to curb the spread of coronavirus on the NSW Department of Education website. For now Tasmanian schools remain open for students who cannot be supervised or supported to learn at home. Stay up-to-date by checking the Tasmanian Department of Education website. 

In Queensland (QLD), students break from 30 March, one week earlier than scheduled school holidays. Stay up-to-date on the QLD Department of Education website. Victoria has declared a state of emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic. Stay up–to-date on education news, including learning from home measures. In more positive news, four female principals put forward an initiative to support more women in leadership in the teaching sector.

For now, South Australian (SA) schools and Outside School Hours Care services remain open. Stay up-to-date on the SA Department for Education website. All travel to the Northern Territory (NT) is strongly discouraged. All arrivals to the NT from either interstate or overseas will be forced to quarantine for 14 days. Stay up-to-date on school closures and other relevant information from the NT Department of Education website. 

Finally, the Department of Education in Western Australia encourages all children who can be supported to learn from home to do so from 30 March. Staff will be in school to support children who cannot learn from home and must attend school. This open letter from the team at Telethon Kids examines the impact of COVID-19. For Autism Awareness Week find this free video series shared by the Autism Association of WA to encourage awareness and inclusion in early childhood settings.
Connect online
Be You Early Years Learning Communities provide ongoing opportunities for educators to connect, share knowledge, lead learning, and take action towards growing a mentally healthy generation. Learn more here. 
Symposium connect
The 2020 Reconciliation Symposium has been postponed, but join us online for Reconciliation Connect on 15 May, a vibrant online conference exploring reconciliation in early childhood. Register here.
Viral talk
Find the latest blogs on viral talk with children, hygiene and safety strategies, and combining an educational focus and safety in early childhood settings, plus an accompanying webcast answering your questions. Find these and the latest blogs to respond to your changing world at The Spoke.
Encouraging reflection
Spark critical reflection with the ECA Box of Provocations. With 100 cards across 10 topics, this resource encourages deep thinking about pedagogy and practice. 
Family violence modules
New professional learning modules have been added to Early Signals. First Responses, a free program for NSW educators working with children who have experienced domestic and family violence. Register here.
ECA WebWatch—Issue 328, April 2020.