The aim of the movement is to create momentum to drive change in early childhood development as we have seen in the disability sector.
Thrive by Five launch reveals a groundswell of support
Over 700 sector and business leaders, parents, politicians, educators, and community organisations from across Australia attended the online launch on Tuesday 1 August, showing that there is a groundswell of support for the movement.
The launch focused on the multiple benefits of early childhood education – to children and families and to the economy.
Economic and childhood development gains
Nicola Forrest, Co-founder of the Minderoo Foundation, highlighted that the evidence around the importance of early childhood education has been known for decades and that it produces a triple dividend in nurturing children, enabling parents – especially women – to work and improving children’s brain development in the longer term.
Professor Fiona Stanley, a vocal advocate for the needs of children and their families, spoke about the importance of early childhood development in enabling the majority of young people to reach their potential.
“There’s an urgent and anguishing need to intervene early rather than focus on the end of a young person’s pathway when change is harder, more costly and less effective,” said Professor Stanley.
A range of speakers, including Michele O’Neil from the ACTU, Kate Carnell (Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman), Libby Lyons from WGEA, Georgie Dent from the Parenthood, plus a number of parents, spoke of economic gains to be made if women are supported to enter work at the same level as men.
Key points were made about the cost of childcare acting as a limit on how much work women undertake, and limiting the growth of small businesses which are vital to our economic recovery.
Valuing our ECEC workforce
Issues affecting the ECEC workforce were raised by a number of speakers, including an early childhood educator, as well as participants in the discussion.
This included the need to value the workforce for the pivotal role they perform.
Speakers shone a light on the stress that COVID-19 has placed on the workforce, as well as emerging workforce shortages. They also highlighted that the COVID model of ‘free childcare’ was actually subsidised by early childhood education services and that a fairer and more sustainable model would need to be built for the future.
It was acknowledged that some vulnerable children attended for the first time, or increased their hours, during the ‘free childcare’ period.
Improving access for all children
A range of former politicians including John Hewson, Julie Bishop, CEO of Thrive by Five Jay Weatherill and Adrian Piccoli spoke about the strategy for improving access to early childhood education.
The discussion centred on how to achieve this reform, which included the States taking ownership of quality early childhood education.
We support Thrive by Five – here’s how you can get involved
The Thrive by Five campaign resonates with CELA as it addresses our key advocacy goals of quality, vulnerability, viability and workforce, with a focus on rural and regional areas.
At its heart, it is about ensuring all children across the country have access to quality early childhood education and development.
It provides CELA with an opportunity to showcase and draw on the strong role our providers play in their community.
Together we can help shape a system that ensures the viability of quality services that are centred on improving child outcomes. It also recognises the vital importance of workforce development when it comes to supporting children to thrive.
CELA invites you to sign the open letter to government at https://thrivebyfive.org.au/ as a first step.
We look forward to informing you as the campaign progresses.
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