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The latest in early childhood news

Making news this fortnight...The 2021–22 Federal Budget lays foundations for improvement in the early education and care sector; SNAICC seeks input to develop a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Early Childhood Strategy; and a study reveals more than half of Australian children experiencing adversity don’t have the skills they need to read and communicate. ABC's 7:30 looks into the workforce crisisMonash University’s Conceptual PlayLab launches free STEM professional development for educatorschildhood immunisation rates reach a record high in Australia and Reconciliation Connect is this Friday!

Find the latest in state and territory news and jump down to read what ECA teams have been doing.
Federal Budget 2021–22
Last night Treasurer Josh Frydenberg delivered the 2021–22 Federal Budget. Measures for early education and care include a $1.7 billion investment into approving affordability for families and a commitment of $2 billion in ongoing funding for preschools through a four-year Strategic Reform Agreement. View Early Childhood Australia’s response to the budget here.
Growing in culture
SNAICC is seeking input from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, families, communities, service providers and other experts to help with the development of a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Early Childhood Strategy. SNAICC is developing the strategy on behalf of the federal government, which promised to deliver it this year. Participants can provide input by completing an online survey
Starting behind  
A recent study published in the International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders has found that one in four Australian children experiencing adversity has language difficulties, and around half have pre-reading difficulties. Read more in The Conversation.
Shortage of early educators 
Within three years, the early education and care sector will need an extra 3700 educators and teachers to meet demand. The ABC’s 7.30 looked into the shortage across Australia and the promises of the federal government and opposition to invest in early learning. Watch here.
Be a STEM champion   
Monash University's Conceptual PlayLab has produced a new play-based model to teach STEM to young children. Based on more than 10 years of research by Professor Marilyn Fleer, the Conceptual PlayWorld model helps children form ideas in STEM and increase girls’ participation. Register here for the free professional development.
Immunisation rates  
Childhood immunisation rates have reached a record high in Australia, according to a recent announcement from the Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt. In the first quarter of 2021, 95.22% of five-year-olds received their vaccinations. Read the media release here.
In state and territory news...

On 3 May, Victorian Minister for Early Childhood Ingrid Stitt opened applications for the 2021 round of the Building Blocks Improvement Stream. Grants are available for local councils and not-for-profit kindergarten programs to improve their facilities and fund new IT devices. Apply here.

Meanwhile, 160 kindergartens are participating in the state government’s Early Childhood Language Program and nominations have opened for the 16th annual Victorian Early Years Awards.

The South Australian Government is investing $1.5 million in a new program, Safe and Well Kids, which aims to support children and adolescents who have experienced domestic and family violence.

NSW Farmers is partnering with farmers across the state to provide primary school children with an opportunity to learn about Australia’s food and fibre production through the Kids to Farm program.

Reconciliation Connect
Reconciliation Connect is this Friday! There is a line-up of powerful and inspiring speakers from across Australia, including authors Bruce Pascoe and Thomas Mayor, Reconciliation Australia CEO Karen Mundine and Dr Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann AM, the 2021 Senior Australian of the Year. Book now!
New on The Spoke 
Have you noticed unexpected, positive change in your service due to COVID-safe procedures? One service found COVID-safe drop-offs led to more empowered children. Meanwhile, Storypark talks about documentation and asks, what if you document too much, too little or too late?
Last chance to save
Save 10% off our Everyday Learning and Research in Practice Series subscriptions before Friday 15 May 2021. Subscribers also receive supplementary resources with each issue to support practice. 
Leadership forum 
During Empowering environments and authentic leadership, Thursday 20 May, we will unpack the factors that contribute to how we identify, promote and encounter empowering environments and authentic leadership. Register here.
ECA Shop: Respect and Relationships 
Toni Christie’s newest book provides reasoning behind the primary caregiver approach and includes guidelines for practice that support secure and respectful relationships with young children.
ECA WebWatch—Issue 355, May 2021.

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