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By CELA 29 Nov, 2021

Discussing disability and inclusion — how toys can build empathy and open-mindedness

Once upon a time disability was a taboo topic. Today, awareness of disability is on the rise through events such as International Day of People with Disability (3 December) and the growing acknowledgement of disability in the community.

Many early educators are embracing the opportunity to open the discussion around disability and inclusion with children. We speak with Leanne Fretten of all-abilities childcare centre Mikarie about their child-first approach, ask author of 'What happened to you?' James Catchpole about avoiding the 'inspiration trope', and share how toys and resources such as dolls and books can promote empathy and open-mindedness. 

By CELA 29 Nov, 2021

Increased turnover and a need for targeted funding - new workforce report reveals challenges and solutions

A new report has been released examining ECEC workforce pressures which have been exacerbated by the pandemic, their impact on ECEC services, and possible ways forward for the sector. 

Written by CELA (Community Early Learning Australia), ELAA (Early Learning Association Australia) and CCC (Community Child Care Association), the report is based on findings from almost 750 respondents representing over 3,300 early education and care services across a wide range of service types. The report will be used to advocate for our workforce at both Federal and State levels of Government.

The report reveals that staff turnover has increased in 50% of services surveyed since the start of the pandemic, while nearly half of job vacancies in ECEC services remain unfilled. Services reported that poor pay and conditions contributed to a lack of applicants, while a lack of quality graduates contributed to jobs remaining vacant. 

By CELA 23 Nov, 2021

Are you prepared for a COVID closure? Learn from a CELA member's experience

We are currently seeing around 5-10 NSW early childhood services impacted by positive COVID cases per day. Of the services directed to close, many are directed to remain closed for between one to two weeks. Since the start of the Delta outbreak in June 2021, over 800 NSW services have been impacted by a positive case. 

Given 14 per cent of ECEC services in NSW have been impacted by temporary closure due to COVID-19, and children aged 0-4 cannot be vaccinated, it is reasonable to expect that it’s not a case of ‘if’ but ‘when’ COVID-19 will impact your service.   

CELA research and policy consultant Felicity Dunn shares how a COVID case impacted a CELA member service, and what you can do to prepare for a COVID case or close contact at your service in order to optimise communications and minimise operational and financial challenges.  

By Mandy Limb 15 Nov, 2021

How four little cameras helped facilitate greater connections with children and families

Partnerships with families are an important focus of the Early Years Learning Framework. Good partnerships and relationships can build belonging and inclusion, and contribute to a child’s wellbeing. 

As a result of lockdowns and tight restrictions on parents and carers visiting services, it has become more challenging to build partnerships and relationships with families. Earlier this year, the team at Coonara Early Learning Centre decided to purchase a set of take-home cameras affectionately known as Cheese, Pixel, Flash and Smiley as a way to get to know children and families better, and connect home to their centre. Director Mandy Limb shares details of the project, and what was learnt by children, families and educators along the way.  

By CELA 4 Nov, 2021

Do you have the right recipe for COVID safe, child focused end of year celebrations?

There's such a lot to think about as we plan for end of year celebrations this year. How do we 'celebrate’ a year that has been so challenging for so many? How can we make our celebrations COVID safe and inclusive for families who are uncomfortable with being back in the community? And how can we ensure that festivities are child centred, rather than focusing on ‘photo worthy’ moments for parents and carers?  

We take a look at how end of year celebrations can be child focused and COVID safe while also including families, and how one service ditched the traditional graduation ceremony for individual celebrations that make the children feel like royalty. 

By CELA 2 Nov, 2021

We need a national ECEC strategy to protect young children from COVID

Experts are calling for a national strategy to protect children aged 0-4 from COVID-19. The Mitchell Institute last week released a report examining the risks of COVID-19 to young children, the risk of children transmitting the virus, and the strategies ECEC needs to implement to reduce the risk of transmission. 

We take you through important points from the report, what the Mitchell Institute recommends for mitigating the risk of transmission in ECEC settings, and why Australia needs to rethink how it funds and delivers ECEC services, to ensure that this essential service is never again under threat. 

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