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Did you miss it? Top five from 2018

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Welcome back to Amplify in 2019.

We’re starting the year in traditional style, looking forward and back.

Looking ahead, there’s a story tapping into the New Year resolutions many of you are making to improve your own and the children’s physical activity and guess what? Research is saying that improving educator and parent activity is one of the best ways to improve children’s movement.  You can read about it here.

Looking back, reflecting on the year just gone, is something many of us will do throughout January as we plan our year and consider ways to keep improving our services.

And since you always love an ICYMI* – we went to the stats dashboard and pulled up the top five stories from 2018.  Don’t start the new year already behind! Catch up on any articles you missed here and then charge ahead into 2019.

Let’s get going with the fifth most read story of 2018:

5. Embedding Aboriginal perspectives

Meaningfully including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives in an early learning curriculum (17 April, 2018)

In 2018, we committed to sharing more stories of respect and reconciliation for Australia’s first people. Even so, this article submitted in April by Louise Grigg was an unexpected joy on our editorial calendar and, it seems, a very popular read among our Amplify audience. Louise tells her story of finding a path to meaningful curriculum inclusions and she shares it in a a simple, practical way that appealed to many other educators in 2018. As Louise wrote:

Our families are now saying that they are learning a lot about the histories, culture and language of our first peoples from their children.

We hear the Wiradjuri language being used and we know from our group discussions that children are building knowledge and respect.

We believe reconciliation must start in early childhood so children will take what they learn into adulthood.  We can then walk as one with respect for each other.

Read Embedding Aboriginal perspectives.

Keep calm and meet the assessor

4. Keep calm and QIP it

The story of an unexpected assessment and rating visit (19 March, 2918)

What would you do if your service only had one business day to submit a Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) and just eight business days to prepare for an assessment and rating by the NSW regulatory authority? This happened to Emma Armitage, Centre Coordinator of Victoria Avenue Children’s Centre, a 47-place long-day care service managed by the City of Canada Bay, Sydney, when their written notification was lost in the mail. Emma’s been at the three-year-old service since day one and built her team from the ground up.

Many thousands of readers have learned from the experience of Emma and her team since this was first posted, and similar experiences were shared over on the CELA Facebook page when we posted the article there. It keeps getting clicks and probably will do for many years because it’s a great story with a solution that goes right to the heart of the national quality philosophy.

This commenter, Michelle, summed it up.

A similar situation for us – although our notification was lost in the internal mail system of our organisation.

The A & R visit was really meaningful to us – it was the everyday us that was assessed. It felt raw and authentic -and that feels good.

Read Keep Calm and QIP it.

Amplify article by Bec Lloyd


3. The problem with mud kitchens

Nothing? Everything? Climate change? Too many rocks in the rock cakes? (31 October, 2018)

Since the introduction of Quality Area 3 – Physical Environment, with its welcome focus on both ‘sustainability’ and outdoor play, many services have escaped the old ‘plastic fantastic’ and ramped up their external environment for children.

Worm farms, raised garden beds, and, of course, a mud kitchen, have become highly desirable assets, with the latter particularly fuelled by the designer-led obsession this century for recycled timber pallet furniture.

The mud kitchens of today are increasingly sophisticated miniatures of the home version, complete with pot racks, metal basins and taps, but adding the element of recycled pallet or decking timbers ticks the sustainability box too – winner-winner, right?

This story, with its wide range of opinions on a seemingly simple piece of equipment, continues to be shared in social media and read by new people on this site every day. What do you think?

Read The problem with mud kitchens.

preschool graduation part one

2. Preschool graduations part 1

Caps and gowns, hall hire and baby limousines, who are these miniature ceremonies really for? (6 November, 2018)

“We know it is vitally important that significant transitions are acknowledged and celebrated with our children,” wrote Danielle Bopping.

“It is even more important that we are consulting with children to ensure we are doing this in a way that is meaningful for them.”

The response to this article was enormous and it is classic Amplify fare: thought-provoking, well-presented and told directly from the heart and mind of an engaged and experienced educator.

Said one commenter, Linda:

The mantra of “because the parents want it” can lead us to over-ride our professional knowledge and wisdom.

We have a responsibility to plan things with families, that are in the best interests of children.

This is not always what the parents expect, so we need to be able to explain our knowledge and professional beliefs well.

Read Preschool Graduation Days part one and part two

Ready for number one?

(The hint was in the blog header for this post!)


Handprint art - craft or craptivity?

Do you stand by the hand(print)?

A provocative discussion of craft, caring, and craptivity (31 October, 2018)

If it’s Australia in October you can guarantee that it’s the beginning of the annual Craptivity Debate – an event which begins with outrage over cultural appropriation for Halloween crafts. It usually peaks at Christmas but continues to rumble on over Easter and through to Mothers Day in May the following year.  The arguments take many forms but tend to burn hottest around the use of children’s hand and foot prints in artworks and paper crafts intended as gifts for parents. This is described across a range of opinions from ‘SO CUUUUUTE!!!’ to ‘Technically child abuse’.

Ah well. It’s not a new argument, but there’s always a new voice or two worth listening to, and in this case Anne Peters and Sandi Phoenix provided such a sweeping overview of the issue for Amplify that the story took off and became our Most Read of 2018!

Read Do you stand by the hand(print)?


*ICMYI stands for In Case You Missed It.  No matter how many thousands of clicks, views or shares each of our stories receives, we know that information overload means there are always many more readers who either missed a story from our weekly email update or set it aside to read later and never found the time. Enjoy the chance to catch up on the top five from 2018 and we look forward to bringing you even more in 2019 – and if your new year’s resolutions include writing for Amplify, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your story idea.

Bec Lloyd, Editor









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