Welcome to my blog about my experiences working in early childhood. I have called it Nurturing Forests because I believe that raising children is not a isolated activity but takes a whole community.

As early childhood professionals, we are actively involved in this process but we also need to work closely with the children, parents, community as a whole and other allied professionals.

I hope you enjoy my site. I also have a facebook site of the same name where I provide links to useful sites for teachers, parents and others interested in the early childhood: www.facebook.com/nurturingforests

Friday, February 11, 2011

Getting our voices heard: Advocacy in Early Childhood

I attended the NSW Branch meeting for Early Childhood Australia this morning. It was a lovely 'yarn' (we decided after we managed to get off track a thousand times) with some great people with some fabulous ideas. Here's their website if you don't know them... http://www.earlychildhoodaustralia.org.au/

In particular, Melissa Smith worked us through some complex and challenging questions about developing a reconciliation action plan for the organisation. Melissa works both for CSU and DET and is very inspiring  http://www.csu.edu.au/faculty/educat/teached/dubbo/staff/melissa_smith.html

But as I sat there talking to these women, I wondered to myself why are there only 7 of us here? Isn't Early Childhood Australia our peak professional body? How can we expect to drive change in the industry if none of us are actually willing to get involved?

Our industry still has a long way to - terms and conditions, recognition of training (or even the need for it), quality care plus a thousand other things and the only way this will change is through advocacy....

I know not everyone can commit time (or the money for memberships - but ECA and IEU memberships are a very good idea and you can claim it on tax) but there are other things we can all do.....
- get on board with 'teachers are teachers' campaign that is being run by the IEU - http://www.teachersareteachers.org.au/
- participate in online forums like the EYLF PLP
- talk to staff and families about the importance of quality education and care (and what that actually is)
- join other groups such as Social Justice for EC (its free and they do a great job). Here's their website http://www.socialjusticeinearlychildhood.org/ 
- sign up to blogs, emails, twitter feeds, and facebook pages about early childhood and get involved in the conversations that are happening - there are some great blogs out there have a look at my blog profile for some ideas if you don't know where to start

So that's my rant for the day and I'll try and paste another practical post tomorrow to balance it - sorry if you're not that kind of person but as my fellow uni grads know - I am the kind of person that likes to talk up and kick up a fuss ;) and find it so much fun you might enjoy it too!

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