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The latest in early childhood news

Making news this fortnight … more funding for regional, rural and remote early learning services through the Community Child Care Fund (CCCF); studies examine how free early learning supports the economy; and immunisation rates rise across Australia. Meanwhile, regional universities cry out for help; new research examines the merits of delaying school entry; and Early Childhood Australia (ECA) joins the University of Wollongong Early Start on a new home learning project.

Also in this issue, inspire a lifelong love of science with National Science Week, and read submissions on education and learning published by the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability. 

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

Funding increases
An additional $6.1 million will support 84 early childhood education and care services in regional, rural and remote communities through the CCCF. Research from the Front Project and the Grattan Institute shows how early learning helps the Australian economy, and also supports women—who have been disproportionally affected by the pandemic—to seek employment or return to work. 
Royal Commission feedback
Actions by Australian schools were at the forefront of submissions to the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability. The Commission published responses to its Education and Learning issues paper that included numerous incidents of restraint and seclusion used in Australian schools as well as a general lack of educational resources, support and knowledge. Read the paper in full. 
Pass or fail? 
The loss of university revenue will hit regional communities hardest, according to the Regional Universities Network. This affects students, teachers and other staff, including early learning services associated with universities. New legislation proposed by the federal government would see future students lose access to government loans if they fail more than half their subjects.

Sparking interest in science 

It’s National Science Week. From 15–23 August, get immersed in science with online events, resources and ideas to bring science into your early learning service or home. This article on The Spoke examines how to ignite girls’ lifelong interest in science or listen how childhood interests sparked the first woman to space-walk.

Have your say

New surveys explore the impact of the pandemic on workforce participation. An academic project led by the University of Queensland is exploring career progression for women, and The Parenthood wants to gauge the impact of ‘fee-free’ early learning on families.
Early Learning @ Home
University of Wollongong Early Start, in partnership with ECA and Playgroup Australia, have secured funding to undertake the Early Learning @ Home project. The project will be an online platform to support families with children learning at home.
Starting school
As families begin to enrol their children in school, new research suggests delaying school entry does not have a large or lasting influence on basic reading and maths skills for most children. The evidence is mixed on the effects of delaying school entry on children’s emotional and social development. 
Immunisation rates rise
Australia’s childhood immunisation rate is at record levels, reports the Minister for Health, Greg Hunt. Now, 94.77% of all five-year-old children are immunised against preventable diseases and viruses. The rate is even higher among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, at 96.9%.
In state and territory news...

In the Northern Territory (NT), NT Health is providing information to parents about how to put babies and toddlers to sleep safely in order to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.  
The Tasmanian government is moving forward with a review into education, covering the Education Registrar; the Office of Tasmanian Assessment, Standards and Certification; and the Teachers Registration Board Tasmania. The Bouncing Back – Talk and Read Project will give Tasmanian families of children from birth to kindergarten fun ideas about talking and reading—7800 Talk and Read bags will be provided to Tasmanian families. 
In Victoria, a total of $160 million is available for School Readiness Funding. Eligible kindergartens can use the funding to support early childhood learning at home. Consultations will commence in Term 3 and resources, including a pandemic hotline, are available to both educators and families. Additionally, all kindergarten in Victoria will be free for Term 3. Under stage 4 restrictions in Melbourne, permitted workers can access childcare and kinder if no one else in their household can supervise their child. The Victorian government is also investing $20 million in supporting families at risk of violence during the Stay at Home measures. 

In the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), the ACT government has agreed in full to 28 recommendations put forward by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander co-designed and led review, Our Booris, Our Way. The review examined how to support the wellbeing and welfare of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people in the territory. 

In New South Wales (NSW), preschool will remain free until the end of Term 4, 2020 in an attempt to ease cost-of-living pressures and support more children to have a good start to school. A new award for girls as young as seven will honour the achievements of ‘rising stars’ as a part of the NSW Women of the Year Awards.

In Western Australia, thousands of foster and kinship carers will receive one-off payments of at least $500 to help ease financial pressures. There are an estimated 7359 children living in carer households in the state. 

New No jab, No Play legislation took effect in South Australia on 7 August. The Chief Public Health Officer can now exclude unimmunised or otherwise susceptible children from care during an outbreak of a vaccine-preventable disease.
ECA ethics event
Connect with ECA’s Ethics in Action and discuss ways to implement this powerful tool into your daily practice. Join us for the ECA Code of Ethics online event, this Friday 21 August, to exchange ideas and insights with your peers. This is your last chance—book now.
Leading wellbeing
Be You are hosting a series of four online events that focus on leading wellbeing in family day care, long day care, preschool and school age care settings. The series will encourage leaders to increase awareness about mental health and wellbeing and develop a culture of support in their services. Find out more and secure your spot.
Mindset Matters
The beliefs children hold about their own intelligence, talents and abilities are formed during the earliest stages of life. These beliefs—known as a mindset—influence learning, motivation, self-regulation and achievement. Our latest Research in Practice Series title examines how to develop a growth mindset. Learn more here and subscribe to the Research in Practice Series today.
Leading wellbeing in Family Day Care
Our online event will connect family day care service coordinators, managers and leaders to help them increase awareness about the importance of mental health. Develop a culture that supports educators, children and families. Book here.
Changing the dynamic
A new article takes you to the Anti-Bias Awards to meet the winning early childhood team, plus an educator reflects on the vital role and support that early childhood educators can offer young children who have been exposed to family violence.
Discovering STEM
Ignite curiosity for STEM during National Science Week with the ECA Learning Hub. Browse online learning including strategies for integrating STEM into your practice and how to find STEM learning in everyday moments. 
New 2021 Planners
Start fresh in 2021 with new-look Early Years Planners. With ample space for writing, communication and reflection, the new planners feature daily and weekly provocations, new stickers, links to the Early Years Learning Framework and National Quality Standard.
ECA WebWatch—Issue 338, August 2020.