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The voice for parents and service providers

PRE SCHOOL MATTERS Early childhood education preparing children for life term THREE 2014

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Preschool Matters Term three 2014

in this edition


PRESIDENT’S REPORT Welcome to the Term 3 edition of Preschool Matters. Reform is still firmly on the agenda for governments with debate continuing about the future of the National Quality Framework – and which level of government takes responsibility for funding delivery of 15 hours of preschool education for all four-year-old children. While the uncertainty created by this government-led debate is worrying, I have been heartened by the way our sector has come together to campaign on these issues.


Together we grow – preparing children for life

Parents, service providers, representative bodies, and educators have been united in their efforts to tell Commonwealth and State Governments what’s really important: high quality educational outcomes for children. Our sector’s commitment to quality practice and leading edge research was on show in late May when over 860 educators, service providers, academics and policy makers gathered to attend the annual Early Childhood Education Conference Together we Grow – preparing children for life at Caulfield Racecourse. Read our coverage of the conference on pages 12 and 13. Dr Coral Campbell presented an interesting session at the conference, titled young children exploring their world – and here she shares with us some ways in which educators can stimulate and sustain a child’s curiosity about the world around them. Read the story on page 16.


Children exploring their world through science


Advice and training in term 3 & 4


Keep 15 Hours campaign

10 Road Safety Education Award winner

Also in this edition on pages 14 and 15, Gillian Barclay, Director of Moreland Community Childcare Centres, explains the importance of community to children’s well-being and development, and how this is central to the Centre’s philosophies and to everything they do at their services. As your peak membership body, ELAA will continue to represent your interests, advocate for high quality early childhood education, and stay focused on what’s most important: our children. If you would like to be involved with the ELAA campaign to maintain government funding of 15 hours of preschool, go to our website and sign the petition at www.keep15hours.org.au. I wish you all the best for term 3. Jo Geurts President

CEO Shane Lucas

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President Jo Geurts Editor Sue Smith

All rights reserved. This publication cannot be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publisher.

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Preschool Matters © ELAA 2014. Preschool Matters belongs to ELAA.

Advertising Cass Marxsen

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Preschool Matters is a quarterly magazine which communicates issues and developments that concern and assist members in the effective management of early childhood services. Disclaimer Early Learning Association Australia and its employees accept no responsibility for the performance of the products and services advertised in this newsletter. The listing of products and services in this publication does not constitute a recommendation. To the maximum extent permitted by law, all warranties, terms, conditions and any duty of care, which otherwise may arise or be imposed on Early Learning Association Australia as well as Early Learning Association Australia’s liability to any person in connection with the products and services advertised in this newsletter, are hereby excluded.

Cover: Jardin, at Ivanhoe Children’s Community Cooperative. Photo: Reg Ryan.

Level 3, 145 Smith Street, Fitzroy Vic 3065 PO Box 1246, Collingwood Vic 3066 Phone (03) 9489 3500 Rural 1300 730 119 Fax (03) 9486 4226 Email elaa@elaa.org.au Web www.elaa.org.au


Preschool Matters Term three 2014

news & events

Congratulations Rachael Rachael Weber from Karingal East Kindergarten, Victoria was named the Early Childhood Teacher of the Year at the Victorian Education Excellence Awards in May this year.

Box Hill North Primary School Kindergarten celebrates Community leaders, friends and families were part of the celebrations last term to officially open the new space at Box Hill North Primary School Kindergarten. The Kindergarten is an integral part of the K-6 school, which provides families in Box Hill North with a kindergarten and primary school in the one location. As many ELAA members can attest, the grant application process, fundraising and planning for an extension and other building works requires a huge commitment from families, staff and management. Box Hill North Primary School Kindergarten began the process mid-2012, with the building works commencing in August 2013 and completed by December 2013. The children were moved to another room at the school during the building works and documenting its progress became a fun project for the children. The upgrade was funded by a $300,000 Victorian Government grant with an additional $155,000 raised by the Kindergarten and School community to assist with the costs. The new space means that the Kindergarten can offer both 3 year old and 15 hours of four year old preschool programs. Photo (top): (L–R) Kay Albon Principal, Rod Williamson DEECD Senior Advisor, Shane Lucas ELAA CEO, Danielle Cogley Kindergarten Director, Robert Clark MP, Sharon Ellis Mayor of the City of Whitehorse, Maria La Selva Assistant Principal.

Rachel received the Victoria Teachers Mutual Bank Early Childhood Teacher of the Year Award for Excellence in Teaching for pioneering a new inclusive preschool program when the Kindergarten formed a partnership with Frankston Special Developmental School. The four-year old preschool program was very successful in 2013 with all the children improving their social, communication and learning skills. Rachael also facilitates a ‘Buddy’ program with a local primary school. Students from Years 3 to 6 visit the preschool to help the younger children prepare for the next phase of their education. Congratulations to the other finalists Daniela Kavoukas, from Flemington Childcare Co-operative (who won the ASG National Excellence in Teaching Award in 2013) and Sonya Nedovic from the Royal Children’s Hospital Education Institute.

Preschool Matters Term three 2014

Caring for Kids 2014 Raffle results Congratulations to the winners of the 2014 Caring for Kids raffle. The raffle was drawn at the ELAA office on Friday 27 June 2014. Winners 1st prize: $10,000 Myer Shopping Spree won by ticket number 97652 sold by Clare Court Children’s Services in Yarraville 2nd prize: $2,000 Myer Shopping Spree won by ticket number 9448 sold by Ashwood Children’s Centre in Ashwood 3rd Prize: Weekend at Silverwater resort Philip Island won by ticket number 51190 sold by St Bernard’s OSHC in East Coburg The Centre Prize won by Clare Court Children’s Services for the sale of 2522 tickets Theo Oostveen, who brought his ticket from Clare Court Children’s Services, was the lucky winner of the $10,000 Myer shopping spree. Photo: Cass Marxsen, ELAA, Theo Oostveen, Sunitha Raman, ELAA

ELAA’s new Employee Management and Development Kit launched at 2014 conference At the 2014 Early Childhood Education Conference, ELAA launched the new Employee Management and Development kit; a resource to support early learning services in the ongoing management and development of their employees. This free early childhood management resource, funded by Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, assists early learning services in supporting employee performance and professional development. The kit contains a step-by-step guide on how to use the resource and is available in downloadable pdf format. It includes a range of editable electronic forms for managers to tailor to their individual service’s needs. For more information and to download a free EM&D kit, go to www.elaa.org.au.

ELAA’s advocacy at work ELAA, along with our colleagues in the sector, has been extremely busy this year preparing submissions to government on a range of issues that impact early childhood education and care services and Australian families and carers with young children. ELAA members have generously given their time to provide feedback via consultations and surveys to inform this work. The following ELAA submissions can be downloaded from the ELAA website; • 2014 National Quality Framework Review • Budget submission to the Australian Government 2014-15 • S  ubmission to the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Childcare and Early Childhood Learning  ubmission re: Family Assistance Legislation Amendment (Child • S Care Measures) Bill 2014



Preschool Matters Term three 2014

advice & Training Training in Term 3 & 4 ELAA provides training, workshops and seminars for managers, educators and parents.

Becoming an Educator: strengthening practice, building confidence (for assistants) Presenter: Catharine Hydon 23 July, 9.30am–2.30pm Karralyka Centre, Mines Road, Ringwood East Cost: $120 member/$190 non-member

Reflective Practice: A window on ourselves as educators – 3 part series Presenter: Catharine Hydon Session 1: 8 August, 9.30am – 2.30pm Session 2: 12 September, 9.30am – 2.30pm Session 3: 24 October, 9.30am – 2.30pm Fredricks, 980 Mt Alexander Road, Essendon Cost: $360 member/$570 non-member (NB: costs are for full 3 part series only – Bookings for single sessions are not available)

Making sustainability part of everyday learning Presenter: Karen Glancy 22 August, 9.30am – 2.30pm Karralyka Centre, Mines Road, Ringwood East Cost: $120 member/$190 non-member

Committee Training Presenter: ELAA management advisors AGM and Handover 20 August, 7pm – 9pm Manningham Council, Room 1, Manningham City Council Offices, 699 Doncaster Road, Doncaster Presenter: ELAA management advisors AGM and Handover 26th August, 7pm – 9pm Bayside Council, Highett Children’s Centre, 1 Livingston St, Highett

Hot Topic Workshops Presenter: All Hot Topic Workshops are presented by ELAA management advisors and will be held at ELAA’s Office, Level 3, 145 Smith St, Fitzroy Committee recruitment & succession planning 20 August, 10 – 11.30am or 6.30 – 8pm Planning and conducting a successful AGM 3 September, 10 – 11.30am or 6.30 – 8pm Passing the baton – successful handover to the new committee 15 October, 10 – 11.30am or 6.30 – 8pm Welcome to the committee – an overview of your responsibilities 3rd December, 10 – 11.30am or 6.30 – 8pm

For more information and to register for a training event visit the training section at www.elaa.org.au

Preschool Matters Term three 2014

Our work in action ELAA provides intensive support to help services resolve governance and management issues.


