EarlyEdition SUMMER 2019
Kids Alive: Summer Safety Warning Culture Inclusivity Bay Explorers Be You and Educator Wellbeing
ACA Qld 2020 Diary made by the sector, for the sector
ORDER YOUR COPY TODAY! Available in the ACA Qld Shop! The diary for all educators
• 27.6 cm x 19.8 cm, spiral bound • Week to an opening • Monthly tabs • Monthly National Quality Standard checklists and reminders • State and Territory School Term Dates, public holidays • Yearly Planner • Plenty of writing space for notes, reflections, meetings, family feedback and more • National events and activities • Important contacts • Yearly reference calendars
Visit www.qld.childcarealliance.org.au to order yours today!
EarlyEdition SUMMER 2019
Location: 11/6 Vanessa Boulevard, Springwood Mailing: PO Box 137, Springwood QLD 4127 Telephone: (07) 3808 2366 Fax: (07) 3808 2466 Toll Free: 1300 365 325 (outside Brisbane) Web: www.qld.childcarealliance.org.au Email: email@example.com
ACA Qld Presidentâ€™s Report
ACA Presidentâ€™s Report
Summer Safety Warning
Indigenous Learning with our Local School Students
The 5 most surprising benefits of compliance
Be You and Educator Wellbeing
Inclusivity Embedding Cultural Perspectives
Piecing Together Play
Get to know your new CAECE manager
Defibrillators Save Lives
Bush Kindy at Bright Beginnings Kindy B
Educator in Profile: Kathryn McDonald
Ten Tips for Choosing the Right Technology for your Organisation
Am I Happy?
Supporter Members Directory
Disclaimer: Articles published in this magazine are published as a service to readers and should not be substituted for specific advice in relation to any issue. While advertising in this magazine is encouraged, ACA Qld accepts no responsibility for the contents of the advertisements. Advertisements are accepted in good faith and liability for advertising content, goods or services supplied is the responsibility of the advertiser.
MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE Executive
ACA Qld Office
President - Majella Fitzsimmons
General Manager - Brent Stokes
Vice President - Jae Fraser
Office Manager - Jen Smyth
Treasurer - Doug Burns
Office Admin Assistant - Letitia Murphy
Secretary - Debra North
Marketing and Communications Officer - Brianna Salmond
EARLY EDITION > SUMMER 2019
ACA Queensland President’s Report Welcome to the last quarterly magazine for 2019! I would like to thank all our valuable members for your support of ACA Qld. Your attendance at member meetings, participation in surveys and contributions to our quarterly publications are greatly appreciated. Our member meetings held in September were again very popular and we would like to thank Sophie from ABLA for the video update. We held our 2019 AGM where the election for positions on the Management Committee took place. All Executive positions ran unopposed, myself (President), Jae Fraser (Vice President), Debra North (Secretary) and Doug Burns (Treasurer) are congratulated for nominating for another two-year term. We would like to congratulate and welcome back Committee Members Linda Davies, Kerrie Lada, Pam Maclean, Rosa McDonald, Katy Paton and Louise Thomas to the general committee. Early Childhood Educator’s Day is celebrated each year on the first Wednesday in September so we encourage you to highlight Wednesday 2 September 2020 in your diary and begin brainstorming creative ways to celebrate all the special educators in your early learning service! ACA Qld continue to work closely with all sides and levels of Government, Department of Education and other key stakeholders in the sector. Over the past quarter we have consulted on a raft of submissions including the NQF review, ACECQA review, Melbourne Declaration review, Optimising outcomes for children, Universal Access National Partnership Review (Nationally), Mid-Year Budget, Inquiry into the Family Assistance Legislation Amendment and Australian Building Codes Board. Many of these submissions are publicly available on our ACA National website at childcarealliance.org.au.
EARLY EDITION > SUMMER 2019
I am sure you are all across the KindyLinQ pilot program announcement and our subsequent member alert. We are currently seeking to meet with all relevant parties to understand this policy and desired outcomes. We appreciate your patience and support as we navigate through this important issue. The Australian Government introduced a Bill into the Parliament that proposes a number of minor amendments to the Family Assistance Law, which aim to cut red tape and improve the operation of the Child Care Subsidy (CCS). We trust further consultation with the sector will take place to develop new rules should the Bill pass through Parliament. The full member alert can be found on our website. I am pleased to be participating in the ACCS (child wellbeing) enhancements group where we are continuously exploring ways of improvement, providing information for providers and services. It has been rewarding sharing information with the Department from our members who have experienced difficulty with accessing information. Industrial Relations engagement continues with ACA providing our final closing submission to the ERO / Work value case on Friday 30 August. The Government will make a submission and the Fair work commission will potentially call parties back for further appearances to request response to questions. Much time will be spent deliberating and we anticipate a decision in Q1 2020. The 4-year Modern Award review decision is still expected in Q4 2019, at that time we will know the outcomes to both the Union and ACA’s substantive claims. I would personally like to thank all witnesses for their significant contribution to the cases.
The 2020 conference theme is Early Education…An endless adventure. The program this year includes a standout line-up of speakers including Anthony Semann and Dr Kaylene Henderson to name a few. Early Bird registrations are now open, visit our website and make sure to like and follow us on social media to stay up to date with all things conference. On behalf of ACA Qld, I would like to congratulate Marco on achieving 25 years at Modern Teaching Aids (MTA). Thank you for all your support for ACA Qld over the years. With 2020 just around the corner, it is not too late to order your ACA Qld 2020 Diary! For your chance to have this amazing resource please visit the shop located on our website or contact the office on 07 3808 2366 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Over the Christmas break CAECE trainers will continue to be assisting and supporting students. If you have any questions or need further assistance, please contact the CAECE team at email@example.com or 07 3299 5784. Thank you to our amazing office team and committee for your ongoing support and dedication to the early learning sector. We definitely couldn’t have done it without you. We hope our members have a safe and enjoyable festive season and we look forward to an action packed 2020. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Majella Fitzsimmons ACA Qld President
ACA President’s Report The past few months have seen our hard work engaging with the Department of Education paying off. We’re heartened that following the feedback from ACA as well as from the sector more broadly, the Australian Government is now seeking to address some of the problems identified regarding the Child Care Subsidy (CCS). The Hon. Dan Tehan, Minister for Education, has introduced a new Bill called the Family Assistance Legislation Amendment (Building on the Child Care Package) Bill 2019, to the Parliament of Australia. The Bill aims to streamline the processes around the delivery of the CCS, with some policy refinements and a number of clarifying and technical amendments. This is a really positive outcome. We believe our engagement with government has been instrumental in getting these issues heard and acted on, and we’re extremely grateful for the ongoing dialogue with our members since the introduction of the CCS. We simply couldn’t have instigated such change without your valuable inputs. ACA has responded formally to the Government’s Inquiry into the new Bill with a formal submission, and we will continue to engage with the government on this important matter, and keep members posted as updates come to hand. We also recently submitted ACA contributions to the Universal Access National Partnership review, the Education Council’s Melbourne Declaration Review and the Inclusion Support Program Review, along with a Mid-year Budget Submission to Treasury.
