The latest in early childhood news

Making news this fortnight … Minister for Education Dan Tehan announces the Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) Relief Package will end mid-July; the Mitchell Institute reports on the impact of COVID-19 on children’s education and wellbeing; find resources for early years and anti-bias approaches as a new Australian National University (ANU) study shows three in four Australians hold anti-Indigenous bias. The Grattan Institute looks at what free ECEC means for families compared to early childhood settings and funding for Aboriginal child protection in out-of-home-care is cut. PANDA releases resources addressing the pandemic for pregnant women and new mothers; and find the Early Childhood Australia (ECA) Member Summary on mental health and wellbeing along with related blogs on safety and ethics.

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

COVID-19 update
On Monday, Minister for Education Dan Tehan announced the ECEC Relief Package ends on 12 July and the old Child Care Subsidy will be reactivated from 13 July. JobKeeper payments will cease from 20 July for ECEC workers. Read ECA’s media release here and find updated FAQs and wide media coverage of ECA’s advocacy for children and educators at ECA’s Response to COVID-19 page
Mitchell Institute Report 
Australia’s Mitchell Institute has released a report on the impact of COVID-19 and the economic downturn on children’s educational and wellbeing outcomes. The Mitchell Institute’s modelling estimates that ‘in 2020 around 1.4 million preschool and schoolchildren are in families experiencing employment stress’. Read the report here.

It matters 
An ANU study shows the extent of barriers for Australia’s First Peoples with findings that three in four Australians hold biased attitudes, comparable to figures for the USA. Find Narragunnawali’s curriculum and professional learning resources to equip yourself to understand the issues, address race and build positive cultural identity in early learning. Challenge yourself to watch In My Blood it Runs before the on-demand screenings expire, 12 June, or book a ticket as cinemas reopen. See how one children’s channel responded to protests sweeping the world, and find materials from Unicef or National Geographic on speaking to children about race. To better inform yourself or for talking through the issues with colleagues and families find the Aboriginal Early Childhood Practice Guide, the Anti-Bias Approach in Early Childhood, and further reconciliation resources from ECA here.

Cost of education

The Grattan Institute looked into ‘free child care’, what it means for families and the costs early education settings are bearing—read more here. Results from The Parenthood's survey indicate that 63 per cent of families (who have an already reduced income) will have to reduce days or remove their child from care if fees return to pre-COVID rates. Read more

Aboriginal funds cut
Funding for Aboriginal child protection in out-of-home-care contexts has been almost halved. Tom Ireland, CEO of Aboriginal Child, Family and Community Care, fears the impact of cuts when Aboriginal children are 10 times more likely to be in out-of-home-care. Read more here.

PANDA resources
The PANDA (Perinatal, Anxiety & Depression Australia) are launching resources for new and expecting mothers who may be working from home. The resources acknowledge different circumstances and managing emotional wellbeing. PANDA will also be releasing a resource for fathers in the near future. Find out more.
Wellbeing summary
ECA and the Be You team have developed an ECA Member Summary: Mental Health and Wellbeing to address concerns arising from COVID-19. Find it here. And find blogs to support ethics and safety as well as trauma-aware practices for arrivals and departures in early learning.

In state and territory news...

In Queensland (Qld), the Sunshine Coast Council Libraries’ new online program, Toddler Tuesday, brings families with young children literacy resources that are both fun and educational. The ABC reports that some Qld parents have struggled with home schooling during the pandemic which has revealed internet access inequality as a major education issue. Gonski Institute revealed 80 per cent of Australian teachers felt poverty prevented students from accessing the technology they needed to learn. Read more
In New South Wales, Wollongong City Libraries’ online program, Tiny Bites, makes remote storytime fun; and the Early Start Discovery Space continues to offer online play resources as it edges closer to re-opening. 
The Tasmanian Government has announced an additional $7 million for the construction of new Tasmanian Child and Family Learning Centres (CFLCs). Read the media release
In Victoria, 21 early childhood services and family day care educators in Corangamite have received a Smiles 4 Miles award, recognising their work to improve young children’s oral health. Read more.

The Northern Territory Government has announced the rollout of the Pre-School STEM Games, developed by the University of Melbourne, designed to build children’s curiosity for STEM through fun-based learning. Read more

Early years community
Read the story of one early learning service and how it has responded to the pandemic within its community of children, families and fellow educators. And ECA looks at the ethical and legal questions of new practices for arrivals and departures in early learning services.

Connect with us
National Check-Ins are online events that run for an hour at different times across the week. The themes start the conversation but your questions drive them. Connect with our Consultants and other educators around Australia here.

Come together online
Connect with your colleagues to understand the most vulnerable children in your practice. On Friday 19 June ECA offers a unique online event, ‘Connecting to support children who are experiencing vulnerability’. Explore how it can shape children and find ways to support them to thrive. Book here.
ECA WebWatch—Issue 333, June 2020.