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The latest in early childhood news

Making news this fortnight…The federal government commits to Closing the Gap in early childhood education; early education services in a Commonwealth declared COVID-19 hotspot are granted additional allowable absences; and Early Learning Matters Week 2021 is a huge success. ECA releases a new resource on consistent, sector-accepted language; seven-year-old Holly Wright captures the nation in her TED Talk about children’s brain development; and ABC Kids shares tips for wearing masks in early education settings. It’s estimated 1.5 million children around the world have lost one parent or grandparent due to COVID; the finalists of the Narragunnawali Awards 2021 are announced; and Thrive by Five reveals three-quarters of Australians support universal early education.

Find the latest in state and territory news and jump down to read what ECA teams have been doing.
Closing the Gap
Today, (4 August), the federal government announced it is investing $120 million to increase the participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in early childhood education and care. Read the media release here
Additional allowable absences
Yesterday (3 August), the Australian Government announced early childhood education and care services in a declared COVID-19 hotspot can access additional allowable absences 'if the declaration extends seven days'. Find out more here
Early Learning Matters Week 
Last week (26–30 July), educators, politicians, community leaders, children and their families celebrated Early Learning Matters Week. Organised by ECA and now in its fourth year, the national campaign aims to raise awareness and understanding of the importance of early childhood education and care. View the wrap-up video here
Words and language matter  
ECA, in partnership with Thrive by Five, has released a new resource focusing on shifting the terminology used to describe early childhood education and care. View the new resource, titled How to talk about early childhood education and care, here.
Play-based learning 
Seven-year-old Molly Wright, one of the youngest TED presenters ever, highlights the benefits of play on lifelong learning, behaviour and wellbeing, sharing effective strategies to help all children thrive. Click here to watch the full TED Talk. 
Masks in early education
Educators across NSW are having to navigate new COVID-19 guidelines for wearing face masks in early childhood education and care settings. This ABC Kids Early Education article explores how you can incorporate masks into your everyday practice.  
Narragunnawali Awards finalists 
The finalists of the Narragunnawali Awards 2021, recognising early learning services that are implementing outstanding reconciliation initiatives, were announced last Wednesday (28 July). In the Early Learning category, there are three finalists: Balnarring Pre-School in Victoria, St Peter’s Girls Early Learners Centre in South Australia and Tumut Community Preschool in NSW. Learn more about the awards here.
Universal early education 
A recent poll commissioned by Thrive by Five has found three-quarters of Australians support universal access to early education. Listen to CEO Jay Weatherill speak with ABC News here
Vulnerable children
An estimated 1.5 million children around the world have lost at least one parent or grandparent to coronavirus, according to a new study published in The Lancet. Read the media release by Save the Children here.  
In state and territory news...

In Victoria, the state government announced that restrictions across Victoria will begin easing from Tuesday 27 July. Outside school hours care is permitted to resume but must operate following COVIDSafe protocols. 

In the ACT, the Children First Alliance has called on the state government to boost support for educators in the upcoming budget. 

In NSW, public schools across the state celebrated Education Week from 26–30 July. NSW Department of Education Secretary Georgina Harrisson says the week was a huge success

New edition of Every Child
Challenge your thinking on ethics, leadership and critical reflection and read words of wisdom from early childhood leader and advocate Ros Cornish as she heads for retirement. 
Be You and Victorian School Readiness Funding
Learn about the range of ways that you can engage with Be You to meet your Victorian School Readiness Funding goals and plans. Read the full story here.
New on The Spoke
Dr Jen Jackson prompts us to reflect and think about the importance of early learning and whether it ‘matters enough in Australia’.
ECA Shop: Science for children
In preparation for National Science Week, we’re sharing our favourite STEM resources, including this research-based resource for introducing science to young children from Marilyn Fleer.
ECA National Conference 2021
Attend the ECA National Conference 2021 from anywhere! This year’s conference is now fully virtual with more than 100 sessions in the full program, video presentations, a virtual exhibition hall, interactive networking and more!
Little Scientists 
Inviting early childhood educators and teachers to engage in inquiry-based, child-led STEM practices, this module unfolds what STEM in the early years looks like. 
ECA WebWatch—Issue 361,
August 2021.
Preference Centre