These submissions reflect ACA’s firm position that all Australian children should have access to high quality affordable early learning services, and families should have the choice of service type that best suits their needs. You can access these online at www.childcarealliance.org.au/ advocacy/submissions. On a more light-hearted note, we hope you and your families made a special effort to acknowledge and thank your team of educators on Early Childhood Educators’ Day. We really enjoyed looking at all the photos that were posted online. On a final note, this is our final edition of Early Edition until the New Year, so I wish you all a safe and happy Christmas/New Year break. I’d like to thank all of our members for their ongoing engagement and support this year, particularly in the lead up to the May federal election. Together we can achieve incredible things! We look forward to working together to create even more positive outcomes for the early learning sector next year!
Paul Mondo National President Australian Childcare Alliance
EARLY EDITION > SUMMER 2019
Summer Safety Warning Emma Lawrence > Kids Alive
ACA Qld Patron and water safety advocate Laurie Lawrence is calling for all early childhood educators to be proactive this summer season and become champions of his Kids Alive - Do the Five program. This summer Laurie will distribute 50,000 free Kids Alive water safety packs to approved education and care services right across Australia. Laurie said, “Thanks to funding from the Australian Government we are able to share 4 books, a music CD and water safety DVD to help educate children under 5”. Many educators will already be familiar with the Boo’s Adventure packs which were originally released in September 2014. The resources revolved around education messages for pool, home, beach and farm water safety. Laurie believes that the Kids Alive packs have been significant in reducing drowning statistics for children under 5. Laurie said, “This year we saw a 30% reduction on the 10 year average but this is no cause for celebration. We must keep water safety front of mind. I know education saves lives.“ The 2018/19 Royal Life Saving Australia Report reveals: • 19 children aged 0-4 years drowned • 68% of all drowning deaths in the age group were males • Accidental falls into water remain the leading activity prior to drowning • Swimming pools are the most common location for drowning in children under 5
EARLY EDITION > SUMMER 2019
Professional Development Training https://kidsalive.ditaplayer.com.au/ earlylearning/signup/ Laurie is urging all Directors to sign their staff up for free water safety training. Laurie said,
“Last year we released a free online training program to showcase how to deliver water safety lessons to preschool age children. We have already had more than 1200 users sign up for the training.” The training was developed and presented by the Teaching Team at Bright Buttons Currumbin. The training takes approximately 30 minutes to complete, showcases the delivery of the lessons and how the children engage with the learning environment. Educators are also provided with example lesson plans which link to the National Quality Standards and the Early Years Learning Framework. Laurie explained that the PD training has a short survey at the end of the training which provides him with some valuable insights for the Kids Alive program and what he must do in the future.
User survey revealed the following: • 98% of users said water safety education was very important • 46% of users heard about the Kids Alive program from their workplace • Most of the users were from Qld (35%) and NSW (34%) • 36% of users had not implemented water safety education prior to training • 44% of users communicate and 51% planned to communicate with parents on water safety • 100% of users said the online training provided them with ideas and inspiration on how to deliver water safety lessons Laurie said,
“I want this training to be utilised across all states, not just Qld and NSW. Educators believe water safety is very important, but many have not yet implemented water safety education into their programs. I note with interest that educators are being very proactive communicating to parents, and this will save lives”.
Laurie plans to expand the Professional Development Training and has already started filming the next instalment which will showcase suitable lesson plans for younger learners. This time the lessons have been filmed at Bright Buttons Banora Point. Laurie said,
“If you have lesson plans to share please reach out to the Kids Alive team. We would love to be able to share these on our website or social media pages. The more ideas we can share with the early learning industry the better educational outcomes for children and their parents.“
Do the Five
Laurie’s Kids Alive Do The Five message remains so important. So let’s keep drumming the mantra because it will save lives. 1. Fence the pool 2. Shut the gate 3. Teach your kids to swim – it’s great 4. Supervise – watch your mate 5. And learn how to resuscitate
EARLY EDITION > SUMMER 2019
Indigenous Learning with our Local School Students Michelle Stanley > Teacher and QCCS Company ECT Mentor – The Prince Charles Early Education Centre.
At the Prince Charles Hospital Early Education Centre, our School Readiness children have been very privileged to have an exciting visit from students at our local school, Wavell Heights Primary. We first welcomed our young student guests with our Acknowledgement to Country song with actions, followed by the song Tabanaba, both of which our children sang with pride. How lucky we were to have our visitors bring along a variety of fun and entertaining activities for us to explore. Our children were very excited to gain more knowledge about indigenous culture as they warmly interacted with the students. They actively and enthusiastically participated in painting with beautiful earthy colours, listening to familiar indigenous stories including ‘How the Birds got their Colours’, and enjoyed
a fun beanbag tossing game. Our children also moved and grooved to the rhythm of the tapping sticks as they danced like a brolga, emu, and kangaroo! Our children enjoyed every minute as they eagerly embraced these wonderful experiences together, and the Wavell students were just fantastic in their thoughtful approach to teaching with such devotion and commitment to working with our young children. A huge thank you to Wavell Heights Primary School for sharing such wonderful learning experiences at our centre.
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EARLY EDITION > SUMMER 2019
The 5 most surprising benefits of compliance Barry Lehrer > CEO and Founder ChildHR
With all of the heart that goes into running an early learning service, meeting compliance standards can simply feel like ‘ticking boxes’, in comparison. But there’s more to compliance than meets the eye. In fact, the steps we take to stay compliant can actually help us create the kind of service, culture and customer satisfaction that drew us to our profession in the first place.
Here are the 5 most surprising benefits of being compliant: 1. Maintains your quality of service
4. Promotes open communication and staff retention
Keeping up-to-date with amendments to regulations will help you maintain your quality of service, professionalism and ultimately, customer satisfaction. By distributing these changes to your team, you’ll also be giving yourself the guidance you need to lead expert, meaningful discussions on daily practices.