From 1 June 2014, changes to the requirements for service supervisor certificates came in to effect. All approved service providers will receive a service supervisor certificate by email in July 2014. What do the changes to supervisor certificate requirements mean for our service? Glenda Glover, Manager, Member services The approved provider has overall responsibility for the service, and must take reasonable steps to ensure children’s safety and wellbeing is protected. This includes making an informed decision about whether a person is fit and proper, with suitable skills, to be the nominated supervisor or to be placed in charge of the day to day operation of the service. The changes to the requirements of the service supervisor certificate means that the nominated supervisor is no longer required to hold an approved qualification or to have a minimum of three years’ experience. The service supervisor certificates will not be issued to a particular person, but may apply to any person within the service, identified by the approved provider, as: • r esponsible for the day to day management of the service or • in a supervisory and leadership position for part of the service or • a family day care coordinator. A person working in one of the above roles can also give written consent to be placed in day to day charge, if chosen by the approved provider or nominated supervisor. All other record-keeping and the displaying of information requirements continue to apply. For more information about the changes to the requirements for supervisor certificates and the responsibilities for approved providers and nominated supervisors, refer to the Information sheet on the ACECQA website. http://files. acecqa.gov.au/files/Information%20sheets/ Information%20sheet%20-%20Changes%20 to%20supervisor%20certificate%20FINAL.pdf

The President of an early learning service in the outer suburbs of Melbourne contacted ELAA to clarify requirements for Police Records Checks (PRC) and Fit and Proper Assessments etc. for committee of management members. She was concerned that the Treasurer had not provided his PRC or a budget for their service. ELAA advised the President to send the relevant forms to the Treasurer with a deadline to complete the paperwork. She was also advised that she should make it clear to the Treasurer that the completion of the paperwork and the provision of a budget were mandatory requirements of the Treasurer’s role. ELAA discussed good governance and financial management processes with the President, and the importance of the Treasurer providing appropriate information to the committee to assist with decision making. ELAA advised the President to meet with the Treasurer so that he could better understand the issues and offer him support to resolve the situation. The Treasurer did not provide the documents by the due date and there was an ongoing issue with bills not paid and reports not provided. The President discovered that the Treasurer was overwhelmed by all the requirements of his role and accepted his decision to step aside. As part of ELAA’s support to the service, we have reviewed and provided advice on making changes to their constitution, helped them improve their policies and the management of their Quality Improvement Plan.

SERVICE B A large double unit kindergarten in metropolitan Melbourne has contacted ELAA for support over a number of years seeking advice and support on a range of issues such as managing staff performance, financial management, program and rosters, committee conflict etc. ELAA has also helped the service resolve some confusion about the validation of their centre director, who had been suspended due to procedural errors at VETASSESS. ELAA helped the service with a complex termination payment for a staff member who had been on Long Service Leave (LSL) and was resigning. It appeared that the staff member had not been paid Annual Leave at Christmas time and the payroll person at the service was unsure how much LSL the staff member had already been paid. ELAA worked with the payroll person from the service to resolve the matter by explaining the payroll reports from ADP.

Does your service need help with a governance or management issue? Contact ELAA (03) 9489 3500, rural 1300 730 119 or elaa@elaa.org.au



Preschool Matters Term three 2014

Keep 15 Hours – Preschool Matters “I want to thank all our members and supporters for completing surveys, signing petitions, writing letters, making your own submissions, and providing us with the invaluable views and input we need to inform our advocacy work.” Shane Lucas, CEO, ELAA

As a peak representative body, ELAA plays a vital advocacy role on issues of significance to all in the early childhood education and care sector. That role has never been more important than now, at a time when Commonwealth and State governments are reviewing the standards – and the available funding – that deliver 15 hours of quality preschool/ kindergarten for all children in the year before school.

In 2014 so far, our sector has been the focus of two broad-ranging national inquiries – one by the Productivity Commission, and another by the Senate Committee on Education and Employment. We don’t know the outcome of these inquiries at the time of writing, but I hope the Senators and Commissioners have come to appreciate the core issues of concern to early childhood education and care providers, and to parents: high quality

“Children are our future leaders and one day may replace our current politicians to run our country. I challenge our politicians to ask themselves are they really interested in the future of our country… If so support our children, the future leaders, to be educated as life-long learners. Every child, every opportunity”, survey respondent.

programs that are affordable, accessible and viable into the future. At the same time as the Commission and the Senate deliberate, the Federal Government is pressing ahead with two reviews that go to those same fundamental questions: how much funding does our sector get from government? And what quality of early learning service do children and families have a right to expect? We have been working with members, parents and like-minded organisations to lobby Commonwealth and State governments to maintain funding and to support quality. I want to thank all our members and supporters for completing surveys, signing petitions, writing letters, making your own submissions, and providing us with the invaluable views and input we need to inform our advocacy work. I also want to take this opportunity to report back to you – using your words – the results of our recent 15 Hours survey.

What you told us We conducted our 15 hours survey between April and June. Of the 568 respondents, just over 50% identified as educators, around 32% as parents, nearly 16% as service providers – and over 86% wanted 15 hours of preschool retained. The importance of 15 hour programs for children’s learning and development was a key theme reflected in the 168 pages of comments we received. Respondents were very concerned about the potential impacts of funding cuts on:

Preschool Matters Term three 2014


“As Australia is increasingly challenged to be a competitive and ‘smart’ nation, and considerable research and data indicate the significance of early childhood learning – it is staggering to imagine our government pulling funding from this critical area”, survey respondent.

volunteers to implement 15 hour programs for the benefit of children. The time and costs incurred in planning and programming, employing additional staff, and providing new and improved infrastructure have been huge. Many respondents said they had spent “countless hours” on planning and programming alone. Some services estimated this to have involved hundreds of hours. For many services there were significant costs involved in providing additional staff to run 15 hour programs. Many services have hired at least one additional educator and frequently two, with some services hiring up to five.

• l earning and development outcomes for children • planning and programs • workforce (cuts to hours/jobs) • fee increases for families • infrastructure commitments The benefits of a 15 hour program for children were articulated clearly in the responses we received: • i t provides the best possible start to learning with increased skill development, concentration and confidence • t here is demonstrable improvement in cognitive ability, pre-literacy and pre-numeracy skills • t here is an increase in independence and social competence • c hildren showed improved school readiness enabling a smoother transition to school Wider benefits attributed to 15 hour programs included: • f or vulnerable children, children with disabilities and additional needs and children from a non-English speaking background, it allows extra time to provide more intensive early support

• in rural settings where there is limited access to services, 15 hour programs enrich children’s lives by providing much needed opportunities to grow and learn • 1  5 hour programs better suit working families Many respondents felt that the government would be sending a contradictory message by cutting 15 hours – a message that quality no longer matters and that early learning is not important – especially after the encouragement from all levels of government to implement 15 hour programs in the first place. There were many comments about this, to note just one: Children are our future leaders and one day may replace our current politicians to run our country. I challenge our politicians to ask themselves are they really interested in the future of our country… If so support our children, the future leaders, to be educated as life-long learners. Every child, every opportunity.

Your investment in 15 hours Survey responses revealed the enormous commitment of time, money and hard work by committees, cluster managers, local governments, educators, parents and

The other issue was infrastructure. Many services renovated or built new rooms, upgraded outdoor areas and purchased new equipment, furniture and IT. In some communities, new centres were built costing millions of taxpayer and community-raised dollars. For the majority of respondents, all this time, effort and money was worth it to provide high quality, 15 hour programs for children. As one respondent put it: Considerable time, planning and money was spent over a number of years, prior to the introduction of 15 hours, by state education departments, cluster groups and group employers, independent kindergartens and LDC services, to implement this program because significant research reported the measurable benefits for the children, their families and the wider community. Universities have expanded Early Childhood training facilities to accommodate the increased demand for staff. The research has not changed – the benefits are still considerable for the children and the nation, so it seems foolish, to be taking the backward step of reverting to less hours. It is such a waste of time, money and resources (both staff and infrastructure) to cut the funding now. (continued on page 8)


Preschool Matters Term three 2014

“Loss of employment would be a major issue in a small isolated town. What does this mean for fulltime teachers? Are we to become a profession of part time workers? This is a serious issue in a mainly female profession”, survey respondent.

