(Optional) This text will appear in the inbox preview, but not the email body. It can be used to supplement the email subject line or even summarize the email's contents. Extended text preheaders (~490 characters) seems like a better UX for anyone using a screenreader or voice-command apps like Siri to dictate the contents of an email. If this text is not included, email clients will automatically populate it using the text (including image alt text) at the start of the email's body.
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The latest in early childhood news

In this issue… the federal government announces services in COVID-19 hotspots can waive gap fees for families; new data from Kids Helpline reveals children as young as five are calling the virtual counselling service; and early learning services impacted by COVID-19 may be eligible for a Community Child Care Fund Special Circumstances Grant. Rainbow Families is hosting a free webinar on how to include diverse families in Father’s Day celebrations; researchers from the University of Southampton highlight how learning from home has increased inequalities for disadvantaged children; and participate in National Child Protection Week 2021

Find the latest in state and territory news and jump down to read what ECA teams have been doing.
Gap fee waiver 
On Monday (16 July), the federal government announced that it is enacting a blanket rule to allow early childhood education and care services in COVID-19 hotspots the option to waive gap fees for families using their service. Meanwhile, early learning services are reaching breaking point.
Kids Helpline calls
Data from the latest report released by Kids Helpline has shown a 200% increase in counselling calls from children as young as five over the first six months of 2021. Yourtown CEO Tracy Adams, whose organisation runs the Kids Helpline, said children are citing issues including emotional wellbeing, loss or grief concerns.
Special circumstances support 
Early childhood education and care services impacted by an unexpected event, including COVID-19, may be eligible for a Community Child Care Fund Special Circumstances Grant (CCCF). Find out more about the CCCF grant here.​​
Family diversity workshops 
Rainbow Families is hosting a free webinar for schools to learn how to include diverse families in the lead-up to Father’s Day and in preparation for Mother’s Day. Join the online event on Wednesday 25 August at 3.30 pm. Click here to register. 
Home learning disadvantage
A new study by researchers at the University of Southampton in England has shown that learning from home is exacerbating inequalities in learning opportunities for disadvantaged children. Learn more here
Child protection week
The countdown to National Child Protection Week has begun. Running from 5–11 September, educators and services can attend online webinars focusing on the theme ‘Every child, in every community, needs a fair go’. Get involved in National Child Protection Week here.  
Write for AJEC
Early Childhood Australia is hosting a free webinar for academics and research students who are interested in writing or reviewing articles in the Australasian Journal of Early Childhood (AJEC). The webinar will be held 25 August at noon (EST). Join the webinar here.
In state and territory news...

In Victoria, the state government will give Victorian children starting their education at Three-Year-Old Kinder in 2022 a special Kinder Kit

In NSW, parents of newborns and toddlers impacted by current COVID-19 restrictions can access a range of free Karitane virtual early childhood health services.  
In Tasmania, students at Spreyton Primary School are learning in a new purpose-built Kindergarten

​​​​​​For helpful links and resources about COVID-19 restrictions and its impact on early childhood education and care services, visit ECA's COVID-19 page here.

STEM in early childhood education
This edition of the Research in Practice Series helps educators to implement hands-on, inquiry-based pedagogies within the STEM disciplines for young children.
Start with wellbeing
If you’re unsure about where to start with Be You, consider focusing on educator wellbeing. This is a powerful way to show appreciation in the workplace. Read more here
New on The Spoke
Share your opinion on young children’s use of digital technology. Researchers at Macquarie University aim to explore what people think about screen-based play for children; and Tanya Burr defends the term ‘care’ in the sector, following her blog on referring to the sector as an ‘industry’.
ECA Shop: Planners
Our planners are back! With six amazing covers to choose from, designed by children in services across Australia, it’s going to be hard to pick a favourite. 

ECA National Conference 2021
​​​​The highly anticipated now fully virtual ECA National Conference is less than a month away! Register here. If you have been financially impacted by COVID, work in a regional or remote area or with disadvantaged or at-risk children, you may be eligible for one of our Conference Scholarships. View details here.
Wellbeing matters 
Join Rod Soper for this series of interactive webinars examining the concept of personal wellbeing and how to establish a culture of wellbeing in ECEC.
ECA WebWatch—Issue 362,
August 2021.
Preference Centre