Committing to the continuous improvement of your employees through performance reviews is one of smartest things you can do to create a workplace culture of open, supportive communication. Performance reviews also provide employee recognition - fostering morale and a longstanding staff.
2. Strengthens your team relationships Having centre policies, position descriptions and contracts readily available will help you build a solid rapport with your employees, based on a mutual understanding of roles and expectations. Need to resolve differences? Referring to these documents will help you do just that, in a professional, non-biased manner. 3. Ensures the development of your team - and the little ones
5. Saves time for what’s really important Having a document management system in place to store records and policies, track legislative changes, manage performance reviews, etc., saves time on administration, so we can focus on what really matters - the children we serve. And the more time we can devote to them, the better everyone will perform. Visit childhr.org.au/ACA to learn more.
Confirming your team have provided their qualifications and are renewing them when necessary is key to protecting the safety and learning of the children you look after. Also remember that updating your team’s knowledge whenever possible is one of the best ways to both empower and retain them.
EARLY EDITION > SUMMER 2019
Be You and Educator Wellbeing Maria Curtis, Be You Content Advisor > Be You
Be You assists the wellbeing of your whole learning community, including educators.
young people, families and the wider local community. This is a ‘whole learning community approach’.
As an educator, maintaining your wellbeing is important for you, and for supporting the wellbeing of others – the children, families and colleagues in your learning community. By taking responsibility for your mental health and wellbeing and, understanding it is fundamental for your personal and professional success, you are supporting the mental health and wellbeing of the whole learning community.
Wellbeing flourishes in a supportive and inclusive environment
As an educator in an early learning service, you play a central role in supporting positive mental health through your interactions with everyone in your learning community. You are often seen as a role model, which means everything you do has an influence on the wellbeing of your whole learning community, not only the children. Be You’s vision is that every learning community is positive, inclusive, and resilient – a place where every child, young person, educator and family can achieve their best possible mental health. The most effective approach to mental health prevention and promotion is one that involves the whole learning community – including leaders, educators, children and
EARLY EDITION > SUMMER 2019
Mental health and wellbeing flourishes in an environment where diversity is acknowledged and respected, and where everyone can feel valued and connected to their learning community. Learning communities are often comprised of children, families and educators from diverse cultures, family structures, abilities and learning styles. You have the opportunity to facilitate connections between members of your community by fostering positive relationships between all members, and by working with colleagues to create an inclusive and respectful environment. Positive relationships support mental health and wellbeing As educators, it is important to focus on your own wellbeing and the wellbeing of your colleagues. This starts with your everyday interactions and relationships. Positive and respectful relationships are fundamental in creating a mentally healthy community where everyone feels a sense of belonging and connectedness.
Relationships in learning communities are not just between yourself and children, but also between you and families and between you and your colleagues. Educator wellbeing and your learning community Wellbeing encompasses the health of the whole person: physical, mental, social and emotional. It is about balance in all aspects of life. If you are feeling stressed or tired this can impact on your interactions, and consequently your relationships with children, families and colleagues. Maintaining positive mental health and wellbeing can be challenging at times, depending on workloads, workplace environments and relationships, and personal, professional and community responsibilities and expectations. Consider what your service has in place to support educator wellbeing. The quality of relationships between educators can be supported through a positive organisational culture and a high-quality working environment.
Professional conversations build educator capacity and wellbeing When supportive and respectful relationships between educators exist, the opportunity for professional conversations can occur. These conversations happen when everyone involved feels safe and confident and support educator wellbeing. When educators can engage in discussions about stressful or difficult situations and participate in reflective practice this will lead to them feeling supported, valued and included as members of the team – all contributing to a sense of wellbeing. Discuss Always Be You at your next team meeting and consider as a group how your professional conversations might be reflected in the symbols. Always Be You resources: https://beyou.edu.au/ resources/always-be-you
When there is a supportive culture around educator wellbeing, with structures and processes in place to minimise work-related stressors, this can have a positive influence on professional relationships and interactions. These positive influences can then flow on to the relationships with everyone else within the learning community. Educator wellbeing is supported when professional environments are open, honest and respectful allowing conversations between educators where ideas can be discussed and challenged. Educators who understand how important your own mental health and wellbeing is for personal and professional success can take steps to focus on their own and colleagues wellbeing. Positive relationships between colleagues are important for educator wellbeing
Managing your wellbeing You cannot always have control over what might happen in your work environment, but you can manage your own mental health and wellbeing through practicing self-care strategies.
When you have positive, supportive and respectful relationships within your team of educators, you are modelling wellbeing and resilience to everyone in the learning community. This has a positive impact on the members and culture of the whole learning community.
Manage your stress levels by recognising when you are feeling stressed, identifying difficult situations that cause stress and finding strategies to assist such as exercise, relaxation, breathing, yoga, positive self-talk.
As you are responding to the everyday challenges or stressors that you might encounter, you are modelling to children, families and colleagues how you can manage the challenges of everyday life. The ability to deal with these challenges or difficulties is a significant protective factor that supports positive mental health and wellbeing.
These tools offer guidance and practical strategies for yourself and your learning community: children, families and colleagues.
Resilience develops and changes over time depending on circumstances. There are individual factors such as temperament, environmental factors such as workplace or family relationships and the interplay between these factors determines an individual’s level of resilience at a given time or place.
Use the Be You ‘Wellbeing Tools for You’: beyou.edu.au/ resources/tools-and-guides/wellbeing-tools-for-you
Read the Be You Fact Sheets on ‘Self-care’ and ‘Staff Wellbeing’: beyou.edu.au/fact-sheets
When we have greater levels of resilience, we can manage stressful or difficult situations better whether they are interactions with children, families or workplace relationships.
EARLY EDITION > SUMMER 2019
Member in the Spotlight
Embedding Cultural Perspectives Jayne Bray > Service Director, Bay Explorers Early Learning, Deception Bay
We are continuing the new series called “Member in the Spotlight” with the aim to share stories of members and the things that make them special. This is the space to share with the ACA Qld family what you are doing to improve outcomes for Australia’s youngest generation.
Sharing our story The Early Years Learning Framework – Page 16, informs us that
“Cultural competence is much more than awareness of cultural differences. It is the ability to understand, communicate with, and effectively interact with people across cultures”.
EARLY EDITION > SUMMER 2019
This can be a daunting prospect for an Early Childhood Education and Care service, when you have a very marked increase in the number of Chinese families enrolling at your service. For Bay Explorers, Deception Bay, this is what happened over a period of time. Whilst the excitement grew within the service, the service staff and I wanted to create an inclusive environment not a tokenistic approach to inclusivity.
