ACECQA Newsletter Issue 7 2015

Using digital touch technologies to support children's learning 

National Education Leader, Rhonda Livingstone, explores education in a digital world on ACECQA's blog.

Digital touch technologies such as tablets and smartphones have become an integral part of our daily lives. As educators we are sometimes concerned about children’s use of technology and the effects it may have. Educators need to be mindful that technology is a tool and the implications for children will depend on how we use it.
 
Although excessive or inappropriate use of digital touch technologies can have a negative impact, they also offer many opportunities for extending learning and development. When used effectively and appropriately, children’s learning and development can be enhanced by it. Read more on We Hear You.

Sharing culture through stories 

ACECQA spoke with Luisa Helwani, Director of Laugh and Learn Early Learning Centre at Miranda about using yarning circles to embed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture in their service.

“Earlier this year Les Bursill, a Dharawal Elder, began visiting our service to introduce the children and educators to many aspects of Aboriginal culture, including Dharawal language, food, rites of passage and art,” Luisa said. 

“I was keen to explore the idea of a yarning circle with Les as I understood that it’s traditionally used to share stories and discuss issues in an inclusive, respectful, collaborative way. 
 
“Les described it as more of a contemporary concept rather than a traditional method such as corroborees. He encouraged us to implement it, but to acknowledge that yarning circles are a contemporary idea. 

“The children at our service enjoy being involved in our yarning circle. They join the circle by finding their own name stone (belonging) and placing it in the basket. They then take turns, sharing information whilst holding a quartz rock sourced from our garden. 

“Les’ knowledge and expertise enriches our learning program and helps us capture local Aboriginal knowledge and histories. 

“I don’t think you can embed Aboriginal culture in a day, a week, or even one month. It must be ongoing in order to be authentic and meaningful. 

“Our next goal is to connect with an Aboriginal community specifically in an early childhood setting. We would like to establish a relationship and share information through letters, emails and even skype if possible.”

Opening a new service 

ACECQA often receives enquires about setting up a new service. Questions such as: What type of service should I operate? What are the legal requirements of the National Quality Framework that I need to satisfy? Who can I contact for support?
 
Opening a new service is both an exciting and challenging project, with many factors to consider. Understanding the laws and regulations governing your chosen service type is critical.
 
To help, we now have a dedicated page on our website, Opening a new service, which details the steps needed to start your planning.

Free AEDC resources

Early Childhood Australia and the Queensland Government Department of Education and Training have developed a suite of resources to help services use Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) data. 
 
The AEDC data provides important information about the development of Australia's children and these resources provide clear links to the National Quality Standard (NQS) and approved learning frameworks
 
View the AEDC resources and read more about how you might use the results to inform your programming and support areas of vulnerability in your community. 

Establishing healthy lifestyle habits

Amanda Lockeridge, State Program Manager for Munch & Move at NSW Health, writes about the importance of healthy eating and physical activity for young children, on ACECQA's blog. 

One in four Australian children are overweight or obese. Causes of obesity in children include unhealthy food choices and lack of physical activity.

We know that good nutrition and physical activity for young children are vital to support healthy growth and development, to prevent illness and to provide the energy children need to power through their day. It is also important to lay the foundation for a healthy and active lifestyle from a young age. 

Read more on We Hear You.


ACECQA chats with award-nominee Queensland family day care educator

Congratulations to the nominees of the Australian Family Early Education and Care Awards. National winners were announced at the gala in Sydney last month and  ACECQA spoke with family day care educator and finalist of the Rising Star Award, Geoffrey Schick. 

For Geoffrey, the bond that he’s built with the children and families in his service in Gowrie Junction, Queensland is the most rewarding aspect of his work. With 12 months’ experience helping run the service, Geoffrey said he continues to learn every day. 

“I think some families choose the family day care option because the children can learn and play in a small group, and in a home environment. We’re able to form strong relationships with the children and families and the children feel like they belong,” he said.  

“It’s definitely a dynamic group. The children are really competent learners and it’s amazing to see their confidence develop as they communicate, learn new skills and take calculated risks. 

“There’s a big outdoor area which includes a sand pit, swings, mud kitchen, bike track, vegetable garden, space for chickens, the cat and two dogs.  

“From picking pumpkins, collecting eggs, helping in the garden and building things in the shed, there’s always a task that they can help me with. I’ve received some positive feedback from the parents, which is rewarding and our service provider is enthusiastic and offers loads of encouragement.”

Toni Miles’ daughter attends the service and she thinks the educators have created a wonderful environment. 

“Geoff showed my prep-aged daughter how to use power tools, sand, paint and drill things on to an old pallet to make a busy board,” Toni said. “She was so very proud and confident in her ability.

“She told me that night about the steps taken to make her safe and to make sure it was strong. 

“Geoff really has a knack for encouraging the children to extend themselves but also giving them the skills to gauge the risks involved.”

Visit Neyah's Place Family Day Care Facebook page where their story continues and read more about the nominees and finalists of the Australian Family Early Education and Care Awards.     


ACECQA National Workshops come to Queensland

The ACECQA National Workshops start in Queensland this month, with the first session in Cairns on 27 July. The Queensland tour covers 15 workshops across the state, wrapping up in Mount Isa on 18 August. 
 
The National Workshops focus on Quality Area 1 – Educational Program and Practice which is an area we know services find more challenging to meet. The Queensland workshops will be led by ACECQA’s National Education Leader, Rhonda Livingstone, along with officers from the Queensland regulatory authority and local Professional Support Co-ordinator.    
 
An additional session has been scheduled in Ipswich and registrations are still open in Mackay, Rockhampton, Maryborough and Mount Isa.
 
Workshops are free of charge and are open to all educators and providers. Visit our Events page to register.