The latest in early childhood news...


In this issue... Several states reveal their plans to keep children accessing early learning; the National Cabinet agrees to a national education and early childhood education and care (ECEC) framework; and The Guardian explores the impact of COVID-19 on children’s mental health. Changes to the Child Care Subsidy (CCS) come into effect from 7 March; the 2022 NAIDOC local grants funding round has opened; and educators in the U.S. say they’ve hit ‘pandemic rock bottom’. Finally, the Department of Education, Skills and Employment announces new regulations on gap fee waiving and allowable absences.


Scroll down to read more, to find the latest in state and territory news and to read what ECA teams have been doing.


Back to school


Several states across Australia have included support measures for ECEC staff in their 2022 back-to-school plans including free rapid antigen tests, masks and vaccine booster shots. Click here to read an article summarising the plans for each state.

National ECEC Framework


On 13 January 2022, National Cabinet agreed to promote a framework and nationally consistent approach to the ongoing delivery of high-quality education and early learning for all children during the COVID-19 pandemic. View the framework here.

Children's mental health


The impact and stressors of COVID-19 on children’s mental health have again come to the fore with return-to-school discussions. Published in The Guardian, this article aims to provide simple, evidence-based ways to promote children’s mental health.

NAIDOC grants


The 2022 NAIDOC local grants funding round has opened. ECEC services and other community organisations are encouraged to apply for a grant to support their NAIDOC week (3–10 July 2022.) activities. Apply here.

Higher CCS


From Monday 7 March 2022, families with more than one child aged five or under enrolled in ECEC will get a higher subsidy for their second child and younger children. For more information, click here.

Pandemic rock bottom


Families and early childhood educators in America say they have hit pandemic rock bottom with repeated quarantines and major uncertainty on what health advice to follow. Click here to learn more.

Finding early learning


The way families find ECEC services is changing. From 7 February 2022, providers’ fees, vacancies, quality ratings and inclusions will be published on To learn more, visit the Department of Education, Skills and Employment’s website here.

Gap fee waiving and absences update 


The Department of Education, Skills and Employment has announced services can waive the gap fee and receive Child Care Subsidy (CCS) for one of four reasons, until 30 June 2022. They’re also providing unlimited allowable absences throughout January and February 2022, in response to Omicron. (This doesn’t apply in Western Australia.)

In state and territory news...


In NSW, Premier Dominic Perrottet released the state’s COVID-smart plan to start the 2022 school year. The NSW Department of Education also provides regular sector updates available here.


In Victoria, Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Education James Merlino announced a plan to keep education settings open during COVID-19.


In the ACT, early childhood educators and teachers have priority access to receive their COVID-19 booster shot.


In WA, Minister for Child Protection the Hon Simone McGurk is reminding early learning operators to ensure children are adequately protected from the sun and hot equipment this summer. Meanwhile, more than 27,000 children aged five to 11 in the state have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.


In the NT, the state government has announced its plan to keep children safe and learning ahead of the 2022 school year.

ECA National Conference 2022


Applications to present at the 2022 ECA National Conference close this Friday 28 January. Apply now.  

New on The Spoke


ECA caught up with two members of the ECA Reconciliation Action Group to talk about the complexities around 26 January. We also share an article on the Self-Reg early childhood educator by Stuart Shanker.

AJEC Research Symposium


The 2022 AJEC Research Symposium is only a couple of weeks away (10–11 February). Explore the program and secure your spot here.

Coronavirus resources


Be You's coronavirus resources can help your learning community navigate the mental health and wellbeing challenges posed by the pandemic. Beyond Blue’s Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service is also here to support educators and families. 

New issue of Every Child 


Reflect on 2021 with Jackie Brien and Peta Fitzpatrick, meet the Narragunnawali award winners and explore how music can transform chaos to calm. Purchase the latest issue of Every Child here.

Imagine This


Join Dr Kate Highfield and Dr Nij Lal for the Learning Hub’s new module, Exploring science content knowledge with ABC Kids Listen podcast: Imagine This.

Bila Yarrudhanggalangdhuray


Set on Wiradyuri Country and based on devastating true events, Anita Heiss’s latest book is an epic story of love, loss and belonging. Purchase a copy from the ECA Shop here.

© Early Childhood Australia 2022
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