The latest in early childhood news

In this issue… We look at supporting children’s mental health; James Cook University releases a new tool for rating internet-connected toys; due to popular demand ECA is hosting a masterclass on transitions to school during COVID-19; and SNAICC’s CEO explores how Indigenous-led services could help Close the Gap. ECA also launches a series of virtual events in partnership with the Thrive by Five campaign; And how can educators embrace the popular cartoon, Bluey, as an effective learning tool? Also, new research findings suggest children respond positively when adults use precise language; the ABC reports on stressed and exhausted educators managing the impacts of COVID-19; and a researcher suggests that the high rate of Indigenous children being removed from their families is a ‘national crime’. Finally, check out these important calendar dates to celebrate and get involved with.

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

Children's mental health
Raising Children has published an article on what ‘good’ mental health looks like for children between the ages of three and eight. This may be a supportive resource for families as it outlines healthy habits, strategies to help children learn about managing feelings, and the long-term benefits of positive mental health.
Internet-connected toy grading 
James Cook University researchers have developed a rating system to support parents to keep children safe around internet-connected toys. The tool scores toys on both privacy and security and grades them from A to D. Read more.

New Learning Hub Masterclass

In response to sector feedback, ECA is excited to announce we will be hosting a live online masterclass exploring Transitions to school in COVID-19. This event features Emeritus Professors, Bob Perry and Sue Dockett, and Dr Kathryn Hopps. Join us on Wednesday 4 November, 3.00—5.00pm AEDT.

Indigenous-led EC services
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are less likely to spend time in ECEC settings than non-Indigenous children. This thought-provoking podcast with Richard Weston, CEO of SNAICC, explores how Indigenous-led services could help close this gap. Also see our joint position paper with SNAICC, released in 2019.

Thrive by Five events
ECA is hosting a new online Conversation Series in partnership with the Minderoo Foundation’s Thrive by Five initiative. The first event, A New Vision: The future of early childhood education in Australia, is on Friday 6 November, 11.15 am–12.00 pm. Find out more and book here.

The Bluey sensation
Bluey resonates with many Australian children and families across generations. So, how can educators embrace the Bluey phenomenon as an effective learning tool and link it to the National Quality Framework? This article discusses how the beloved cartoon series and other examples of pop culture can be integrated into meaningful play-based learning.

Language development study
This experiment found that when adults use straightforward and specific language with children—rather than expecting them to ‘read between the lines’—they respond in a positive way. Read more.

Educators are exhausted
The early childhood sector has taken some of the strongest hits due to COVID-19. The ABC reports that educators are working longer hours and missing leave to fill staffing gaps, and feeling stressed and exhausted as a result. So how do we stop the sector burning out?

The high rate of removal of Indigenous children
In this article, researcher Gerry Georgatos argues the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children removed from their families is ‘a national crime’ and that more support should be provided to keep vulnerable families together instead. For children, he notes, the psychosocial impact of removals is significant and long-term.
Calendar dates
This Friday (30 October) is World Teachers’ Day! It has been a challenging year for all teachers and educators worldwide. Celebrate and reflect on what a difference you’ve made to the lives of children and families this year. We are also in the midst of Children’s Week (24 October – 1 November); you still have time to get involved.

In state and territory news...

NSW Health has shared a video of a young child getting tested for COVID-19. Six-year-old Thomas narrates his experience and explains everything from his perspective. Watch here.
Victorian primary schools are looking at new ways to welcome children transitioning to formal schooling in 2021. Find out what they are doing here.

The Victorian Government is offering financial incentives to attract more educators to regional and remote areas. The funding will be available to early childhood educators who take jobs 100km or more from their current place of residence. 

In WA, the state government has provided $1.5 million for a community hub delivering family and child-oriented services and programs in Dalyellup. The new centre will provide opportunities for community networking and participation in activities that positively contribute to individual, family and community wellbeing, with a particular focus on families with children up to five years of age.

Save 10% now
It’s the final days to save on subscriptions to ECA’s popular publications—get 10% off Research in Practice and Everyday Learning Series subscriptions! You will receive four issues a year and access to exclusive resources that accompany each issue.

Last chance to submit
Calling on pedagogical leaders, directors, and consultants—there is still time to apply to present at the 2021 AJEC Research Symposium. We encourage you to submit your paper so you can share your voice, research and experiences!

Book now, switch later!
Start planning for the 2021 ECA National Conference! We are offering fully flexible tickets, which can be switched up to 14 days prior to the event. Virtual passes can be upgraded to in-person tickets, and vice versa. Book now, switch later!

New on The Spoke
This article shares findings from an analysis of main characters in top picture books over the last 20 years. Click here for the latest blog post on The Spoke.

School Age Care forum
Our online event will connect school age care coordinators, directors and leaders to help them increase awareness about the importance of mental health and develop a culture that supports educators, children and families. Register here.

ECA is hiring
Start a rewarding career with Australia’s peak childhood advocacy organisation.
ECA WebWatch—Issue 343, October 2020.