Early Childhood Australia National Conference

This year’s Early Childhood Australia National Conference was held in Darwin from 5-8 October, attracting around 2000 early childhood practitioners from across Australia including IEU NSW/ACT Organisers Tina Smith and Lisa James.

NSW/ACT and QNT Branches of the IEUA were proud to be sponsors of this national event. This year’s theme, This is Childhood: Pedagogy and Practice in the Early Years marks the 30th year that ECA has coordinated a quality national event that provides IEU early childhood teacher members with the opportunity to network with other industry professionals as well as keeping up to date with current research and trends in this field.

The ECA conference program was outstanding and IEUA would like to take this opportunity to congratulate ECA for their continued support and contributions to the profession of early childhood.

Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham beamed in from Canberra to address the delegation about the new Jobs for Families package and Northern Territory State Minister for Education Eva Lawler outlined Labor’s educational and care initiatives for early childhood in the Northern Territory with a specific focus on Indigenous children living in remote areas.

Keynote speakers were invited from all parts of the world: Italy, Scotland, Netherlands and the USA. Italy’s Carla Rinaldi is considered to be a guru in the early childhood profession, and she did not disappoint. Her insights into the Reggio Emilla program and her knowledge about educating children in the early years were inspiring. Maria Aarts from the Netherlands is the founder of the Marte Meo program, which means ‘one’s own strength’. The Marte Meo program is based on the concept of how parents and professionals can unpack and turn daily routine interactions with young children into learning opportunities. Her program is used in 43 countries. Maria was well traversed in addressing such a large audience and her natural ability to intertwine deep pedagogical knowledge and strategies with a level of humour made her address very entertaining.

Over the three conference days, delegates could choose from over 40 workshops, ranging from dance and movement to current trends in the early childhood workforce. Key issues discussed covered attraction and retention of early childhood teachers in long day care services, emerging language shifts and differences between educators and university qualified teachers.

The conference provided a great platform and opportunity for the IEUA to demonstrate continued support for our members and the early childhood profession.