Going back to 10 hour programs? If the Commonwealth Government refuses to fund their share of 15 hour programs under the National Partnership Agreement on Early Childhood Education, state and territory governments have indicated they will not necessarily fund the shortfall. For children and families, services and educators in Victoria for example, this would mean reverting to a 10 hour program. Many respondents to the survey were appalled by this prospect using words like “disappointing”, “devastated” and “disaster” to describe their feelings. In the words of one respondent: As Australia is increasingly challenged to be a competitive and ‘smart’ nation, and considerable research and data indicate the significance of early childhood learning – it is staggering to imagine our government pulling funding from this critical area. Respondents expressed genuine concern about the impact of reduced hours on outcomes for children, saying that it “flies in the face” of international research evidence. The following comments are just some of the very many we received about this: • A  ppalling for children. The research is really clear that more exposure to quality early learning will directly benefit children.

• V  ulnerable children would have less opportunity to develop the necessary literacy and numeracy skills required for future education which leads onto employment. • A  10 hour program is difficult for some families as it would restrict mothers from going back to work, 2 days a week. • I feel very strongly that it would be a backwards move and given the fact that we are a rural service, having the 15 hours allows these children to gain more exposure to the world around them and really prepare for their future education. According to many respondents, going back to 10 hour programs would also have negative impacts on families. 15 hours programs have enabled some parents to work 2 days a week which would no longer be an option with a 10 hour program. This is likely to force some families to move their children into long day care settings, directly impacting the viability of sessional preschool services in some areas. While some services said they would try to continue delivering 15 hour programs, many said they could not do so as families in their community would not have the

ability to pay additional fees or contribute to additional fundraising efforts. Winding back 15 hour programs would also involve a decrease in staff hours and/or the need to retrench educators. Both would have serious financial consequences. Many educators wondered how they would cope with reduced incomes and felt they may need to leave the early childhood sector to find adequate ongoing employment. This was perceived to be a real threat to the attractiveness of the early childhood profession: Loss of employment would be a major issue in a small isolated town. What does this mean for fulltime teachers? Are we to become a profession of part time workers? This is a serious issue in a mainly female profession. And of course there will be viability issues for many services as they reprogram for 10 hours: Huge costs, as we would have to look at redundancies, as we already know we would lose many of our families to long day care if we have to look at shorter programs.

Future action

• B  ack to a lack of preparation for school. Less chance to develop social, emotional & educational confidence.

Thank you again for taking the time to complete our survey. These are your issues and your words. It is your views as ELAA members that inform how we approach governments, and what issues we prioritise as advocates on your behalf.

• L ess time to learn skills, to develop relationships with peers and adults other than family members. Less time to transition to the structured environment of school.

If you haven’t already done so, please sign our online petition calling on the Commonwealth Government to recognise the importance of quality early childhood education, and continue funding a minimum of 15 hours of preschool for 40 weeks per year, for all 4 year old children.

• S ome children with additional needs, immigrant and/or low socio-economic backgrounds would be detrimentally affected – they need the stimulation of an early childhood programme. • S ocial isolation. Lack of support for vulnerable children/families. Children facing greater challenges and difficulties with transition to school settings.

The petition is available on our website and each signature generates an email directly to Assistant Minister for Education, Sussan Ley. At the time of going to print on this edition of Preschool Matters, over 2400 concerned members and stakeholders had signed the petition and let Minister Ley know what they think about this critical issue. Your input and support to date has been vital in helping us to drive the campaign to Keep 15 Hours – Preschool Matters. It will continue to be essential in the coming months as we work to lobby Commonwealth and State governments to fund high quality early learning programs for children.

Preschool Matters Term three 2014


Keep quality education for children 15 hours of preschool is making a real difference to children’s educational outcomes, especially vulnerable and disadvantaged children.

Keep jobs for educators If governments cut funding for 15 hours, staff hours will be cut and up to 30% of early childhood education and care jobs will be lost.

Keep fees down for families If preschools continue to deliver 15 hours without government funding, parent fees will increase by up to 70%.

To sign the petition online go to www.elaa.org.au


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We offer flexible services to meet your centre’s individual needs. Just A.S.K. for help

Payroll Management All Bookkeeping Set and Monitor Budget AGM Reports & Forms Arrange Auditing GST Monitoring & Management Complete BAS Forms Fee Management using B Pay Personnel Management Full Admin Support – Day or Night Submit DEECD Forms Registered BAS Agent

Please visit our website




Preschool Matters Term three 2014

Award winning safe practice By Caroline Milburn

A Melbourne early learning centre has won Victoria’s top early childhood road safety award by taking a collaborative approach to road safety education and embedding it into the centre’s curriculum. Joyce Avenue Children’s Centre in the northern Melbourne suburb of Greensborough won the inaugural VicRoads Starting Out Safely road safety education award in May.

The annual award, sponsored by VicRoads, recognises excellence in the delivery of road safety education in an early childhood education and care setting. Ms Katherine Bulluss, the educational leader at the Joyce Avenue Children’s Centre, said staff and families were thrilled that the centre’s innovative approach to promoting road safety messages had been recognised by the award’s judging panel.

Early learning and road safety How Joyce Avenue Children’s Centre enriched its curriculum: Start early. In the babies room, children liked to watch the traffic lights on the road outside. Staff talked to children about the lights and different types of transport. Road safety discussions and activities were developed further in the toddler and kindergarten rooms. Involve families and children in creating fun displays. Taking photographs of families doing things safely, such as using seat belts or crossing the road, makes the messages more meaningful. Practice road safety in fun indoor and outdoor activities. Create interactive wall maps of the neighbourhood, using your own photos. Make your own road signs and traffic lights for the maps and for outdoor play.

She said the centre’s decision to strengthen its approach to road safety education began after staff took part in a Starting Out Safely professional development session, delivered by trainers from Early Learning Association Australia (ELAA). “The training session inspired us to do more research on how to promote road safety messages in our service,” Ms Bulluss said. “We wanted to further incorporate road safety education into our curriculum and involve our own families in the program. “We started to come up with ideas about how to embed good road safety practices in families rather than just practicing the activites with the children in the centre.” The centre developed a community-based approach to its curriculum and program development. For example, to promote the importance of children holding an adult’s hand while crossing a road, children and parents posed for photos holding hands as they walked across the centre’s carpark. The photos were displayed on the centre’s front gate and had an immediate impact. They triggered positive responses from parents and a noticeable increase in the number of adults holding children’s hands in the centre’s carpark. “I’ve had families come up to me and say, ‘My child wants to hold hands too, so can you take a photo of us and put it on the display?’ ” Ms Bulluss said. “Children point to their photo proudly and others ask if they can have their photo taken. By involving our families in these road safety activities the material is more meaningful to them instead of them seeing a stranger on a poster.” Centre staff also borrowed a Bicycle Helmet Education Pack, available from local police stations. They used the helmets and resources in the pack to set up a display to inform children and families about the importance of wearing helmets and how to choose and fit them properly. Staff embedded the safety information into activities in the playground by ensuring children used helmets when

Preschool Matters Term three 2014


Since then, as the children and educators have discussed what they see on roads in their neighbourhood, the display has expanded to include common road signs and symbols, different types of transport and a section on riding bikes safely in the playground, with accompanying photos of the children. The centre also received a VicRoads educational resources kit as a prize for winning the award, which included road play mats, helmets, books and puzzles. Mr Gary Blackwood, the Victorian government’s parliamentary secretary for transport presented the award to the centre’s staff at the 2014 Early Childhood Education Conference held in May. He said the judging panel had been impressed by how the centre’s educators had developed effective ways to work with children, families and communities to help prepare children to become safe and independent road users. “This award recognises and celebrates the achievements of early childhood educators in the provision of exemplary road safety education,” Mr Blackwood said. “The standard of submissions received for this award was high and demonstrates the level of commitment and engagement within this area of road safety.” Vicroads’ Starting Out Safely program, Victoria’s early childhood road safety education program, is being rolled out statewide.

riding their tricycles and made sure children took the helmets off when they moved to another activity. They drew zebra crossings on the ground with the children and children and staff took turns playing crossing attendant as children passed on their bikes. The centre also introduced a home made traffic light system for the playground, with children and staff discussing responsible riding and making better judgements about stopping and speeding in the playground. Ms Bulluss said parents have told educators they’ve noticed how their children have become more aware at home about road safety and the importance of wearing a helmet since the initiatives were introduced. The $500 prize money from the award has allowed the centre to buy working traffic lights for the playground to practice road rules. “The children think it’s great to hold the stop sign and play the role of the lollypop

person,” Ms Bulluss said. “They love to practice real life situations in the safety of the centre. So when we do go out on excursions, the children have an understanding of the road safety rules and what’s expected of them. “We talk to children about where their helmet lives at the centre and children come in and tell us where their helmet lives at home. As educators we’re working on linking the experiences we provide for children at the centre to children’s lives outside the centre, in their homes and communities.” The community-based approach about road safety has also been introduced into indoor activities at the long day care centre run by Banyule City Council. In the toddlers’ room the children play with an interactive traffic and road safety display on the wall. The display started with roads, traffic lights, a roundabout and a railway track.