We began by researching cultural competence as individual staff members and as a service; the Early Years Learning Framework Educators’ Guide – page 26, talks about cultural competence being applied at three levels in a service:
1. Individual level
2. At the service level
3. At the system level
Competency can be seen in the knowledge, skills, values, attitudes and behaviours of educators.
Management and operational frameworks and practices, policies, procedures and ensure the voices of families are present within the service.
Cultural competence can be seen in how the service relates to and respects their local community.
As a team we wanted to be open minded and try to experience the Chinese culture. Through collaborative discussions, several team members visited Fortitude Valley - China Town; this gave us the opportunity to experience the wonderful taste of Chinese food, immerse ourselves in the sounds of their spoken language and look at the Chinese architecture. We purchased Chinese lanterns which we placed in our entrance hallway.
As a team we wanted to be open minded and try to experience the Chinese culture.
We found many of our newly enrolled Chinese families, after dropping off their child into their new care environment, would wait around the desk in the reception area during the early transition process. They would be looking through the windows at their children in their new rooms, reflective of this being a challenging and emotional time for new parents for whom the English language and Australian Cultural practices are unfamiliar. How can we support our new families? We purchased a Chinese newspaper and magazine and placed this on the front desk where stools are available to sit and chat; through their facial expressions, we knew we had connected in some small way - their culture was acknowledged and respected in their space. They began to sit down and take a moment, as they read the newspaper before again, moving to check on their children before departing the centre. We also printed the Early Years Learning Framework literature in Mandarin; this went a long way towards creating a sense of belonging for our new families.
As an Australian Early Childhood Education and Care service, we are proud to acknowledge through displays/events the traditional owners of the land on which we learn and play, along with the elders, past, present and in the future, together with the many cultures within our community. Embracing the Chinese culture, we took the time to acknowledge the importance of the Chinese New Year and created an authentic display within the centre. We provided all our families with information regarding the Chinese Lantern Festival, so all could share this tradition.
EARLY EDITION > SUMMER 2019
Piecing Together Play How loose parts play builds new worlds for children Caitlin Murphy > Wearthy
It’s not pretty. Loose parts play can look like the Tupperware cupboard and recycling bin had a wrestling match, and everyone lost. Everyone except the child contently playing in the delightful mess, she started it. Loose parts play is the type of chaos that children are drawn to and our role is to support it, the best way we can. Loose parts play is made up from materials that can be moved, manipulated, constructed, rearranged, taken apart, put together and given a destiny that is determined by a child – rather than an adult, or manufacturer. Loose parts can be natural or synthetic and used in endless play scenarios. This type of play inspires innovation and creativity, improves concentration and problem-solving skills, develops social and emotional thinking, and empowers children to thrive in a versatile environment that they have complete ownership of. If we take loose parts play outside, learning is abundant and play is limitless. With exploration comes not only invention, but survival. These open-ended learning
EARLY EDITION > SUMMER 2019
opportunities for children are seen in the short documentary, The Land, based on a Welsh adventure playground with the same name supervised by qualified Playworkers. Filmmaker Erin Davis describes The Land as “a play space rooted in the belief that kids are empowered when they learn to manage risks on their own.”
“To an adult eye, it may look chaotic and ugly – to the child, it’s just possibilities.” — Claire, Playworker at The Land
As the little people in our lives find their feet in the world, we want nothing more than to see them grow into strong, brave, independent future leaders. But we cannot overprotect our children and expect them to be resilient simultaneously. The topic of risky play has risen to the surface for a reason in recent years, proving its necessity in every child’s early education. Without resilience, children grow into timid teens and eventually fearful adults. It’s wild to think that we label this type of play when it was just the norm for our generation as children, reconfirming its importance again in early childhood development. If children are drawn to creating super-imaginative risky scenarios, then why would we limit those learning opportunities? The answer is, because some scenarios are out of our comfort zones. This is where we need reminding that when children are faced with challenges, they grow, they learn, and they develop a stronger sense of character allowing them to step into the warriors we hope they become. We need to check our personal fears at the door and understand that by supporting children in navigating their own environment, we are opening the door to essential childhood development.
Loose parts play can involve elements of risk but the learning outcomes are so positive that with the correct support, children flourish in this environment. Stationary equipment limits movement and opportunity, whereas open-ended play invites physical, social and intellectual development giving children the foundation to find and develop innate skills.
“Children have to learn to manage their own risks. It’s hard as a parent, to allow your child to do that. But you’ve got to. Children these days go looking for the risks they need.” — Claire, Playworker at The Land
“Even when you feel uncomfortable with what’s going on, that’s not what should inform your next move.”
How to support a child during loose parts play:
— Dave, Playworker at The Land
1. A nything can become a toy – use your child-like imagination to find play opportunity objects everywhere, especially outside!
It’s no surprise that humans have been designed with the instinct to fear – it keeps us safe. Another natural instinct is to protect our young, so our species can live on. But can we readjust to the notion of safety? Simply keeping children away from harm is not a means of keeping them safe. Embracing risk, facing fear and finding a solution – that is how we can create self-aware, resilient, courageous children. It is exhausting to live in fear. Constantly worrying creates unnecessary cortisol, which takes away from the things that require our full attention and energy.
2 Facilitate the play and remove any hazards, but don’t join in. You are seen as an authoritative figure to children, stepping aside allows them to control the play. 3 Observe and enjoy! Watching kids find their independence and take initiative is so rewarding. They’re like mini-entrepreneurs.
EARLY EDITION > SUMMER 2019
Get to know your new CAECE manager Vicki Shearer > College for Australian Early Childhood Educators (CAECE)
Please tell us a little bit about you and your history (both personal and professional)? I grew up in Wagga Wagga (country NSW) with both of my parents, three siblings and surrounded by neighbourhood children where we would spend our free time playing outdoors. Climbing trees, mud pies and backyard BBQs were the norm. In this space, we entered a world of imagination where we could just be children and take in the world through our senses.
Working as a leader in vocational education and training gives me so much pleasure. It is such a rewarding career to be able to support the early childhood sector through training educators in their services. What is your greatest passion about the role?
Our family had a tough upbringing with a father with a serious form of bipolar who had ongoing manic episodes, causing massive disruption and leaving education as the lowest of priorities. This led to me dropping out of school at age 15 and failing high school.
My greatest passion is being able to serve the early childhood sector and support them by ensuring that training delivery aligns to current and best practice. I am passionate about ensuring trainers have the skills they need to help their students to succeed. Because of my upbringing and early adult life, I feel strongly about supporting students to overcome any learning barriers.
