Early Childhood Australia
Early Childhood Australia (ECA) believes that children living in rural and remote communities should have access to high quality early childhood programs including at least two days per week of early childhood education for at least two years before they start school. To make this a reality we must secure Rural and Remote Federal, State and Local Government support for programs and preschool education in these communities. ECA also understands that community ownership is important, particularly for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and that there are significant workforce complexities that need to be addressed. Our role is to advocate for public policy and program administration that enables rural and remote service delivery; as well as to support the early childhood sector by being a champion for quality and a leading provider of professional development resources.
In many rural and remote communities there is a critical gap in prevention and early intervention resources, supports and services for children. To meet this gap Royal Far West (RFW) works with early childhood settings and schools to make a positive change through:
• Disability support services with our Windmill Program.
• Identifying children requiring access to services and delivering virtual speech, occupational therapy and psychology assessment and therapy via video conferencing called Telecare, into homes, preschools and schools.
• Reporting on results and progress of children attending our Paediatric Development Program in Manly and discussing strategies to implement in the classroom.
• Webinars and other capacity building/training for teachers to help identify and respond to issues and how to develop a supportive environment in the classroom.
Royal Far West
Royal Far West
SNAICC believes all children should have access to quality services that can help them thrive no matter where they live.
Evidence indicates that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are nearly 2.5 times more likely to be developmentally vulnerable than other children at five years old. This vulnerability increases for rural and remote children, where access to integrated, culturally safe early years services is limited.
Barriers to access include:
(1) inadequate and inflexible funding for these services and
(2) the activity test in the new child care package which reduces children’s subsidised childcare hours depending on their parents’ circumstances. This activity test particularly affects children in rural and remote areas where their parents are experiencing higher levels of unemployment.
We believe governments should:
•Invest in quality Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled integrated early years services, with clear targets to increase coverage in areas of high Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations.
•Ensure all children have access to 30hrs p/w of subsidised early education and care without their parents having to meet any requirements.
Early Start University of Wollongong
Early Start’s purpose is to help children flourish and realise their potential, particularly those from vulnerable backgrounds and living in regional and remote communities. It is a revolutionary initiative that uniquely combines research, teaching and community engagement in the earliest years of life. At the heart of our approach is an ongoing partnership with 41 ECEC Engagement Centres located within these communities. Early Start is uniquely well placed to explore evidence-based professional learning and support models tailored to the needs and demands of these communities. In partnership, we can explore and expand the capacity of ECEC services to meet the needs of children and families in ways that properly recognise the challenges and difficulties of such work, and the ongoing demands faced by these services.