The idea was like a light-bulb turning on in my brain. I was attending a fantastic professional learning event in Sydney last year, all about new research ideas for children in the first two years. We were looking at some amazing new technological innovations for reading children’s physical and non-verbal cues, and how these could be communicated to educators.
Just over five years ago, I stood with a group of early childhood educators and United Voice members in one of the many gardens at Parliament House, and listened to these words from the man who would become Australia’s Opposition Leader.
“It is no longer enough, I think, for Australia to rely upon the emotional, the intellectual and indeed the physical efforts of Australia’s childcare workers and not adequately remunerate them.
“It is no longer enough, in Australia, that we say to marvellous professional childcare workers, for whom we entrust the development and the safety of our children and for whom these people commit emotionally to our kids every day and to say that there’s nothing that can be done about your low level of remuneration.”
Despite only making up 3.9% of the early childhood educator workforce in “long day care” settings, men account for 54% of top leadership roles.
As early childhood professionals, we play a significant role in the lives of young children. We are in a position to support their learning and wellbeing, and have a profound affect on their lifelong disposition for learning. The National Quality Framework reforms are a reflection on how important early childhood education is, both in Australia and internationally.
Another quick self-promotion break – the podcast I’ve been making with my friends and colleagues Lisa and Leanne hit our tenth regular episode this week.
As with all professions, it’s important to be continuous learners. No matter what our current level of qualification, there’s always more to learn and be challenged by. That’s why ongoing professional learning and development is so important. It means we can keep up-to-date with the latest research and thinking about the work we do.
For early childhood educators, this is even more important. Research and thinking about learning in the Birth – 5 years has dramatically increased recently, and every day seems to reaffirm how important those foundational years are. The knowledge that underpins the sector is changing and updating all the time, which means we need to change and update our thinking all the time as well!
Please forgive this quick bit of self-publicity.
Today myself and two of my favourite people in the early childhood sphere launched the first episode of the Early Education Show.
We’re excited and enjoying this little experiment in a new medium for the important issues affecting young children and early learning to be discussed, debated and analysed.
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, I’d really appreciate you giving it a go.
It’s 26 July 2016. I live in a country that abuses children.
Not by accident. Not as a result of rogue operators, or an imperfect system.
As the result of policies and systems that work exactly as they are designed to.
Tonight, as a direct result of the policies of our Federal Government which are overwhelmingly endorsed by the majority of the Australian community, a second asylum seeker has set themselves on fire on Nauru.
I’m pondering a lengthier post on the challenges to ECEC advocacy some point the line that will no doubt refer heavily to the work she has done over the past 6 years or so, but for now I just want to briefly (and sadly) note that Community Child-Care Co-operative announced today that their CEO Leanne Gibbs will be leaving the role in June.
Others that know Leanne far better than I will be in a better position to praise her work in that role. I’m literally writing this about 20 minutes after learning of the news, so for now I want to say a personal thank you to her for a couple of things.
Firstly, Leanne has on a number of occasions taken a risk in working with me in some speaking and writing capacities. Someone once said to me that I “don’t work well with others”, and while that is certainly true for many in the sector, I do want to work with organisations like CCCC that put children squarely at the centre of their work – even with the political risks that can follow. This is obviously a fairly self-interested thank you, but I will say it anyway!
Secondly, Leanne has guided CCCC through a challenging time for the sector. Large-scale reforms like the NQF, endless inquiries and Governments at a State and Federal hostile to any advocacy could have seen CCCC become neutered or soft-touch. Instead, their advocacy has become crystal clear and part of the national conversation. Check out their submission to the Productivity Commission as a fantastic example of accessible advocacy that tackles a wide range of complicated issues. CCCC has been the standard-bearer for greater investment in NSW preschools for what seems like forever, despite the potential impact on their relationship with the NSW Government.
Leanne leaves CCCC as the most courageous and consistently child-focused advocacy organisation in Australia. I’ll have to steal a favoured compliment from a long-term colleague of mine here, which I leave as the highest tribute I can offer:
Australia’s children thank you.