By CELA 18 Nov, 2022

Celebrating Maria Pender's lifelong career in early childhood education

Recently, Maria Pender retired from CELA's board after a lifetime career in early childhood education.

Maria Pender is a woman who believes that if you can do something to make a difference, then that’s what you should do. Over her long and respected career as an early childhood educator, Maria made a difference in the lives of many children, educators and families. 

We celebrate Maria's career highlights and share how she went from working in a local kindergarten aged 11, to championing sustainability and innovation as the Director of Clovelly Child Care Centre and setting up programs at Macquarie University that enabled Indigenous students to become early childhood teachers. 

By Meg Anastasi 14 Nov, 2022

Tips for communicating respectfully with children

Children learn a lot about conversations from speaking with adults. Speaking respectfully with children will help them learn how to speak respectfully with friends and adults, contributing to their social and emotional development.

Early Childhood Teacher Meg Anastasi shares some tips and ideas about how to speak respectfully with children in various early childhood education situations. 

By CELA 7 Nov, 2022

How understanding neuroscience can help us support children’s behaviour

Supporting children during moments of stress or when confronted with behaviours of concern can be challenging in a busy early education and care space, but it is vital that educators feel confident and capable during these situations. Having an understanding of how children’s brains respond to stress can equip educators with the knowledge and framework required to confidently support children to navigate these moments. 

In this article, we explore why it’s beneficial to understand neuroscience when working with children. We provide a topline overview of key neuroscience concepts and how different parts of the brain affect a child’s response to stimuli, and share tips from CELA trainer Kerrie Maguire on how educators can help children by boosting the right brain chemicals through relationships, responses and activities.  

By CELA 1 Nov, 2022

New Federal Government budget—what it means for our sector

The Treasurer delivered the interim Federal Budget on Tuesday, 25 October 2022. Early education and care was a focus due to the Cheaper Child Care legislation, which will largely benefit young families.

The interim budget delivered on its election promise regarding cheaper child care, addressing affordability and access for vulnerable children. We are pleased with these measures as they align with CELA's advocacy pillars and our 6 Point Plan for Education and Care, addressing issues we have advocated for over many years.

As expected, the budget did not address early education and care wages. There will be another window for this to be addressed in the May budget, particularly given the Cheaper Childcare Bill will create even more demand for our workforce when it is implemented. We will continue our relentless advocacy to influence for wages to be addressed in the lead-up to the May budget.

By CELA 20 Oct, 2022

Focus on ethics: Should nappy changing facilities be included in preschools?

Historically, nappy change facilities haven’t been included in every preschool service. However, history isn’t always the best determinant of how we should do things now and into the future.

As part of CELA’s consultancy work, we often come across early education and care services that cater to the 3+ age group that do not include nappy change facilities. This includes both newly built services and renovations of existing services.

In this week’s Amplify! we explore the legal and ethical implications of not including nappy change facilities to help services make informed decisions in line with current practice.

By CELA 14 Oct, 2022

The benefits of expanding our notion of risky play

Risk-taking is an important ingredient in the optimal early childhood recipe, but we need to expand our definition of risky play to encompass more than climbing trees and knocking nails in with hammers.  

Risky play also involves taking emotional risks, delving into unfamiliar situations and facing social challenges that build emotional resilience. We explore the benefits of all types of risky play, how we can change our mindset around risky play, and how we can support children to take appropriate risks.  

By Niki Ficsor 7 Oct, 2022

How we engaged our local community during Child Protection Week

Inspired by the Child Safe Standards and the Child Protection Week 2022 theme of "Every child, in every community, needs a fair go", staff at Victoria Avenue Children’s Centre in Sydney's Concord West decided to explore opportunities for actively adovcating for child protection in their community. 

Niki Ficsor, Educational Leader and Preschool Room Leader, discusses how they worked with the children to develop a community engagement and information campaign.

By CELA 4 Oct, 2022

Implementing the Child Safe Standards at St Luke's Preschool Dapto

Many service directors are enthusiastic about implementing the Child Safe Standards but may be looking for tips on how to engage the entire team. 

Director of St Luke's Preschool Dapto Vikki Shaw shares how they have approached the implementation to date, and how they are thinking beyond the preschool staff to support the broader community. 

By CELA 30 Sep, 2022

The benefits of distributed leadership at Euroka Children's Centre

At Euroka Children’s Centre in the NSW Blue Mountains suburb of Blaxland, leadership opportunities are open to educators of all levels. All educators are also given non-contact programming time to develop and realise these opportunities and the projects that arise from them.  

We speak to Director Lorriene Bullivant, who's been working in the sector for 40 years, about how this model of distributed leadership came about and how it benefits staff, children and the community.  

By University of Sydney 23 Sep, 2022

What the Early Learning Work Matters project revealed

Reports of the ECEC workforce crisis, educator burnout, insufficient pay, and a lack of professional respect have recently been prevalent in the media. These reports are backed up by studies such as CELA’s Early Childhood Education and Care Workforce Survey Pulse Check, which showed that demand for places, alongside staff absences due to illnesses, professional fatigue and caring for sick family members, are impacting services’ capacity to operate.  

The University of Sydney is currently conducting a study called the Early Learning Work Matters Project (ELWM). The study aims to provide more information about educator workload and how it relates to quality education and care. This week we share results from the study’s initial phase and how you can share your experiences relating to workload through their survey.  

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