Over the past two years, more than 1400 educators in Victorian early learning services have received its professional development training and resource materials on road safety education. VicRoads funds ELAA to deliver the free Starting Out Safely activities across Victoria. The program is designed to provide an engaging approach to road safety education, with training for early childhood educators, maternal and child health professionals, parents and carers. Recent figures released by VicRoads revealed that no children under seven years old were killed in car crashes in Victoria in 2013. Shane Lucas, ELAA’s CEO, said the statistic showed that road safety education, through programs such as Starting Out Safely, was helping to make communities safer for Victorian families. “The program is a great example of organisations working together to implement national reforms to early childhood road safety education, aimed at reducing the death toll on our roads,” Mr Lucas said.


Preschool Matters Term three 2014


2014 Early Childhood Education Conference

On behalf of the conference organising committee and Gowrie Victoria, ELAA would like to thank our members and colleagues for being a part of the 2014 Early Childhood Education conference. Over 860 delegates came together to participate in an event that showcased a program full of high-calibre international and Australian speakers who focused on the theme preparing children for life. The conference was opened by the Victorian Minister for Children and Early Childhood Development, the Hon Wendy Lovell on Friday 30 May. ABC presenter and comedian George McEnroe then warmed up the audience with an hilarious account of the challenges of parenthood. Keynote speaker, Professor Iram Siraj, inspired us with her presentation, focused on her ten year, longitudinal study of over 3000 children. The study looks at why,

what, and how some children manage to ‘succeed against the odds’ while others do not. Her presentation dealt with the complex nature of social disadvantage and the factors that can make an educational experience transformational for some children, but not others. Saturday’s delegates were treated to a motivating plenary session presented by Nairn Walker on supporting functional families. Nairn’s presentation focused on how our feelings and experiences shape who and how we are in the world; the potential implications for the children we work with, and as an opportunity to engage in professional reflection. Many of this year’s speaker’s presentations are available for you to download. Visit the conference website www.togetherwegrow.com.au.

ELAA and Gowrie Victoria are grateful to the Creswick Foundation for helping bring Professor Siraj to speak at this year’s conference. We would also like to extend our thanks to our gold sponsors, the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, for its contribution which covered accommodation costs for rural delegates, as well as our other sponsors, AustralianSuper and VicRoads. We would like to thank everyone for making the 2014 conference a great success – our speakers, trade fair participants and sponsors who help keep our registration costs to a minimum – and of course, the many attendees from across the early learning sector.

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2015 Early Childhood Education Conference The planning for the 2015 Early Childhood Education Conference is well underway. If you have any ideas for speakers you would like to see next year contact Sue Doring sdoring@elaa.org.au.

Clockwise from top left; Priscilla Reid-Loynes and Julie Georgiou; shoppers at the Trade Fair; the audience enjoying the conference opening session; Tim Marxsen, Caspar Connolly and Nick Foreman hard at work; Murray Dawson-Smith; Minister Lovell with Nicole Pilsworth, Jo Geurts (ELAA President), Andrew Hume (Gowrie Victoria CEO), Shane Lucas (ELAA CEO), Lee Cath, Ben Willee, Katie Wyatt and Karalynn McDonnell. Opposite clockwise from top left; Minister Lovell opening the conference; Keynote speaker Professor Iram Siraj; and Madame Zelda aka Louise Dorrat in full flight. Photos: Reg Ryan.



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Connecting children with their community Contributors: Gillian Barclay, Michelle Wood, Sarah Stevens and Lucy Vicino Quality Area 6 has endless possibilities for engaging with your wider service community. Moreland Community Child Care Centres have worked hard to really connect with their communities in meaningful ways which has not only enriched their programs, but also produced great outcomes for the children, staff and families. Moreland Community Child Care Centres (MCCCC) is a co-operative of three early childhood services located in Brunswick, in Melbourne’s inner city north. Brunswick is one of the most multicultural areas of Melbourne. Migrants have come from Greece, Italy, Turkey, Lebanon, Macedonia, Vietnam and Somalia just to name a few. While the older generation is an example of the cultural diversity of the area, it is the younger residents who bring radical and alternative ways of thinking. This mix creates a rich, vibrant community – providing endless opportunities for children to explore and develop a sense of belonging. Sitting in the middle of this exciting environment are the three MCCCC early childhood centres – Tinning Street, Mitchell Street and Dunstan Reserve. While Dunstan Reserve is a purpose-built centre, the other two are located in

converted houses. In 2012, after considering best practice and innovative ways the service could improve, it was decided to move to a multi-age model at those two centres – incorporating babies of six months through to kindergarten children. The structural environment of the houses suited this arrangement perfectly. Mitchell Street was the first centre to change, followed by Tinning Street in 2013. This created a radical shift in the way staff related not just to the children (no longer were they assigned to age groups) but also to each other. For a multi-age program to work, staff have to communicate effectively. An incredible amount of preparation was undertaken to ensure that all staff were comfortable with this change and the management of this process could easily be a thesis all of it’s own, but the limitations of this article allow for only a very brief overview. However, time and lots and lots of conversations established the foundations. Confidence with this new arrangement grew and suddenly staff could see all the possibilities, flexibility and freedom the model offered. It was the move to this “communal” setting that opened the discussion around a community kindergarten program which is now rolling out to include all the age

groups – toddlers and babies too! The MCCCC definition of a community kindergarten is a program of active learning that also creates a sense of ownership – citizenship – of the world around them. So this means regular excursions – by foot, by train, by bus, by tram; bringing the community in – through incursions and visits by all kinds of interesting people. The children are participants in their community. The connections are wide and varied, but one of the most precious relationships is the one with Hope Aged Care. The children visit on a regular basis. Here, some children are able to spend time with their own family members, while others have the opportunity to mix with elderly people they otherwise wouldn’t be around. The residents at the home are now comfortable with the children and it is a most rewarding time for everyone involved. It wasn’t such a smooth beginning for this project – and it would have been very easy to see it as too problematic and walk away. Perseverance, honest open conversations, and a joint commitment to the value of the experience has kept everyone on track and resulted in such a worthwhile community link.

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integrated into the paths of the community garden. The stepping stones were installed as part of a joint working bee with the community garden, the MCCCC staff and families. This allowed an opportunity for members of the community group, the artists and parents of the service to come together and share stories. MCCCC had been very keen to establish a connection with a “sister school” overseas, thereby reinforcing the global aspect of the children’s community. The service learned of the Upendo school in Tanzania. To build a connection between the children of our communities, we began by introducing a ‘mascot’ into both learning environments. Each mascot would become a part of the class, attending school during the week and going home with different families over the weekend. The intention was for each mascot to spend a term in each country and be swapped by post. The children would then have a window into each community through the lives of the mascot.

The children at Mitchell and Tinning Streets (and increasingly more often at Dunstan Reserve) undertake excursions on a weekly basis. While each excursion enhances their knowledge of their community, each time they step outside the centre, they are learning about road safety rules, how to catch a bus, where to stand safely on a train platform, how to engage with strangers. Simple concepts, but lessons for life. CERES is a popular destination for the children from all of our centres. The environmental park is just a bus ride along Albion Street. Other learning opportunities lay in a walk to the post office, buying bread from the local bakery, selecting fruit from the shop – all easy to do! The other bonus is that parents and extended family can be involved. It is a wonderful way to include your family community in the program. As with most things, careful planning is the key to the success of these excursions. Considerable time and energy was invested to ensure all staff understood the expectations around the excursions – primarily the tremendous responsibility they have when taking the children outside the centre environment. The policy was reviewed, permission forms updated and risk management processes clarified. No one takes this aspect of the program for granted.

