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The latest in early childhood news

In this issue...The Mitchell Institute publishes a new report, Stepping Up: Securing the Future of Quality Preschool in Australia; Stage 2 of the 2019 NQF Review is underway; Children’s Commissioner Anne Hollonds announces her vision for a National Child Wellbeing Strategy; and the winners of the 2020 Excellence in Family Day Care Awards are announced. The Early Learning and Care Council of Australia (ELACCA) launches a new workforce campaign; the federal government reminds families receiving Child Care Subsidy to lodge their 2018–19 tax returns; the NSW/ACT Inclusion Agency publishes a resource about children’s voices; researchers from Charles Sturt University examine the wellbeing of educators; and Deakin University is running a survey on mobile device use among children.

Find the latest in state and territory news and jump down to read what ECA teams have been doing.
Quality preschool in Australia 
Stepping Up: Securing the Future of Quality Preschool in Australia, a new policy briefing from the Mitchell Institute, suggests Australia could boost its recovery from COVID-19 by funding preschool for every three- and four-year-old across the country. Read it here.
NQF Review 
Stage 2 of the 2019 NQF Review is underway with the release of a Consultation Regulation Impact Statement for feedback. To have your say on the NQF review during March and April 2021, visit the NQF Review website for information, or find details of information sessions in your state or territory.

National child wellbeing 

Anne Hollonds announced her vision for an overarching National Child Wellbeing Strategy during a speech to the Parliamentary Friends of Early Childhood on Thursday 25 February. The National Children’s Commissioner said the strategy would focus on all areas of domestic policy that touch the lives of children and families.
Family Day Care Awards 
The winners of the 2020 Excellence in Family Day Care Awards have been announced! Congratulations to ECA members Janelle and Craig McIvor, who share the Educator of the Year award, as well as to the Coordinator of the Year, Lyn Kerr, and Service of the Year, Choices Family Day Care.
Big Roles in Little Lives
Last Friday (26 February), ELACCA launched a new workforce campaign, Big Roles in Little Lives, to promote careers within early education and care and challenge outdated ideas about the role and value of educators.

Child Care Subsidy

The Australian Government is contacting all services to remind families to lodge their 2018–19 tax returns for Child Care Subsidy balancing by 31 March 2021. Early education settings are encouraged to share this Services Australia factsheet with families.

Children's Voices resource

Children’s Voices: A Reflective Resource for Educators is a free resource, produced by the NSW/ACT Inclusion Agency, which encourages services to let the voices of children guide their work. It contains a series of responses from children to a range of questions around themes of inclusion and diversity. 

Educator wellbeing project

Researchers from Charles Sturt University are taking a close look at the health and wellbeing of educators, particularly what is causing injury, exhaustion and burnout. Read more about the Early Childhood Educator Wellbeing Project and its' findings in this Women’s Agenda article.

Device use in early childhood

A study by Deakin University is asking parents to complete a 30-minute survey on their child’s mobile touchscreen device use. The survey aims to help understand how the use of mobile screens may be related to children’s behaviour, sleep, and social and emotional wellbeing. Complete it here.
In state and territory news...

In Victoria, the Andrews Labor Government launched the Kinder Tick initiative across the state. The initiative aims to make it easier for families to find funded and approved kindergarten programs.
Queensland kindies and early childhood services can now apply for Plan Your Future Workforce Grants of up to $30,000. The grants aim to help services plan for their future workforce needs, support educators to meet national qualification requirements and assist with staff retention.

Students from Kindergarten to Year 9 across New South Wales are being encouraged to jump into reading with the Premier’s Reading Challenge commencing for 2021.
Outcomes from 2020  
Dr Anne Kennedy talks about the importance of social justice in the time of a pandemic and shares suggestions for educators to supports socially just advocacy. Dr Caroline Scott shares unexpected outcomes and feedback on a pre-service teacher remote placement model.
Engineering creativity 
Check out the latest webcast on the ECA Learning Hub, Engineering creativity: Celebrating loose parts play for all ages by Robin Christie. This webcast shares practical examples of loose parts play using materials that are recovered, upcycled or drawn from nature.
New Fact Sheet 
The first few years of a child’s life are full of big and small transitions. Transitions are key opportunities to support babies’ and toddlers’ wellbeing. Explore Be You’s Transitions for babies and toddlers Fact Sheet here.
2021 ECA National Conference
The 2021 ECA National Conference will be the first big occasion for early childhood professionals to connect face-to-face, share and celebrate our sector in 2021. Register now to join us in Brisbane in September.
Write for ECA publications
ECA is seeking expressions of interest on certain topics to write for our Research in Practice Series and Everyday Learning Series publications. The last day for submission is Friday 12 March 2021 (COB).
ECA Shop
Transitions are an integral component of Quality Area 6 of the National Quality StandardFirst Year at School, produced in collaboration between Early Childhood Australia and the Australian Primary Principals Association, is a comprehensive resource that educators can use to start facilitating conversations with children and families in the lead-up to their first year of school. Purchase it here.
ECA WebWatch—Issue 350, March 2021.