Jodie Harrison MP, Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Learning (NSW), met with the IEU Early Childhood Council on 21 February. Harrison asked about the impact of the recent bushfires on early childhood settings. Phillipa Maher explained that she was left to decide whether her preschool should remain open or close, while teaching and checking for bushfire updates in the area. This was a stark contrast to the schools nearby, that had been advised by the Department of Education ‘if and when’ they were to close.
Early Childhood Council members also informed Harrison of the need for resources to assist teachers to support children, families and other staff with mental health concerns due not only to the recent bushfires, but also the ongoing drought in many regional areas.