With the implementation of the NQS, our organisation has already come a long way towards embedding sustainability in our service. This has included establishing a parent sustainability committee which previously audited our environmental sustainability practices across the organisation. We have existing worm farms, water tanks and vegetable gardens. We buy recycled paper, use single use face washers to reduce waste, recycle waste products and use natural products throughout the learning environment. Sustainability is a strong value in our community and our ‘Planting the Seeds’ project at Dunstan Reserve aimed to create a partnership with the community garden adjacent to that service. To physically join the sites together Moreland Council was approached to install a gate between the community garden to the centre’s outdoor playground. This allows access for groups of children throughout each day. To develop a sense of belonging for children inside the community garden we engaged with a local arts group Brunswick Arts Space on a stepping stone project. This involved the artists working with the kindergarten children to create mosaic stepping stones about something that was important to them. These were then

This proved to be a little more difficult than originally planned – due to “African time”. The wheels turn slower at Upendo. Nevertheless, these challenges simply inspired further conversations around the differences between the two locations. The mascots were chosen following excursions to the Melbourne Zoo. Each kindergarten group visited the animals to decide which one they felt best represented them. Once selected, the mascots were given a name. They then went home with the children, their adventures recorded in mountains of photographs. It was incredible. The families embraced this opportunity to participate in the program. There are images of mascots at a wedding – positioned with the bridal couple, sitting in the cockpit of an aeroplane with the pilot, sunbaking at the beach, sitting up in a shopping trolley, tucked up in bed, on holiday in Cambodia, eating dinner at a restaurant... The photographs were placed in the kindergarten’s visual diary and then sent to Upendo with the mascots to share with the children there. It was then the turn of the Upendo children to take them home and record their experiences. Embracing our community – whether it’s local or further afield – has added a richness to our programs that not only benefits the children, but also stimulates and inspires staff. It’s all there on your doorstep!


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Children exploring their world – pure science By Coral Campbell Coral is an Associate Professor, School of Education at Deakin University. Her presentation at the 2014 Together We Grow conference explored early childhood science education and integrating science experiences with play. In its simplest form, science is about humans attempting to understand the world around them. Science is in all aspects of our natural and constructed world, such that children interact with science from the time they are born. Young children are curious about their world and start to explore everything around them. It is natural for children to want to seek answers to their questions or puzzles about their surrounding environments. How often have you seen a young baby drop something, over and over again, delighting in the fact that they have discovered that the item always falls to the ground? As a parent or educator, how can you capture some of that early childhood curiosity and help to stimulate and sustain it? Children learn as they grow, and they adopt their own explanations for the things they see around them. This is often termed ‘everyday science’, referring to the ways children interpret their environments based on their own everyday experiences. Science learning can occur incidentally, as the child is involved or engaged in other activities. Incidental learning is considered to be unintentional or unplanned learning that results from other activities. It occurs in the home environment and early childhood centres as children undertake their normal play activities. Incidental science understandings can arise through observation of others or specific things (like watching how a caterpillar moves), through problem solving (working out how to balance on a tree stump) and through social interactions in which discussions with others may present new information. Incidental science learning can also occur through the mistakes that children make when they are forced to adapt or accept an alternative way of doing or understanding something.

Alternative concept

Science concept Partial concept

Conceptual understanding continuum

Children love to explore the world around them. As they feel confident in their surroundings and with those with whom they interact, they investigate further and further. They demonstrate a sense of wonder about the little things around them and delight in the natural aspects of the world – for example, finding tiny snail eggs, which most of us would not even notice in our busy lives. One thing is very clear, both from research and from our own observations of young children – learning is enhanced by social interaction and social learning leads to cognitive development (increased understanding). Learning is accelerated through interactions with more capable ‘others’, such as other children, siblings, parents or other adults (educators etc). For a parent or an educator, there are some basic ideas which help young children learn about the science in the world around them – and it doesn’t mean that we have to ‘teach’ science. • B  abies need exposure to new experiences, new materials and the opportunities to explore new ideas. This exposure provides them with the basis for constructing meaning. • T  oddlers need exposure to new experiences, but also to the language of science which is introduced alongside their ‘everyday’ language. They need to be able to follow their own investigations, whilst being scaffolded to achieve success. • P  re-schoolers can investigate their own ideas and should be given the opportunity to discuss and revisit their explorations. They evaluate the findings

of their investigations and can initiate new explorations. In the construction of meaning, children often arrive at an understanding that is different from the scientifically acceptable concept. These are called: everyday concepts, naïve concepts, or alternative concepts. Due to their age and the limited number of experiences they have, young children’s developed ideas are frequently naive when compared with science ideas. That is fine. It can take a long time and multiple experiences for children to move towards a closer scientific explanation for the things they see and experience. Over time, with increased exposure to their world, and with appropriate scaffolding, children develop ideas which more closely align with scientific ideas. There is some valuable information about how young children learn – particularly in science and mathematics. Children (and adults) construct their own understandings based on what they experience, so every time they experience something, the understanding from the present experience is linked with what has gone on before. This has several implications. One is that learning is a continuous and ongoing event. It never shuts off or stops. Another is that a child’s new experience can reinforce previous understandings, or be rejected because it doesn’t quite fit. Usually however, a child can just create a new explanation and hold two understandings for the same science phenomenon. For example, while children may believe that air is everywhere, they will often think it is not inside (or that it comes inside when we open a door). They often believe that a closed jar doesn’t contain air until we take

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“Children love to explore the world around them. As they feel confident in their surroundings and with those with whom they interact, they investigate further and further. They demonstrate a sense of wonder about the little things around them and delight in the natural aspects of the world”, Coral Campbell.

A simple activity to do at home or preschool related to floating and sinking – a frequent play activity for young children. Have a range of items available for children to test for floating or sinking in a clear plastic container or even at bathtime. Ask children whether they think it will float or sink. It is important to ask for the prediction as it ‘hooks’ children into the play. After they have a guess, let them trial the item by putting it into the water. The understandings you are hoping to help children gain are: • S omething floats depending on the material it is made of • A  n object’s shape will affect whether it floats or not eg. Material with a boat shape will float because they effectively contain air. eg Plasticine normally sinks, but can be made to float by shaping into a boat. the lid off and when the lid goes back on, the air leaves the jar. As a parent or educator, there are a number of ways you can help young children’s science explorations: • Scaffold children’s learning – co-learning with them, while valuing their skills and knowledge. For example, sharing your observations about how butterflies fold their wings on landing. • “more knowledgeable other” – capitalise on moments to share something you know with your child (without taking over or dominating). • Asking productive questions – questions which promote thinking “What do you think? • Modelling skills (how to handle small animals carefully), knowledge (thinking out loud) and dispositions (being interested in discoveries). This is

• •

• •

particularly important. If you shrink away from holding a small garden animal, children will learn to do that as well – limiting their opportunities for further learning. Looking for the science in everyday explorations and helping children to see these. For example, watching the way water runs down a window pane or how shadows move on the ground. Allowing children time to undertake their own explorations, Exploring when children have opportunities to play with ideas and develop new understandings through experiences Children seeking answers by asking questions, building on their understandings and experiences Widening their explorations to investigate their own ideas Reflecting – revisit ideas

• W  ater pushes up on objects with an upthrust force – try pushing a ball underwater and feel the ‘push’ back. • F loating occurs on or below the surface - a fish can be said to be floating in water even if it is not on the surface The following ideas are not correct, but are often developed by limited observations and lack of challenge. • H  eavy things sink, light things float • Big things sink, small things float



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What does it mean to be the educational leader in your service? leader. This recognises that every service is different and every team of educators is different. The flexibility built into these provisions allows approved providers to choose the best person in the service to take on this role.

So what might the role look like in your service? I have spoken with educational leaders from many areas of Australia working in different service types and settings. Their stories are amazing and it is so inspiring to hear the variety of strategies used to enthuse, motivate and guide educators.

Rhonda Livingstone, National Education Leader of the Australian Children’s Education & Care Quality Authority debunks the myths around educational leadership and looks at ways to support educators in their leadership role. It has long been recognised that early childhood leadership is an indicator of quality1. The National Quality Framework acknowledges that the role of an educational leader in an early childhood service is very important in supporting educators to develop and implement the curriculum and in doing so, promote quality outcomes for children and families using the service. Many myths about the educational leader role have emerged in recent times. For example, there are myths that suggest the educational leader has to do all the programming in all areas of the service, or take responsibility for supervision of staff. These are very narrow, prescriptive ways of viewing this important role and there are many more possibilities and opportunities that the role presents. In the absence of a mandated role description or prescriptive qualification standards, some approved providers and educators have expressed uncertainty about the role and what it might like look in a service.

It is therefore timely to revisit the requirements of the National Quality Standard (NQS) and related legislative standards for the educational leader.

