The latest in early childhood news

Making news this fortnight… It’s NAIDOC Week—get involved with local events or share your commitment online; archaeologists share findings after working with Aboriginal children on a community research project; new research from New Zealand explores key experiences that promote self-regulation skills; and school chaplaincy effectiveness is explored. Vaccination rates rise across the nation; researchers unpack the power of puppets to support children’s communication; UNICEF discusses global progress towards families’ access to affordable and high-quality early education and care; and Anne Hollonds commences as National Children’s Commissioner.

Find the latest in state and territory news and jump down to read what ECA teams have been doing.
This year’s theme for NAIDOC Week is Always was, always will be. It recognises that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have occupied and cared for this continent for over 65,000 years. NAIDOC 2020 invites all Australians to embrace the true history of this country. Get involved with local events. ECA and Jessica Staines have developed a webinar exploring different ways early childhood services can get involved and access this database of children's books by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. 
The fish project
Archaeologists collaborate with Aboriginal children aged seven and up, Elders and rangers from communities in Kakadu and West Arnhem Land on a research project about fish and waterholes, around the 65,000-year-old Madjedbebe archaeological site. This article is an excellent exploration of community research combining both Indigenous and Western knowledge.

Self-regulation behaviours

A new study from New Zealand reveals children develop self-regulation skills when they can engage meaningfully with an adult, particularly a parent. Reading stories, playing and generally spending quality time in other ways positively affected a group of children’s self-regulation skills. 
The power of puppets
All educators know puppets are fun and engaging, but new research from the University of Sydney affirms that children communicate more often and more effectively when talking to a puppet, because it feels more like play. 
Early learning’s global crisis
In 2018, 606 million working-age women considered themselves to be unavailable for employment or not seeking a job because of unpaid care work, according to UNICEF. Now, UNICEF has released research examining global progress towards ensuring families have access to affordable and high-quality early education and care. 
Chaplaincy effectiveness
As Victoria and the ACT change or cease chaplaincy programs in schools, this article explores their effectiveness, and alternatives that better support complex mental health issues in schools.
Vaccination rates
More families are vaccinating their children, according to new data from the National Immunisation Program. The Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, announced that immunisation for all five-year-olds is 94.9%, and 97% among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children. 
Financial hardship
Do you know a family that is experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19? They may be eligible for free or more subsidised care through the Additional Child Care Subsidy (ACCS) Temporary Financial Hardship. Goodstart Early Learning has compiled an ACCS factsheet as a resource to share with families. ECA members can also watch a new live webinar for free
New Children’s Commissioner
Anne Hollonds commences as the National Children’s Commissioner. The statutory officer is responsible for protecting and promoting the rights of all children in Australia, as set out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Previously, Anne was the Director of the Australian Institute of Family Studies. 
In state and territory news...

In Victoria, 104 schools will receive sunshades to reduce the risk from UV rays, and more than 1700 kindergartens will be eligible for up to $5000 to support children who have returned to on-site learning by supporting them to get the most out of kinder and make positive transitions to school. This funding is available to services that are not yet receiving funding through the Victorian Government’s $160 million School Readiness Funding initiative. Get more information and purchase resources from the School Readiness Funding menu. Victoria also commit to a $170m funding boost for fifteen hours of free kindergarten for four-year-olds and eligible three-year-olds, as well as more outside school hours care next year.

Families, educators and community members are being reminded of the dangers of portable pools in Western Australia. The Don’t Duck Out, Make it SAFE campaign examines the danger of portable pools, which aren’t regulated as heavily as in-ground pools—despite being just as dangerous.

SNAICC CEO Richard Weston will become the first Deputy Children’s Guardian for Aboriginal Children and Young People in New South Wales (NSW)—congratulations, Richard! The role is to develop and deliver policy, programs and services which support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and liaise directly with Indigenous peoples and communities. NSW has committed to an extra year of free preschool with a $120m funding boost. Families are eligible for up to 15 hours of free early childhood education and care per child each week.

The Tasmanian Department of Education has released its 201920 Annual Report.

In South Australia, a $250,000 investment in the Music Innovation Fund supports schools to purchase new equipment, and establish new music programs. 

The Department of Education in the Northern Territory has released a new Education Family Engagement Charter. The Charter is designed to underpin relationships between schools and families and expectations of partnership in a child’s education. Also, children at Ross Park Primary School students explore the learning benefits of gardening
Free webinar for ECA Members
ECA Members receive free access to our upcoming live webinar, Supporting Families Who Experience Vulnerabilities: Funding with Impact, with Goodstart's Myra Geddes and Associate Professor Sandi Wong. Explore new research and get strategies to better support families who experience vulnerabilities from 1pm Thursday 12 November. Register here.
Fully flexible tickets
The 2021 ECA National Conference offers a fully flexible registration option—tickets are fully flexible and 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 if you need to!
Be You posters
The Be You Professional Learning posters are a great way to encourage understanding and conversations about mental health and wellbeing in your learning community. Registered Be You services can download the posters here.
What's love got to do with it?
Karen Hope shares part two of her What’s love got to do it? blog series, which looks at love in the early childhood education space; and as summer holidays approach, we look at ways to support children if parents or carers are away— away fighting fires, specifically. 
The Summer Sale is back!
The ECA Summer Sale is back! Get your summer reading sorted with 15% off hundreds of early childhood resources and children’s books. Shop now!
Daily Planners
Looking for the perfect gift to thank your educators for a difficult 2020? Give them the gift of a well-planned 2021 with the ECA Early Years Planner. Available in a range of beautiful designs, this bestselling resource features ample space for writing and learning tips linked to the EYLF. Order yours here.
ECA WebWatch—Issue 344, November 2020.