The latest in early childhood news

In this issue … ECA is proud to support early childhood educators, today and every day; children and face masks—should they wear them, and if so, from what age?; The Australian Education Union urges the federal government to invest more in public education; and research in preschools shows significant variance in responses to the pandemic.

Elsewhere, University of Wollongong (UOW) Early Start offers a free webinar with international early childhood experts, and The Smith Family reports on preschool attendance strategies. The National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature launches a comprehensive resource of children’s books by and about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and have your say on the online formative assessment initiative by completing a survey from The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL).

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

Happy Early Childhood Educators' Day 
ECA is proud to support early childhood educators, today and every day. The work you do is critical to Australia’s future prosperity; you deserve recognition. We support improving wages and conditions, a nationally consistent approach to registration, the importance of qualifications and access to ongoing professional development. We will continue to pursue these goals through our advocacy as it is in the interest of young children to have a stable, competent and highly motivated profession working in early childhood services and schools.

To mask or not to mask?
Should children wear face masks? And if so, from what age? The World Health Organization assesses the reasons why some children from ages six to 11 could wear a mask; read more at The Conversation. And this article by Raising Children shares ways to support children from birth to 12 years to learn about face masks.
Investing in the future
The Australian Education Union has put a submission to the Commonwealth to invest more in public schools, preschools and TAFE in the Federal Budget. The proposals would provide decades of enhanced equity, opportunity, security and prosperity for all Australians, according to a statement from the union.

International differences
A new study led by Ingrid Pramling Samuelsson—a 2020 AJEC Research Symposium presenter—finds significant differences between preschools in Sweden, Norway and the United States, in terms of their responses to the pandemic. The University of Gothenburg has the details.

Free ECEC webinar

UOW Early Start is hosting a free online webinar, Early Childhood Education & Care In A Shifting Landscape. Hear from international early childhood education experts Jane Bertrand and Tove Mogstad Slinde on Wednesday 23 September at 7 pm. Register here.

The Smith Family report

The Smith Family has published an interim report from its Preschool Attendance Strategies Project. The report documents community consultations about issues for families and practitioners that impact on children’s participation in preschool, and identifies potential responses.

Children's book resource
The National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature has released a new resource on children’s books by and about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, listing a large range of titles for children aged from birth to 12 years. Find out more here and access the resource here.

Have your say
AITSL invites you to complete a survey to share your experience on the Online Formative Assessment Initiative to see if the rubrics are fit for purpose. There are separate surveys to complete, Teachers here and School Leaders here.

In state and territory news...

In New South Wales (NSW), a new early childhood education scholarship program to increase the number of qualified early childhood teachers, in line with the NSW government’s Early Childhood Education Workforce Strategy. Read more.

Children in a regional NSW primary school have connected with a Victorian primary school in lockdown through a penpal program.
The Victorian Government is encouraging all parents to keep their children’s vaccinations up to date. Recent research has shown parents are delaying vaccinations during the pandemic, most commonly out of concern that they or their child could catch coronavirus in a healthcare facility. Premier Daniel Andrews assures parents that all Victorian hospitals are safe for families to attend.
The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Government has launched Set up for Success: An Early Childhood Strategy for the ACT. The territory’s new workforce development plan aims to 'raise the profile of early childhood educators, further their work as a profession and ensure they are supported in their roles' delivering quality early childhood education and care, according to the media release.
The Tasmanian Government is piloting a new Year 1 phonics check at 35 schools across the state from next month. Minister for Education and Training Jeremy Rockliff says this will capture evidence to track progress, which will help inform teacher practice and identify areas for improvement.
The Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre has released a new report, The Early Years: Investing in Our Future, which shows the extent of inequality in early learning opportunities across Western Australia and Australia.
Read the report here.

Maths, literacy and creative arts
As an early childhood professional, pedagogy and play are central to your work with children. Engage with your fellow educators and colleagues in Connect with curriculum, pedagogy and play on Friday 18 September, with keynote speakers Emeritus Professor Sue Dockett and Adam Duncan. Book now.

Coming soon
Routines and transitions such as nappy changes, mealtimes and sleep take up an estimated 80% of an infant or toddler’s day. Our next Everyday Learning Series title will outline how these experiences can be enhanced and turned into opportunities for building relationships and learning. Don’t miss out on your copy, subscribe today.

Nature Pedagogy
Spring has sprung! Make the most of the outdoors with Claire Warden’s Nature Pedagogy online learning package. Each module explores one element of Nature Pedagogy in Australia’s unique environment, plus get ways to bring nature indoors when it may be unsafe to go outside.

Creating a staff wellbeing policy
A staff wellbeing policy is a strong foundation from which to strengthen mental health and wellbeing in your learning community. Be You can assist you in developing one, read how.

Adapting to change
Dr Caroline Scott, an early childhood lecturer at Victoria University, explains how a unique model supported university students to complete their studies through remote placements. Read the blog post here.

First year at school
Support families to have a great start to school with ECA’s bestselling resource, First Year at School. Full of tips, advice and information about navigating school, this book is a wonderful welcome gift for new families.
ECA WebWatch—Issue 339, September 2020.