The requirements Under Quality Area 7 – Leadership and Management of the National Quality Standard, Standard 7.1 requires that effective leadership promotes a positive organisational culture and builds a professional learning community. In particular, element 7.1.4 requires that provision is made to ensure a suitably qualified and experienced educator or coordinator leads the development of the curriculum and ensures the establishment of clear goals and expectations for teaching and learning. Underpinning these requirements, Section 118 of the Education and Care Services National Regulations requires that the approved provider must designate, in writing, a suitably qualified and experienced educator, coordinator or other individual as educational leader at the service to lead the development and implementation of educational programs in the service. It is important to note that neither the NQS nor the regulatory standards are prescriptive about the qualifications, experience, skill or role description for the person chosen to be the educational

The educational leader may be the most qualified person in the service; however, to be an effective educational leader, a broader range of skills and attributes that includes leadership skills is required. There may be other team members who are more experienced, have built respectful relationships or have more time to take on this role. So the educational leader may not necessarily be the most qualified or working full-time. In fact, an educational leader can be a leader for more than one service. As the focus is on outcomes, it is important to be able to demonstrate how a leader is undertaking the role effectively. Approved providers can use their professional judgement to determine who is suitably qualified, experienced, skilled and best able to take on that role. The same applies to authorised officers who will use their professional judgment to determine how effectively the educational leader is leading curriculum development and ensuring clear goals and expectations are established for teaching and learning.

Qualities of an educational leader Sandra Cheesman in the Early Childhood Australia NQS PLP e-Newsletter No. 33 2012, identifies that ideally the educational leader has qualifications in early childhood education and identifies the following qualities that should be given consideration when choosing an educational leader:

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“The educational leader may not necessarily be the most qualified or working full-time. In fact, an educational leader can be a leader for more than one service. As the focus is on outcomes, it is important to be able to demonstrate how a leader is undertaking the role effectively,” Rhonda Livingstone, National Education Leader of ACECQA.

• knowledge of theories, learning and development – someone who has an interest in reading widely and sharing information with other educators in bite-sized chunks • knowledge of curriculum approaches and the strengths and weaknesses of each approach in particular settings or with particular children • access to current research about curriculum and a desire to guide others in reflecting on their practice • knowledge of individual children and learning styles so that approaches can be differentiated to meet complex needs of children from a range of backgrounds and abilities • personal qualities and a willingness to listen as well as coach, mentor and reflect alongside their team. The chosen person also needs to be willing and able to take on this role!

Challenges and opportunities I recently spoke with Dr Louise Thomas, National Director, Early Childhood at the Australian Catholic University. Louise has been engaged in research around the ADVERTISING

educational leader role and has been exploring current expectations of leadership and the tension between being a leader and doing leadership in early childhood education. In her research2, Louise identified that educators are more familiar with the expectations of managerial leadership (for example, taking on roles such as director or coordinator) and less familiar with the expectations of educational leadership. This can be a source of uncertainty and sometimes tension, holding together expected practices of the role, and the sometimes competing practices of building and maintaining the relationships that are so important for success in this role. Holding together certainty and uncertainty of these expectations is the ethical work that educators embrace, and sometimes struggle with, in their continual endeavours to do the best for children, families and colleagues. While the educational role may pose some challenges, it also provides a range of opportunities, including the following

examples drawn from this Department of Education and Early Childhood Development factsheet (www.education.vic.gov.au/.../ factsheeteducationalleaderaccessible.docx): • p  roviding educational leadership to educators, teachers and administrative staff • c oaching and mentoring educators to support children’s learning in the five learning and development outcomes (identity, community, wellbeing, learning and communication) • s upporting high quality teaching and learning for children in a service • r epresenting the organisation in networks and committees that focus on children’s learning • d  eveloping and reviewing policy, course curricula and teaching/learning materials drawing on a deep understanding of educational theory and practice • c ollaborating and working with parents and families as partners in children’s learning. (continued on page 20)


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“Bringing educators on the journey and working collaboratively to establish clear goals and expectations for teaching and learning will build ownership and maximise the likelihood of success”, Rhonda Livingstone, National Education Leader of ACECQA.

Where to start So where should an educational leader start and what support is available to assist educational leaders to be effective in the two key roles of: • l eading the development of the curriculum • e  nsuring the establishment of clear goals and expectations for teaching and learning? Bringing educators on the journey and working collaboratively to establish clear goals and expectations for teaching and learning will build ownership and maximise the likelihood of success. Other important roles that educational leaders can take include supporting and assisting educators to: • find, use and share resources • u  nderstand and implement policies and procedures • e  ngage in critical reflection (for example engaging in an action research project to enhance practices in the service) • link the service philosophy with practice, think about the theories that underpin


practice and think about the learning outcomes, principles and practices in the learning frameworks • d  ocument children’s programs, learning and development in a way that meets the standards and is manageable, meaningful and relevant for the children, families, setting and community • t hink about what they would like the authorised officer to observe, discuss and sight to demonstrate the service is meeting the standards. From the data available from the service assessment and ratings to date, we see that educators are having most difficulty with the elements in Quality Area 1 – Educational Program and Practice – that relate to critical reflection and the cycle of planning, implementing and evaluating. As a start, the reflective questions in the Early Years Learning Framework and the Framework for School Age Care as well as the Guide to the National Quality Standard are useful for educational leaders to use to engage educators in discussion and reflection about programs and practices.

There are a number of resources available to assist educational leaders. For example, if you want to know how the authorised officer will assess that the educational leader is effectively leading the development of the curriculum and ensuring the establishment of clear goals and expectations for teaching and learning, the Guide to the National Quality Standard offers some suggestions. However, it is important to remember it is not a checklist, but rather paints a picture of what you might expect to see at the Meeting National Quality Standard level. The Early Childhood Australia Professional Learning Program and the Inclusion and Professional Support online library also include useful and accessible resources on this topic. 1 OECD (2006) Starting Strong II: Early Childhood Education and Care. http:www. oecd.org/newsroom/37425999.pdf 2 Thomas, L and Nuttall, J (2014) Negotiating policy-driven and state mandated expectations of leadership: Discourses accessed by early childhood educators in Australia. New Zealand Research in Early Childhood Education Journal, 17 pp101–114


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ELAA Partnering with Allianz Workers’ Compensation Insurance Allianz knows the importance of having peace of mind when growing your business.

Peace of mind when growing your business means making the right choices along the way, including the important one about workers’ compensation insurance. Your workers’ compensation insurance should work as a ‘silent partner’ with your business to protect you and your employees when you need it most. When contacting us to arrange cover, make a change to an existing policy, or to lodge or enquire about a claim, we make it easy for you, exceeding your expectations. As the preferred WorkCover agent of the ELAA, Allianz will provide you with: • A  n Account Manager to oversee your Workers’ Compensation program; • C  laims management expertise that will return your injured workers to employment sooner; • Occupational Health & Safety support and guidance; • Access to Allianz training courses and events.

2014 National Training Schedule now available To help ELAA members begin planning their training requirements for the new year, Allianz’ workers compensation courses for 2014 are now available online.

As well as standard course offerings, three new courses have been introduced. New courses for 2014 are: • Incident Investigation – This course will provide participants with an overview of incident investigations, reporting, notification obligations and prevention strategies in the workplace; • P  revention of Musculoskeletal Injuries in the Workplace – This course will examine the common causes of musculoskeletal injuries, including manual tasks and slips, trips and falls. The course will focus on prevention and provide ergonomic principles and risk management strategies to implement in the workplace. • E  nhancing Wellbeing in the Workplace – This workshop will help you understand the impact of health and wellbeing levels on workforce capability and the benefits that a wellbeing program can add to your workplace. It will also assist you to develop and implement a strategic wellbeing program in your workplace. For more detailed descriptions of these new courses and all other courses available go to http://www.allianz.com.au/ workers-compensation/training/

The online National Training Schedule, gives you access to book your training courses 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Other benefits include immediate confirmation for your booked course, email and SMS reminders and the ability to pay for courses via EFT, MasterCard or Visa, that incur a fee. Our 2014 training offerings will be reviewed quarterly to ensure they continue to be relevant and topical. Courses scheduled for the second half of 2014 will be released in March.

For all queries regarding the ELAA/Allianz partnership and the benefits it provides or general queries regarding Workers’ Compensation, please contact your Allianz Business Account Manager, Danielle Hickey, on (03) 9234 3413 or via email danielle.hickey@allianz.com.au.