How did you first become involved in the ECEC sector?
What is your greatest vision (or passion) for CAECE in the future?
When I embarked on a journey to commence a career with children, I found that I had a lot of barriers to learning. At age 16, I gained successful entry into the Associate Diploma of Social Science (Child Studies) and was the youngest student. With the right determination to succeed, the barriers were slowly removed as I built confidence. Upon completion, I was awarded a certificate for the best performance.
CAECE was born out of frustration and feedback from the sector about the disappointment in the quality of training being delivered in services, that led many educators unable to fulfil their job roles. My greatest vision for CAECE is to continue to build opportunities for collaborative networking with early childhood sector stakeholders to ensure that training serves the right purpose and builds a workforce that has the capacity to achieve positive outcomes for children.
My first permanent job role was in a not-for-profit childrenâ€™s centre on the Gold Coast. At the time, I was employed as a group leader in a mixed age group (0-3). With so much passion, I enrolled in the Bachelor of Early Childhood Education which I completed alongside employment. The centre gave me the best grounding, where I was soon promoted to be the centre director. After many years of dedication to the early childhood sector, I then commenced training in vocational education.
What do you love about the sector (possibly including opportunities)?
EARLY EDITION > SUMMER 2019
What do you think are the strengths of CAECE? Positive and trusting relationships are at the core of CAECE practices. We pride ourselves on being able to listen and act upon feedback we receive and continually improve our methodology and procedures. We have a collaborative approach to training educators and make positive connections in the communities we work in.
What do you see as the challenges facing early childhood education and care/training? Many early childhood services seem to have lost faith in training colleges due to historical poor practices. One of the greatest challenges for the early childhood sector is the demand for qualified educators. There also seems to be a push for a workforce that is professional, valued and builds leadership capability. How can members benefit from/ become involved with CAECE? Members can become involved with CAECE by connecting with us and sharing their views about training quality educators. We welcome the opportunity to meet with supervisors and educational leaders to gain insights about diverse learning environments. Please feel free to connect with Vicki Shearer â€“ email@example.com (07) 3299 5784
ENROL TODAY! Committed to serving the early childhood education and care sector through high quality and practical workplace triaining.
Contact CAECE today on 07 3299 5784 or firstname.lastname@example.org | caece.com.au
Defibrillators Save Lives Roslyn Foley > AFS Group
A Sudden Cardiac Arrest is the largest cause of death in Australia. 30,000 people die every year. Thatâ€™s 600 per week. If you have a Sudden Cardiac Arrest in Australia, thereâ€™s a 6% chance of surviving. In other parts of the world it is over 60%. This is a frightening statistic and proof that people are dying in Australia for no good reason. There is a distinct difference between a heart attack and sudden cardiac arrest. Heart attack occurs when there is a blockage of the coronary arteries, involving a cut off in the supply of blood to the heart, causing parts of the heart muscle to begin to die. In contrast, a sudden cardiac arrest is when the heart stops beating resulting in a blood supply to the vital organs being cut off.
restart a heart that has completely stopped, rather it can accurately identify the cardiac rhythm as shockable or nonshockable. The two shockable rhythms which the AED will recognise are Ventricular Tachycardia (VT) and Ventricular Fibrillation (VF). The casualty must be unresponsive (unconscious) and not breathing normally for defibrillation to be effective.
In the event of a sudden cardiac arrest, a defibrillator is an essential piece of first aid equipment. A defibrillator has just as much place in your business as a smoke alarm or fire extinguisher.
People are often nervous about using a defibrillator. The question often arises as to whether a defibrillator can kill you. The answer is that you can do no harm with a defibrillator. In fact, a person is technically already dead after suffering a cardiac arrest and without early CPR and early defibrillation they have no chance of survival.
Do you and your staff understand the dangers around a sudden cardiac arrest? Are you and your staff equipped to step into action should a parent or grandparent suffer a sudden cardiac arrest on your premises at drop off or pick up? What about the children in your care? A defibrillator can be used on any age group. Defibrillation is a technique or treatment for lifethreatening cardiac dysrhythmias. An Automated External Defibrillator (AED) device delivers a dose of electric current to reset the heart and allow it to return to a normal rhythm. Contrary to popular belief a defibrillator does not
EARLY EDITION > SUMMER 2019
The device is equipped with a computer that reads the ECG from the pads applied to the chest and analyses the heart rhythm to determine whether an electric shock is required. A defibrillator device will only allow an electrical shock to be delivered to the heart of someone who needs it. Defibrillation can and should be used on pregnant casualties. Place the woman on her back, but also place a rolled blanket or other object under the right hip and lumbar area. Defibrillate the same as anyone else. It is
All childcare educators should undertake training on defibrillators to: earn how to resuscitate someone and L gain confidence in using a defibrillator nderstand how safe defibrillators are U Know your legal obligations and requirements for owning and using a defibrillator
For further information, to purchase a defibrillator device, or to book in for training, contact AFS Group on: 1300 660 164 or email: email@example.com
important to remember that the baby cannot survive without the mother, therefore there is no evidence that shocks from a direct current defibrillator have adverse effects on the heart of the baby. The operator does not need to be able to identify the hearts rhythm or whether there is a need for defibrillation, however it is useful to have a basic knowledge of heart rhythms. First aiders should be aware that defibrillators only revert certain cardiac abnormal rhythms and therefore survival often depends on how fast a defibrillator can be used on the casualty and what abnormal rhythm the patient is in.
Operators of defibrillators must understand the need for clear communication whilst the device is in use. Resuscitation may be required before, during and after defibrillation, therefore clear communication and cooperation is vital for safety. Just like any other electrical appliance, an AED has safety precautions to follow to avoid injury. The AED operator is responsible for keeping all persons including those providing assistance, and those performing resuscitation techniques in conjunction with the defibrillation from touching the casualty when a shock is delivered.
The Australian Resuscitation Council endorses the concept that in many situations, non-medical individuals should be allowed and encouraged to use defibrillators.
The risks associated with the use of an AED are minimal and as a life saving device, the chances of survival for the casualty are greatly increased.
The general community should use an advisory defibrillator, that is, a machine diagnostically rendering treatment.
Anyone can use a defibrillator, however formal training is recommended to ensure confidence and assist with speed of application and correct pad placement.
