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How you can join Early Education Leaders Peer Network

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Being a leader in early education and care can sometimes feel overwhelming and isolating, particularly if you are located in a regional or rural area, or if you don’t have a network of peers to lean on for support and advice.

From today until the end of June 2021, NSW early education leaders are invited to join a new Early Education Leaders Peer Network.

The Network includes a forum moderated by three Champions chosen for their early childhood education expertise, as well as a vast repository of curated resources and access to free professional development opportunities.

We chat with CELA CEO Michele Carnegie about how the initiative came about, and share ways that you can get involved.


CELA has established the Early Education Leaders Peer Network program – funded by the NSW Department of Education Early Education’s Sector Development Program – as an independent network for NSW educators in service based leadership roles such as Directors and Educational Leaders. It will be governed by a group of selected Network Champions.

“While CELA has provided the foundations, opportunity and space for members to connect as a group, ideally the network will quickly find its own form,” CELA CEO Michele Carnegie explains. “It is a particularly relevant initiative as leaders seek innovation and creativity to successfully lead teams while managing the complexity of an early education service.”

The initiative is aimed at:

  • connecting a group of people who share a concern or a passion and helping them to enhance practice together;
  • helping leaders to feel supported and well-resourced to undertake their role, and
  • ensuring leaders have the resources and knowledge to lead improvements in practice.

What the program includes

The three-month pilot includes a dedicated website with a member-only forum and an online resource library of information, research and tools. Topical issues will be explored via mini-conferences and small events organised by CELA and the Champions based on areas of interest defined by the Network.

About the Champions

The Early Education Leaders Peer Network Champions were selected from a wide group of applicants after a thorough review process. Appointed for their wide range of experience in the sector and knowledge of governance, the Champions will govern the network and be integral to shaping a community that works with and for its members.

The Champions are:

  • Narelle Myers, Bermagui Preschool, Bermagui;
  • Jannelle Gallagher, retired early childhood teacher and academic, Canberra, and
  • Ashleigh Thomas, Busy Bees Long Day Care, Sydney.

How you can get involved

Membership of the Peer Network is free and voluntary to all early education leaders in NSW. To participate, all you need to do is fill in a short application form after clicking the apply button on the website.

How you will benefit

  • You will gain insights to help you elevate the quality of your practice and leadership knowledge.
  • You will gain access to a like-minded network focused on collaboration through accessible platforms where challenges can be shared, innovation explored, and new ways of thinking ignited.
  • You will be part of a peer-to-peer network/community to enhance professional growth.

We know from member feedback that forming a cohort of mutually supportive early education professionals will assist in reducing the isolation expressed by many leaders and can build confidence to enhance professional practice.

“A peer network model can identify common professional challenges and explore potential solutions through discussion forums, workshops, shared experience, expertise and information,” says Ms Carnegie. “Examining the efforts of others in a cohort, discussing what works, and sharing every day inspirations can bring a sense of connectedness and help a group to advance together.”

The Network will be transferred to the NSW Department of Education to continue running the program from the 1st of July

For further information about how to join the Peer Network to find out more including a link to join the Network, please head to the new peer network website.

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