The latest in early childhood news

As JobKeeper ends for early childhood education and care (ECEC), the government announces its continuation for other sectors in a revised form until March 2021; several organisations advocate for the future of early learning for the sector as unemployment rises. A new appointment, Dr Jennifer Donovan, will head the National Evidence Institute; the Department of Education Skills and Employment (DESE) seek public feedback ahead of a review of the Disability Standards of Education; and finally, find resources to act against racism from Narragunnawali and click to watch In My Blood It Runs. 

Find the latest in state and territory news including latest news about Victorian health measures and jump down to read what ECA teams have been doing.

Update on JobKeeper

This week JobKeeper ceased for the early childhood education and care sector (Monday 20 July), transition payments continue until September 2020 and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced JobKeeper is extended for other sectors until 28 March 2021. ECA disagrees with the decision to remove JobKeeper from the ECEC sector. We will continue to monitor the situation and have advocated for measures to support the sector through projected falling enrolments and a weak economic outlook. Find details at the ECA Response to COVID-19 page. 
Pressure on ECEC
Find departmental advice on the end of JobKeeper payments for Child Care Subsidy (CCS)-approved early learning services as of Monday 20 July. Analysis from the Mitchell Institute shows that approximately 42% of families have lost income, and with the re-introduction of the CCS, many families will not be able to afford to keep their children enrolled in early learning. 
Future of early learning
The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) has developed a proposal for the future of the early childhood sector, read media coverage of pressures on the sector and listen to an ABC RN Life Matters interview with ECA CEO Samantha Page on how the early childhood sector has responded to the pandemic.
Advocate for early learning
Early Learning Matters Week is coming up (3–7 August 2020) and we invite you to highlight the important work educators and children do together. This year, we will come together (online) to raise awareness and understanding of the importance of early learning around Australia.
Review of standards
The Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment is undertaking a review of the Disability Standards for Education through an extensive community consultation process. Anyone with a disability or their families, carers, educators and advocates are encouraged to share their experiences. Consultation closes 25 September. 
Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show the unemployment rate rose from 7.1 to 7.4% between May and June. Relaxing COVID restrictions allowed 280,000 people to find employment; 85% of these positions were part time. Hours worked increased 4% during June, with women working more hours than men—notably in female-dominated sectors such as early learning, teaching, nursing and care. 
New educational institute
ECA welcomes the appointment of Dr Jenny Donovan as inaugural director of the new National Evidence Institute for Education. ECA aims to work closely with Dr Donovan and the institute, including through developing an overview of research and evidence projects currently underway. We will canvass the research community shortly and researchers can contact us now at
Resources on race
Narragunnawali has developed a resource to help early learning services and schools take action against racism. It links to current Reconciliation Action Plans and provides ways to help children develop an understanding and respect for cultural differences.
In My Blood It Runs
The critically acclaimed documentary, In My Blood It Runs, is now available on ABC iView. The film follows the life and challenges faced by 10-year-old Dujuan Hoosan. In 2019, Hoosan spoke to the United Nations about child incarceration and the importance of Indigenous education. Find more resources at ECA’s blog. 
Image sourced from
In state and territory news...

As borders closed, school holiday plans changed and remote schooling resumed in some locations, the Victoria Ombudsman launched an investigation into the treatment of public housing residents under lockdown. The Victorian Aboriginal Childcare Agency (VACCA), Department of Health and Human Services, the Parenting Research Centre, and Youthworx have created Smalltalk – Big Yarns, a suite of resources to support Aboriginal families to be strong first educators of their boorai. To find out more about the new resources, email A new grant will provide up to $200,000 of funding to community organisations, local government bodies, incorporated not-for-profits and industry groups to develop ways to connect with the community. 

The Victorian Department of Education and Training and ECA are providing a series of free webinars focused on educator wellbeing. The department also released guidance for ECEC settings in lockdown areas on the wearing of face coverings. While not mandatory for educators when working with children, a face covering is generally required while working in other areas of the ECEC service such as reception areas, staff rooms, and offices. There are exceptions for adults with facial skin or breathing conditions and children under two years of age should never have a face covering due to risks of strangulation or choking. Find details here. 

Eighty-eight new school crossing supervisors will be hired across 80 New South Wales (NSW) schools to help manage road safety during pick-up and drop-off times. 

In the Northern Territory, three public schools have been shortlisted in the Territory Day Schools Video Competition. The videos explore the importance of Country, identity, culture and belonging. 

In Queensland, a bill to allow Torres Strait Islander children to be adopted by a relative or community member has been introduced to parliament. If passed, the bill will reflect traditional community child-rearing practices. The Queensland Government is running a campaign to encourage families struggling with addiction, violence or access to housing during the pandemic to contact Family and Child Connect for support, advice and action.

In Tasmania a new study shows how early childhood services are attempting to improve their engagement with vulnerable families and increase the uptake of universal health and education services.

Finally, the South Australian Government has delayed plans to reopen its border to NSW and Australian Capital Territory residents as coronavirus cases rise in Victoria and NSW; changes to the Education and Children’s Services Act came into effect on 1 July.

Up-to-date travel advice can be obtained here. 
New learning package
Reconnect with nature with Dr Claire Warden. Ten new professional learning modules on the ECA Learning Hub explore the intricacies of nature pedagogy and learning through nature, revitalising thinking for indoor and outdoor environments. Find out more.
Webinar recording
School age care offers children and families a unique experience and opportunities to develop social and emotional skills. Our webinar panel shared ideas about creating mentally healthy communities using Be You. Watch the recording.
Action and learning
Find ECA’s blog Black Lives Matter in Australia, in early education and everywhere, Professor Peter Moss warns about international testing in early childhood and Dr Anne Kennedy and Dr Andi Salamon each shine a light on why #EarlyLearningMatters.
In step with children
Have you seen In their shoes an online resource written by Anne Stonehouse AM and proudly brought to you by Gowrie Victoria and ECA? This free digital publication offers scenarios from a child’s perspective to help illustrate how the world might appear to them.
ECA ethics event
Connect with ECA’s Ethics in Action, an event that explores the ethical dimensions of the workplace and strengthens capacity to make more informed, effective and respectful decisions at work and at home. Using ECA’s Code of Ethics to support professional thinking, participants will practice the art of ethical decision-making through group discussions and case studies, and reinforce approaches that enhance the rights and wellbeing of children, families, our colleagues and the community. Register here.
ECA WebWatch—Issue 336, July 2020.