Modern defibrillator devices are simple to use with easy to understand visual graphics; voice prompts and automated features to make saving lives easy and help users remain focused and in control. There are many different types of AEDs and the storage, attachment of pads and cables and the sequence of operation may vary between machines. Defibrillators can be used on children and infants under the age of one. Familiarisation with the use of your machine is highly recommended.
If your centre has a defibrillator â€“ are your staff trained and confident to use the device? Is your defibrillator easily accessible in the event of an emergency?
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Bush Kindy at Bright Beginnings Kindy B Emily Mitchell, Outdoor Educator > Bright Beginnings Kindy B
We have been running and growing our outdoor education program for the last 12 months focusing on sustainability, nature and exploring the great outdoors. It started out small and we were able to do most things within our service but we wanted to make our learning more meaningful by extending it beyond our fences out into the community. We sought out two separate locations for our bush space which were both local park spaces within walking distance from our service. We researched other inner city suburban kindys running bush kindergarten programs (Red Hill Good Start) to gather an insight into what to look for in a good bush site and any other information that needed to be considered before we got started. The team at Red Hill were extremely welcoming and supportive and provided lots of valuable tips on getting started from safety sweeps to wet weather procedures and snake safety. We decided on the local reserve space drawn in by its thicker untouched rugged terrain and tree cover. It also boasted a public toilet and was fenced off from the main road and the added bonus of being a much flatter walk and slightly closer in distance compared to the other space making it a more inclusive route for some of our children requiring extra assistance. Once we had our perfect space we pitched the idea of starting bush kindy to our staff, we were fortunate enough to have almost everyone on board from the beginning although we did have a few who were naturally a bit apprehensive about the risky play which in turn was really beneficial and helpful in developing our risk assessments and preventative measures. Since we have introduced our bush kindy program all the staff truly enjoy the visits and look forward to bush kindy every week!
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With the construction of a risk assessment covering everything from the main road crossing to splinters and everything in between we set in place some preventative measures to reduce as many potential incidents as possible. Our biggest priority was keeping the children safe whilst still providing the sense of freedom to roam, adventure and explore. We were very open with families about the risks involved and any concerns they had with their child participating in the bush kindy program which encouraged families to be active in ensuring their child was appropriately prepared for visits with the required gumboots and long pants. We also developed a safety sweep checklist similar to how we conduct our regular yard checks and developed some really simple debrief steps which we run through with the children before and during every visit outlining the expectations for bush kindy and emergency procedures. Our most valuable purchase was our wagon which allows us to bring all our water to stay hydrated and any safety equipment needed for the visits. A typical visit usually has us packing an esky full of water bottles, first aid, an extra cooler of water (hot days), sunscreen and any extra things the children decide they may need for the day including ropes, magnifying glasses, clip boards etc. We take a small garbage bag for picking up any rubbish we spot in the area as the children take a lot of pride in the bush space and are always on the lookout for anything that doesn’t belong. We also use the wagon to carry any specialised
assistance equipment for our children requiring extra support such as modified chairs, hammocks and comforters. The feedback we have received from the children, families and educators about bush kindy has been overwhelmingly positive. “We really enjoy getting outside of the room and exploring!” – Sandy “I like bush kindy because I can climb all the trees!” – Kindy B Child
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Educator in Profile: Kathryn McDonald
Meet Kathryn McDonald, who works at Lady Gowrie Kennedy Place Early Childhood Centre. What is your role within your service and what do you want to achieve in the next five years? I have had the pleasure of working at Lady Gowrie Kennedy Place Early Childhood Centre for two years. Throughout my time at Lady Gowrie I have had the opportunity to work with multiple age groups and at the moment I am working in the Kindergarten room under our amazing Kindergarten teacher. My time working under such an amazing teacher has inspired me to continue studying and I hope to one day become an Early Childhood Teacher or maybe even a director. What/who inspired you to forge a career in early learning? During my time at school everyone would always call me a mother hen and I never really thought much of it. At the time I did not even think working in Early Childhood Education would be an option as I did not think I would have the grades, this changed in grade 10 when my sister in law started studying her Certificate III. I never had a sister but my sister in law was always there to help guide me, and when she started in Early Childhood Education it inspired me to pursue my dream of working with young children. A month after graduating school I was blessed to be given an opportunity in an Early Childhood Centre, and though I am no longer working there it gave me the skills and foundation to be a hard working caring educator. I cannot thank them more, they truly inspired me to continue working and seek knowledge.
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What do you find rewarding about working in the early learning sector? I am so blessed to be in a industry where I help instil knowledge and help young minds grow. Watching the children crawl, walk, talk or even write their name for the first time is such a rewarding feeling, I always have to step back and take a moment because even now 4 years into the industry I canâ€™t believe how much I impact children emotionally and mentally. As educators we strive to do what is best for all children not just those in our care, I always strive to give 100% not just physically but emotionally as well. I often find I leave work thinking have I done enough today to touch those childrenâ€™s hearts, and the next day when I walk through the door and they shout my name and come running up for a cuddle I know I am in the right industry. That truly is the reward knowing I am making a difference in the lives of every child in my care. How would you describe your early learning philosophy? I am lucky enough to be at a centre whose philosophy reflects what I value. Early Childhood is a unique time of life, to be valued and enjoyed. During this time we lay the foundations for future learning and wellbeing. Guiding the children to be caring people and effective learners that are able to contribute to their world and enjoy successful relationships with others. I believe family partnerships are key to the success of children learning while at care, I believe a parent will always be the most important part of a child as this is who they learn from everyday and model themselves after.
A strong partnership with a family will assist in time of need such as a family crisis or an unfortunate natural disaster similar to the one just recently in Townsville. With our partnerships with parents we are able to communicate what the child is feeling both at home and at care in order to best provide a safe nurturing environment for the children. I believe children benefit the greatest from a play based learning environment and I will always activity provide a variety of opportunities for children to discover, create, explore and use their imaginations. Every day I strive to provide a nurturing environment for the children to develop their skills, strengths, interest and abilities. Every child learns at their own pace, I always have high expectations for the children but never unrealistic goals. I have found giving the children these high expectations gives the children the opportunity to accomplish goals they might have been nervous or anxious to do otherwise. How do you engage the families in your service? At our centre we have many lines of communication with our parents, from newsletter to daily write ups of their child’s day. As I said in my philosophy partnerships with parents is key and because of this we have an open door policy in the Kindergarten room. I am extremely lucky as one week I am the open staff member and the next I am the close staff member which gives me the opportunity to communicate with almost all of my parents everyday. While in the yard I try to greet every parent with a warm welcome and take time to connect asking about the weekend and how their child slept. Occasionally during this time I notice parents feeling down or upset. I will always ask if everything is okay or if they need someone to talk to, 9 times out of 10 all a parent needs is someone to ask how they are for a change. This is always appreciated and I always say to my parents I am here if they need anything. I believe it is important to have a welcoming environment in order to build those relationships with families and in order to communicate effectively. All of my families are unique and different and I believe should be treated as such. What is your biggest challenge as an educator and what strategies do you put in place to manage these challenges? Time is such a big challenge for me, even when I am at home sitting on the couch all I can think about is how to extend the children’s learning or thinking of an activity I know my children will love. When I first came to Lady Gowrie I was coming into work early staying back late just to keep up with the paper work, my colleagues helped me so much as they shared their knowledge, experience and tips to get the work done. I cannot say thank you enough because now I have more time to relax at home and the more time I have at home to reflect on myself the more efficient I will be as an educator.