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Planning for tomorrow, today – successful succession planning By Glenda Glover, ELAA’s Manager Member Services Annual General Meetings (AGMs) in the early learning sector often herald the ‘’changing of the guard’’ in the management of early childhood services. Glenda Glover, ELAA’s Manager, Member Services, provides some tips on successful succession planning. One of the biggest challenges facing many early childhood services as the Annual General Meeting (AGM) approaches is recruiting new committee members. The transient nature of committees of management, with members often changing from one year to the next, can result in loss of valuable knowledge (including legal and historical information). This is a potential risk for the organisation. However, with some careful consideration and planning, committees should see this as an opportunity to recruit people with

fresh ideas and a range of skills that complement those who may be staying on or seeking re-election. Succession planning is generally defined as the process of preparing to hand over management in a way that is the least disruptive to the organisation’s operations and values; progressively transferring organisational and decision making authority to a new group of committee/ board members. It is also about putting in place procedures that can be easily actioned if a person holding a key position on the committee moves on. For organisations to continue to be viable and thrive it is vital that there is a continuity of management with ‘the right people in the right place at the right time with the right skills’.

Effective succession planning and implementation links to Quality Area 7: Leadership and service management. ‘This quality area focuses on effective leadership and management of the service that contributes to quality environments for children’s learning and developments. Well documented policies and procedures, well maintained records, shared values, clear direction and reflective practices enable the service to functions as a learning community……Effective leaders of education and care services are able to set direction and establish values for the service that reflect its context and professionalism. Effective leaderships creates a positive organisational culture that values openness and trust; where people are motivated to ask questions, debate issues and contribute to each other’s ongoing learning and inquiry……The effective management of education and care services requires constant review for a changing environment. Managing for quality requires a wide range of skills and a thorough understanding of the education and care system, including standards and effective practice. Approved providers, nominated supervisors and service leaders must work in partnership to meet the expectations of a wide range of stakeholders. To achieve the best outcomes for children and families, the approved provider needs to provide a skilled workforce, effective budgeting and financial accounting processes, sound administrative systems and a safe and healthy learning environment for children.’ Standard 7.3: Management and administrative systems enable the effective provisions of a quality service. Element 7.3.4: ‘Appropriate governance arrangements are in place to manage the service.’

Every committee needs a sufficient range of skills to fulfil all of its responsibilities and therefore it is important to start thinking about recruitment needs and strategies well before the AGM. Rather than waiting until the night of the AGM and hoping people will put up their hand, start to plan now. Spend some time considering your committee’s needs and recruitment procedures. If your organisation has some specific long-term goals or plans, consider the types of expertise that may assist those projects. For example, if you are planning a playground redevelopment, someone with gardening/landscaping experience would be useful on the committee. It is important to be proactive rather than risk being left with what you can get rather than what you need.

Planning The committee/board may do some preliminary planning for recruitment or allocate the task to a subcommittee. When planning it is important to consider: • d  iversity – think about age, backgrounds, cultures, expertise when recruiting new members; diversity can bring new perspectives and new ideas to an organisation • research the range of skills required by the committee/board to implement the Statement of Purpose and any plans the organisation may have for the future; for example HR, financial management, planning, early childhood development, community building, construction, communications, IT expertise • u  ndertaking skills audit of current committee members to establish what other skills are required • r ecruit from the broader community; think about people you know in your community such as local business people or unsuccessful candidates from local/state elections or organisations such as Rotary, Lions Clubs,

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Toastmasters, Apex, Our community, which may have appropriately skilled people as well as talking to parents/ carers of children currently attending or on the waiting list who may be able to fill those gaps. • review your constitution to ensure membership is extended to the broader community.

Strategies for recruitment Participation on a committee of management is a commitment of time and effort; however there are many valuable skills that parents gain through their role on a committee.

the committee operates (however, plan the agenda carefully to maintain confidentiality)

• t he benefits of joining the committee (short and long term)

• a  dvertise for members (www. ourcommunity.com.au has a section for advertising and recruiting new committee/board members). Where possible, if potential candidates are not known to any current members, develop a simple process of screening to ensure their suitability to your organisation.

• a short history of the organisation

The most useful tools for recruiting new members are enthusiasm and the personal approach. People are more likely to want to be involved in something that is enjoyable and interesting or provides benefits to themselves and their children.

It is important to actively canvass for new committee members well before the closing date for nominations for the committee or board. This should not be left to staff; the current committee should be driving the recruitment campaign.

It is important to be honest even if it has been a difficult or challenging year. Be honest, but also mention how valuable the experience has been, what you have learnt, the friends you have made, networks developed and the difference you have been able to make to the organisation and its members.

It is a great idea to circulate a newsletter to all new parents prior to the AGM telling them how the service is run, and to encourage their involvement. Follow up with a potential new recruit when interest is shown, but be careful not to put pressure on people.

Consider the following ways in which to recruit new committee/board members; • p  ersonal invitations – ring people ‘We need people with your skills’ • p  resent a positive image of your organisation by being clear about your organisation’s values; people are more inclined to join an organisation which appears happy, committed and well organised • p  lan open days, information sessions, coffee mornings or other social functions for people to meet the current committee and discuss the role of the committee • d  o a committee presentation on orientation day on the benefits of being a committee member • invite potential members to attend a committee meeting to show them how

and seconding a nomination, where the nomination form should be sent and by what date

• r ecruit parents from the 3 year old group if possible

Recruitment activities prior to the AGM

When preparing for the AGM ensure there is a clear nomination procedure in place. Be well prepared to answer any questions prior to the AGM and provide information that may be requested. Organise information or recruitment packs which include; • a  n outline of the committee’s role and responsibilities – be honest about the potential workload (it may seem overwhelming, but people will appreciate your honesty rather than be suspicious of promises that there is not really much work involved) • n  omination forms that have been prepared in accordance with the organisation’s constitutional guideline • information about the nomination process, which provide dates, contact details and information about moving


• a  description of the management and staffing structure, the constitution and a budget • d  etails of the current children’s program, any proposed changes for next year and long-term plans • t he organisation’s philosophy and/or vision • information about insurance cover provided for committee members • a  brief outline of their legal responsibilities, which may include regulatory, management, employment details • a  list of resources and support available to the committee • c ontact details of any current committee members to discuss/answer any questions. Succession planning doesn’t end with the recruitment of new members. It is important that a comprehensive orientation program and handover process is also developed and implemented. The current committee should invest some effort into developing a mentoring plan where outgoing members can support and work alongside new members for a period of time. Always remember – be positive about your involvement on committee and the important contribution you’ve made to the children, staff and the community. For more on planning your AGM and handover meetings refer to the ELAA Early Childhood Management Manual, which is available for purchase from the ELAA website. ELAA is presenting a workshop on Committee recruitment and succession planning on 20 August 2014. For further information and registration go to www.elaa.org.au.



Preschool Matters Term three 2014


After 20 years, McArthur is still placing the best early childhood people, in the best environments. McArthur has been delivering recruitment and career solutions to the early childhood education sector for over 20 years. During that time, we’ve learned a lot ourselves and it’s our unparalleled experience which allows us to deliver Best People Fit scenarios every time. We speak your language, and know your challenges. All our consultants have an intimate knowledge of your industry and its challenges. They have either worked within, or have extensive experience recruiting for the sector. The majority are tertiary educated in a relevant discipline and keep across all industry trends and contemporary practice through continuous training and development. It’s not just what we know, it’s who we know. After 20 years as Australia’s leading recruiter for the sector,our networks are extensive. We know the movers and shakers and the up and coming stars. We know who’s looking for a career move and who’s looking for new staff and can quickly match recruitment needs with the best possible skills sets and experience.

We’re part of your world. McArthur is as much part of the Early Childhood sector as you are. We put a lot back through the McArthur & ECA Leadership Development Scholarship, McArthur & ECA Student Encouragement Award and the Australian Family National Early Childhood and Care Awards. We also sponsor key events including the Unpacking Conference, In Conversations and the Semann and Slattery Early Years Learning Framework. We keep your finger on the pulse. We maintain strong relationships with a wide range of reputable RTO’s who provide continuous training and up-skilling to all our staff and candidates. It allows us to move our thinking as quickly as the industry develops, making sure we always deliver staffing and career solutions that meet changes in legislation, business practice and statutory requirements.

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Natural Sandpits maxi sail Dinosaur Sand Pods shade sails

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‘Best Fit’ recruitment

solutions ... 24/7

McArthur provide both permanent and temporary workplace/ career solutions across all skill sets including: • Management roles • Early Childhood Directors • Early Childhood Teachers • Diploma Trained Workers

• OSHC and Vacation Care • Food Preparation roles • Cooks • Certificate Trained Workers

We offer a 24/7 service and guarantee a consultant will be in contact within one hour. So call the Early Childhood team on 9828 6565

Masterplay flexible play systems From simple to extensive. We have the ideas to make your play spaces come alive because — we love happy kids too ph. 9876 4112 mob. 0414 348 188 email. pjoe@rabbit.com.au

Preschool Matters Term three 2014



At T. & P. we manufacture full range quality furniture that will create a warm natural learning environment in your Centre Contact us for your Project Blocks • Lockers • Shelving Delightful opened ended home corner and play furniture Tables Chairs • Trolleys • Planks Ladders Trestles Full Range of Quality play resources to capture any child’s imagination

Phone/Fax 03 9791 9149 Email info@tppreschoolequipment.com.au www.tppreschoolequipment.com.au Celebrating our 30th year of manufacturing for the Early Childhood Industry

Everything your kindergarten needs.

