The latest in early childhood news

Making news this fortnight … As the federal government reviews the Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) Relief Package, hear what educators, the Shadow Minister and Grattan Institute have to say; and take a look at ECA’s revamped response: COVID-19 webpage. In other news, the Help is Here program launches to support people experiencing family violence; Monash University looks at the importance of children maintaining friendships virtually; the Scottish Government trials a social policy experiment focusing on outdoor play for children; find out what education might look like after the pandemic; and explore significant calendar dates for May.

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

Review: ECEC Relief Package
Early childhood educators, the Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education and Development, Amanda Rishworth, and the Grattan Institute share their views on the government’s ECEC Relief Package and suggest changes while its review is underway. Listen to ABC’s coverage here and find ECA’s submission here.
COVID-19 update
The ECA response: COVID-19 page contains the latest government updates and information, as well as resources for ECEC services, curated to support your practice or continuity of service during the pandemic. Share your experiences of the pandemic in an AIFS Families in Australia: Life during COVID-19 survey.

Help is Here campaign
This new national campaign—Help is Here assists anyone affected by family violence to find support services. For educators, Early Signals. First Responses is ECA's free online program to help recognise children who have been exposed to family violence.

Virtual connection
Early childhood lecturers from Monash University explore the importance of young children maintaining friendships in lockdown and how to do it well. Read more here. And this article talks about virtual education, along with tips and resources for educators.

Education after the pandemic
Dr Ben Jensen, CEO of Learning First, and Gail McHardy, Executive Officer of Parents Victoria, discuss what education might look like in a post-COVID world. Listen to the interview here.

Outdoor play in Scotland 
The Scottish Government is testing a social policy experiment for children, involving an early education and care initiative to double the number of fully funded childcare hours available to parents. This initiative focuses on outdoor play, increasing children and parents’ connection to the environment and improving mental health issues. Read more here.
Key dates in May
National Families Week@Home is being celebrated from 15–21 May. As schools return to face-to-face learning, mark it with Walk Safely to School Day (15 May) or Outdoor Classroom Day (21 May). Click here to start preparing for National Sorry Day (26 May) ahead of 2020 National Reconciliation Week—themed: ‘In this together’ (27 May–3 June).

In state and territory news...

Find the latest information on Term 2 school operations in all states and territories here.

The Northern Territory Government is offering grants of up to $10,000 for early childhood service operators to offset the cost of supplies, cleaning, maintenance and declining enrolments. In South Australia, the state government has announced financial support for council-run ECEC services until 28 June 2020 (backdated to 6 April). In Queensland, a new children’s book launched by Children’s Health Queensland—Birdie and the Virus—addresses children’s fears about COVID-19. The book takes children on a journey of recovery: from testing for the virus to treatment. View it here. And in Victoria, the government is making extra resources available to kindergartens to help children who are learning at home during the coronavirus pandemic. The Deputy Premier and Minister for Education announced $900,000 in grants for new programs and extra staffing. Read the media release here.

Insights and explorations
Meg Anastasi shares her insights on remote learning in early childhood and explore reading with children, books and libraries in a blog from the team at Queensland State Library and an ECA webcast with Children’s Laureate Ursula Dubosarsky.

New fact sheets
Be You Fact Sheets help you explore and gain knowledge on mental health and wellbeing topics. Explore and share our new transition fact sheets.

New EDL release
The latest Everyday Learning (EDL) publication, by Nadia Wilson-Ali, explores Learning and development in the first three years. Purchase your copy here. The EDL series is also available through subscription.

e-Safety modules
ECA and the eSafety Commissioner have developed free professional learning modules on children’s online safety. The modules provide tips within a positive framework. Learn more here.

Think ahead
ECA’s National Conference in Brisbane has moved to 21–24 April 2021. Think how much you will want to be part of all the networking, learning and big conversations that make this Australia’s best gathering of early childhood professionals. Learn more here.
ECA WebWatch—Issue 331, May 2020.