everything and looked down on me because I was young. Those experiences gave me the drive to never stop learning as I have learned so much from trainees/students and I would not be the educator I am today if I did not have this belief. I can always learn more whether its a new song or transition and I am so blessed to be working at a centre with educators who have years and years of experience and knowledge to pass down to me. What is the most important skill you hope to develop in the children you educate and care for? Every child is different some excel physically others mentally so it is hard to want or expect every child to leave our care with all the skills we want them to have. If I did have to choose a skill I would want them to have compassion, not just compassion for their friends and family but for everyone and every living thing. We have been very fortunate to have close bonds with TAIHS and through story telling and also having friends of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander decent our children have been able to learn about our history and theirs. I hope my children remember these talks as they venture out into the world and always remain compassionate. What advice would you give to someone who wishes to start a career in early learning? Be patient is the biggest piece of advice I can give someone, there will be hard days but they are very few compared to the abundance of happy amazing days. It is a hard adjustment at first but always remember you are an advocate for the child and their family. Before starting the journey look to yourself and discover your own personal philosophy though it will change and adapt during your time in the industry, it is important you are doing Early Childhood Education for your own reasons not others. I recommend researching and finding a service that stands for what you stand for and that’s when you will really see the children bloom when management and educators collaborate together to make an enriching environment. Finally, what’s your fondest memory from your own childhood? My fondest memory from my childhood was spending time with my family, now that I look back at my childhood those were the best times. Christmas, in particular, was always the best everyone together eating and chatting. Though I still get that now its not the same because our table has shrunk over time and I think that is why it is my fondest memory because everyone came together just to be with each other. That is my favourite memory, the love a family can give each other.
How have the challenges you faced helped you to grow as an educator? I have the opportunity to work with some amazing people and children. I am not going to lie I have met some people in the industry who thought they knew everything about
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Ten Tips for Choosing the Right Technology for your Organisation Sharyn Fewster, CEO and Founder of MiCare Global > MiStaffing
Technology is here to make your organisation more effective and efficient. However, if you choose the wrong solution, or the solution you choose is not fully assessed to meet your needs, or worse still, the technology you choose does not have the right support and maintenance infrastructures sitting behind it – the technology experience could put your entire organisation at risk. So, with the increased focus on the adoption of appropriate technology solutions to be implemented into the Early Learning sector, it might be timely to highlight the key tips for choosing the right technology for your organisation. 1. Focus on NEEDS – Not WANT It’s very easy to get caught up in the hype of new technologies, but unless there is an improvement to be made in the operation of your organisation, it should be considered under caution. Ask yourself: Will this software save me time and money? Will this software increase my revenue? If the answer is yes, then crack-on. If the answer is no, take a breath and re-consider. 2. Consider software products that integrate with other software products It’s not always the case, but using solutions that can integrate into other preferred solutions can be important for the future scale of your organisation. Being locked into a solution that becomes restrictive due to a lack of integration potential can retard your organisation’s future use of technology.
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3. Consider the pros and cons of the ‘all in one’ solution The ‘all in one’ technology solution is effective, efficient and usually the right choice; however, keep in mind, you are also piling all risk into the one bucket – if the solution goes down, the impact can be catastrophic. 4. Consider change management impacts on staff and families The onset of anything new, let alone a new technology solution, can be daunting to even the most savvy of tech users. Ensure you consider the gentle management of expectation, implementation and support for all levels of the organisation. 5. Ensure there is an adequate support and training plan Having a software solution that meets your needs is a game changer – however, having a software solution you are relying on, that suddenly gives the ‘blue screen of death’ puts your organisation at risk. Ensure the support and maintenance plan meets your organisation’s needs. Coupled with this is the need for adequate training; some users will pick the technology up and run with it, others will need their hand held – a sound, accessible training plan is essential.
6. Consider the security of data and a sound back up plan Ask where your data will be stored and backed-up. Ask to see their back-up plan. Dilute risk by ensuring all data is kept within Australia. 7. Consider the contract implications – can I break away if I need to - and at what cost Read the fine print – am I locked into a recurring payment scheme or can I opt out anytime with zero implications. Ensure you know your rights regarding access to all past data if you decide you no longer want to use the solution.
10. Ensure the technology company is an organisation you can work with. Communication, being present, listening, being timely and empathetic. A technology company presenting your organisation with a solution you need must be approachable, trustworthy and understanding. It’s a relationship that could last for years and should have a positive impression upon the bottom line and overall operation of your organisation – a super important consideration.
8. Consider the software used in the development of the technology – is it reputable and stable? This is important as unfortunately there are still some cowboys out there. Ensure your software is built using a stack that is reputable and able to be maintained. 9. Choose technology that has a development roadmap that will ensure the solution will have longevity and relevancy into the future. This is super important today as we see the exponential growth in technology that will see fast efficiencies across all facets of an organisation. With the onset of Artificial Intelligence, 3D Printing, Virtual Reality to name a few – ensure your technology partner has a very clear R and D road map and that they build their technology to reflect this.
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CAECE Congradulates... College for Australian Early Childhood Educators (CAECE) is a registered training organisation committed to delivering high quality and practical training to the early childhood education and care sector. CAECE offers exceptional courses to provide students with the qualifications needed to succeed in early learning. We would like to welcome a new segment named CAECE congradulates which highlights recent CAECE graduates having completed their Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care or Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care.
CAECE graduates for the last quarter:
We are proud to say, over the past quarter we have had a significant number of CAECE graduates from both our Diploma and Certificate III qualifications including a schoolbased traineeship graduate. With the ongoing support from our lovely CAECE trainers, students have been guided to achieve their goals in becoming fully qualified educators.