Do you have job vacancies? Advertise your jobs! Promote your vacancies to the right people at www.elaa.org.au/jobboard

What is the easiest way to find jobs in the Victorian early childhood sector? Jobs in Early Childhood Sponsored by McArthur Find your next job at www.elaa.org.au/jobboard or register for our job alerts to get weekly updates! This service is brought to you by McArthur and ELAA.

In addition to our guaranteed everyday lowest prices across the widest range in Australia, Officeworks has partnered with ELAA to bring members: • • • •

Preferential pricing Dedicated Education Account Managers A dedicated ELAA ordering website FREE delivery

Open your Education Account today by calling Jenny Gaffney 0438 452 792 or visit www.officeworks.com.au/education


Preschool Matters Term three 2014


Does your committee need some extra help to solve an ongoing issue? ELAA’s consultancy service is here to help. ELAA offers a wide range of individually tailored, specialist consultancy services to the early childhood services sector. ELAA has the expertise to provide advice, support and practical solutions for new ways of working. We regularly consult to independent committees of management and cluster managers on a range of projects; OHS compliance and training, staff handbook review, board/committee handbook review, policy review, staff recruitment and retention, program timetabling, staff rosters and much more.

We offer very competitive rates with special discounts for members. To speak to our ELAA Consultancy Coordinator about how we can help you contact us on 03 9489 3500 or email elaa@elaa.org.au or visit our website elaa.org.au for more information.

ENROL NOW Study with a training organisation who delivers qualifications that furthers your Childhood Education career.

From Australia’s

only quality-assured

early childhood catalogue

Enrolments are now open in: Certificate III in Early Childhood Education & Care (CHC30113) Certificate IV in School Age Education & Care (CHC40113) Diploma of Early Childhood Education & Care (CHC50113) Diploma of School Age Education & Care (CHC50213)

Visit our website for more information: gowrievictoria.org.au or call (03) 9349 2890

Early Childhood Australia is the country’s leading non-profit early childhood advocacy organisation. For 75 years, we have published a wide range of resources for early years educators and practitioners. View our e-catalogue at: www.earlychildhoodaustralia.org.au/catalogue

insurance PARTNER: Insurance House

Preschool Matters Term three 2014


MAKE UP PAY INSURANCE You will most likely be aware that any employee who suffers a work-related injury has access to Workcover benefits. These benefits commence at 95% of the employee’s pre-injury wage and reduce thereafter at 13 weeks and again at 52 weeks.

You may not however be aware that within the terms of the Victorian Early Childhood Teachers and Assistants Agreement, you have an obligation to make up the difference between the Workcover benefit payable and the employee’s pre-injury wage. We have negotiated a Make Up Pay insurance product with Professional Risk Underwriting Pty Ltd (on behalf of certain Lloyd’s of London underwriters), which will provide your Kindergarten/Pre-school with insurance protection against your liability to provide this make-up pay to injured workers who receive Workcover benefits.

As an indication of the cost to you, the premiums for various wageroll bands are outlined below: Premium schedule Wages up to $50,000

Total premium payable $155

Wages between $50,001 and $75,000


Wages between $75,001 and $100,000


Wages between $100,001 and $150,000


Wages between $150,001 and $200,000


Wages between $200,001 and $250,000


Wages between $250,001 and $300,000


Wages between $300,001 and $400,000


Wages between $400,001 and $500,000


Wages between $500,001 and $750,000


Wages between $750,001 and $1,000,000


Insurance House Group, with the support of ELAA, recommend that you effect this insurance to enable you to better manage the cost of your obligations to injured workers to maintain their income during prolonged periods of disability. Please contact Jo Broderick at Insurance House on 1300 305 834 for a quotation or to arrange immediate cover.



Preschool Matters Term three 2014

Member profile

In this edition of Preschool Matters we catch up with

Phil Hocking Chief Executive Officer with Loddon Mallee Preschool Association

I’ve been in the role of Chief Executive Officer with Loddon Mallee Preschool Association since October 2013 My career path to this job… Prior to commencing with LMPA I held a number of senior management roles and had my own property development business before making the move to LMPA. My working day entails… One thing about this job is that you never know what each day is going to throw at you. I really can’t say that I have a work routine because everything changes so much from day to day but essentially the day starts with a quick review of the diary, emails and then it’s onto the tasks list, which is regularly punctuated with the daily challenges that inevitably arise. Throw in a meeting or two along the way and that’s fairly close to the standard daily progression.

I’m most inspired by… My drive, enthusiasm and inspiration comes from a number of places but particularly from the people around me and most definitely from my family. I’m inspired by people who succeed personally when dealing with adversity which helps put everything into perspective and makes me appreciate just how lucky we all are. A lot of my inspiration, as well as aspirations, come from some of the really successful Australian Business leaders, but I if had to pick one or two people who stand out to me as people I would aspire to be like or be compared to, its probably my parents. They are two people who I think have been selfless in raising their family and always being there to provide support. I believe that their amazing parenting skills and approach to life is what has made me the person I am and the person I want to be.

“Being part of an organisation whose primary role is to realise, if possible, every child having equal access to an early years education is very rewarding, but it’s equally rewarding to be part of an organisation that is moving forward in a challenging and changing environment.”

What I love about my job is… I think what I love most about this job is seeing kids being kids as they commence their educational journey. Being part of an organisation whose primary role is to realise, if possible, every child having equal access to an early years education is very rewarding, but it’s equally rewarding to be part of an organisation that is moving forward in a challenging and changing environment. What makes me laugh… There’s not much better than a well told joke or story and it’s hard to beat a good comedy, but at the end of the day the most laughs I ever have come from those spontaneous evenings with a group of family or friends where the banter around the table just seems to gel and the laughter never seems to stop.

Have you registered for your free e-News from ELAA? e-News is delivered free each month and features all the latest news from the sector, including information on training and resources. For more information visit www.elaa.org.au/e-newssubscribe


Preschool Banking that adds up Our comprehensive banking package for Preschools has been designed to help committees manage cash flow. Our range of accounts includes: n Savings. n Day-to-Day. n Long Service and n Fundraising. Sick Leave Provisions. n Petty Cash. Start benefiting today. Call 1300 654 822 or visit victeach.com.au.

Preschool Term Deposits

3.55 3.65


30 – 90 days


Amounts over $5,000

*Subject to our Terms and Conditions, an interest rate reduction applies on early withdrawals. Interest rates correct as at 2 June 2014. Check website for current rates. This information does not consider your objectives, financial situation or needs - consider the suitability of this information and refer to Terms and Conditions or Product Disclosure Statements before acquiring a product, available at our branches or call 1300 654 822. Victoria Teachers Limited, ABN 44 087 651 769, AFSL/Australian Credit Licence Number 240 960.

Starting Out Safely Professional Development for Educators

Starting Out Safely, funded by VicRoads, is Victoria’s early childhood road safety education program.

Early Learning Association Australia delivers free road safety education professional development for educators involved in teaching and planning curriculum in early childhood services. These sessions are also suitable for bachelor or diploma of early childhood students. The professional development sessions can be delivered via your existing teacher network meetings or we can tailor sessions to fit within your organisation’s PD calendar. The 1½ hour interactive session, presented by leading early childhood education experts, gives educators practical strategies to support young children’s learning about road safety, centered on the latest evidence-based research. The session will identify how road safety education links to the EYLF, the VEYLDF and the National Quality Standard. The session also introduces the National Practices for Early Childhood Road Safety Education.

Event details If you are interested in organising a session for your staff or students, please contact the road safety education team on (03) 9489 3500 or email rse@elaa.org.au

ELAA delivers Victoria’s early childhood road safety education program, Starting Out Safely, on behalf of VicRoads. Contact the RSE team on (03) 9489 3500 or email rse@elaa.org.au

Profile for Early Learning Association Australia

Preschool Matters Term 3 2014  

Preschool Matters is a quarterly publication produced by Early Learning Association Australia

Preschool Matters Term 3 2014  

Preschool Matters is a quarterly publication produced by Early Learning Association Australia