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

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Fighting for recognition

I have been spending the last few days in Perth with my partner who is a senior official of the Transport Workers Union. We are over here for the federal meetings.

As a result, I have been having lots of interesting conversations about politics and workers' rights (my previous life in HR sometimes helps and sometimes hinders these conversations).

The discussion of worker conditions in the early childhood field has come up a number of times. But the main theme has been that the wages and conditions for the industry are, to put it politely, abysmal.

One of the officials revealed to me that he was thinking of retraining and working in the field but he worked out as he was single and had rent and child maintenance to pay the income would not to be enough.

There has been a lot of talk recently about the workers in early childhood needing to stop being 'nice' (see the work of Sandra Cheeseman) and be honest about what we need in terms of a livable wage and a realistic measure of the work we do (so we are not doing everything at home on our own time).

One of the possible directions for my phd studies is a comparative study between what the nurses have achieved (and where they are going) and what we need to do to achieve a similar recognition of our skills. The Nurses have run a strong campaign to increase society's awareness of their skills, training and role within hospitals which has led to measurable improvements in wages and conditions and overall respect for the profession.

A key part of this is making the industry attractive and viable as a career choice for males (and single females) as well as the 'secondary' breadwinner.

Early Childhood Teachers study for 4 years at university only to come out and be paid very low wages. We need stand up and say this is not fair and our role is very important in society and should be recognized as such.

Posted by Wendy

"the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy" -Martin Luther King

1 comment:

  1. i think this quote is very profound - just dropping in to say hi. My latest post is about children's books if you have any favorites you would love to add.