Tamara: Cubby Care Early Learning Coomera – Certificate III (Trainer Karla Mooney)
If you or someone you know is interested in studying and working towards your qualifications in early childhood education and care, our friendly staff and trainers are willing to guide and support your early learning journey! For more information please contact our team on 07 3299 5784 or email info@caece. com.au. CAECE would like to congratulate the following graduates and wish them all the best for their future as an early learning educator!
Sabine: Free Range Kids – Laidley 2 – Certificate III (Trainer Kellie Saville) Louisa: Cubby Care Early Learning Coomera – Diploma (Trainer Karla Mooney)
Alanah (Certificate III) and Jen (Diploma): Petit Early Learning Journey Burdell 1 (Trainer Lainie Randell)
Jane: Treasure Island Childcare Centre – Diploma (Trainer Kellie Saville) – HESTA Awards for excellence winner 2019 Sarah: Kulila Indigenous Kindergarten in Toowoomba - Diploma (Trainer Kellie Saville) Vanessa: McDowall Village Childcare – Diploma (Trainer Lauren Turrell) Elisha: Norfolk OSHC – Diploma (Trainer Karla Mooney)
Michaela: Little Bunyas Early Childhood Centre of Excellence – Certificate III (Trainer Karla Mooney) Judy (Judith): Little Bunyas Early Childhood Centre of Excellence – Diploma (Trainer Karla Mooney) Tegan: Little Bunyas Early Childhood Centre of Excellence – Diploma (Trainer Karla Mooney) Emily: Sheldon College Wonderland Early Learning Centre – Graduate School based Traineeship with Certificate III (Trainer Karla Mooney) Melanie: Treasure Island Childcare Centre – Certificate III (Trainer Kellie Saville)
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JEN & ALANAH
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Happy? Deb Callahan > Giggletree
When contemplating this as a topic for an article for an early childhood educator magazine, I had to reflect upon what had prompted me to consider this topic in the first instance… did I wonder if I was happy? Given that I spend a significant amount of my day and/ or week addressing dissatisfaction in the workplace, am I feeling a bit jaded by the apparent lack of happiness and/ or satisfaction within the profession? Is this an experience that is being magnified because I am only hearing about those who are unhappy or dissatisfied? I swear to you – as I began to write this article, the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams came on the radio… I have a witness – it’s true!! (As an aside, whenever I hear that song I think of Jae Fraser at the ACA Qld conference). So – in reality, this article is to prompt YOU to consider “Am I Happy”. If you ‘Google’ this topic, you will find over 83 million results. To put that in context, if you ‘Google’ ‘chicken droppings’ you’ll get 1.35 million results. Therefore, your happiness is around 80 times more important than chicken poo. I’m not a math person – so I hope that is correct. In my soul it feels about right (let’s not forget the value of chicken poo in this equation!!). Synonyms for ‘happy’ include1 ; contented, convivial, pleased, glad, blessed. Aren’t these aspirations that we have for the children that we have in our care? Contented really resonates with me. It’s one of those words that some people imply mean that you’ve ‘given up’… he’s contented (read here that he’s put on weight). It also means; ecstatic, elated, joyous, jubilant – these are much more gleeful words (yup – gleeful is yet another word for happy). Are you getting a theme here?
I’m trying to let you all know that your happiness is about YOU!
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I could throw a whole heap of platitudes at you about how we have ‘choice’ in this world. If you’re not ‘happy’ then do something about it… however, I’d like to propose that your starting point for doing something is to ‘reframe’. Reframing is an important technique that many clever people have written about (14 million google results here… it’s no ‘am I happy’… but it’s no ‘chicken droppings’ either!). Here’s some keys in my experience that may help you:
Think. I know I know. It seems so obvious right? But take the time to really think about what is making you ‘unhappy’. Is it my job? What is it about my job? Is this something that is going to change? Is it something I can change about how I approach my work? Is it just too hard? Write it down. Again… I know I know… you’re sick of writing? Right? Does EVERYTHING need to be documented? Hmm… I’m afraid the science tells us that if we write it down it holds more meaning. For different people this can be expressed differently. As with our documentation of learning, you can do it in long form (much like this article – a ‘stream of consciousness’), or it could be jottings, notes, sentences, statements, key words, sketches. There are many ways to do this – but I’m afraid that you really should write it down. Remember why you do what you do. In other words… it’s not just about the ‘cons’ (or the negatives) it’s also about the ‘pros’ (or positives). Here I could launch into some information about analysis (yes, I can see your eyes begin to glaze over) – but at the end of the day my friends – I’m asking you, once again, to reflect upon your key motivators. Those satisfiers are the things that keep you motivated… the changes you see in children’s behaviour, their learning and growth every day, the look in their eyes when they really talk to you (you know what I’m talking about – when they look deep into your eyes and tell you what they really think about something or when you just catch their eye when they are doing something and they respond). The intellectual stimulation that you get from researching a learning activity or experience, or when you ‘get it’ or when you ‘feel it’.
sometimes laugh like a hyena (and even wee a little bit – or is that just me?). There’s even research out there that says that more than 10% of people would rather leave a job/workplace than have a difficult conversation!! Imagine if we did that every time we had a disagreement with a partner, family member, close friend or lover. Elizabeth Taylor would have nothing on us! (ok – Taylor Swift may be more relatable these days!!). For those who have had a few challenging relationships, hopefully we’ve also discovered that your relationships deepen and move to a new place once disagreements have been had and resolved… and remember - there are people who are actually paid to help you with these scenarios! Your manager, centre director, HR people etc are there to help guide you through these challenging times… (and Google has a LOT of advice with this kind of thing – it really dwarfs any other topic I’ve mentioned so far). The objective of this article is really to help you try to know if you’re happy as an Early Childhood professional. Hopefully, when you have really taken the time to think it through (and *cough* reflect) – all the frustrations, challenges and annoying elements are far outweighed by the fact that what you do actually matters! Take it from someone who has had a midlife crisis and is now pursuing their dream job of working in the early childhood profession (after around 7 previous ‘careers’)… what we do DOES matter. It really really does. We all really really want those who work in this field to WANT to be here (Yes! I’m speaking for us all now… arrogant much??!). We really really want the good to outweigh the bad. We really really want people to think about what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. We really really want you to be HAPPY! I really really encourage you to make that choice as often as you possibly can.
Relationships are sometimes hard. Need I say more? You interact with people in your workplace who present challenges – be it co-educators, your manager, your families… They are sometimes hard! You sometimes need to swallow your words. You
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