ECA President cites year of challenge and opportunity in 2018 Annual Report
In the Early Childhood Australia (ECA) Annual Report, released yesterday, ECA President Ros Cornish opened her report with reference to the preceding year as one that “continued to provide (both) challenge and opportunity” for the ECA and the sector.
Ms Cornish went on to note that much of the ECA’s advocacy in 2018 was focused on the new Child Care Subsidy (CCS) and the importance of ensuring all children have access to early learning despite their families employment or demographic status.
Although they were not able to achieve the changes to the CCS package that they advocated for, ECA said they remain unwavering in their commitment to children and the sector and have since moved focus to the future of Universal Access to Early Childhood Education.
As Sam Page, CEO of the ECA, notes “we have been actively engaged (along with our regional ECA Branches and key stakeholders) on future funding and delivery models for Universal Access to Early Childhood Education including, but not limited to, the recommendations of the Lifting Our Game report.”
Ms Page goes on to note that “We have also persisted with our broader advocacy agenda through the Early Learning: Everyone Benefits campaign, which has presented a strong case for all children to have at least two days per week of quality early learning.”
Some additional highlights from the year cited in the report include:
- The launch of the State of early learning in Australia 2017 report in September 2017 at Parliament House as part of the Early Learning: Everyone Benefits campaign
- The completion of the ECA Strategic Plan 2017 – 2020
- The launch of the ECA’s new Stretch Reconciliation Action Plan: Embed, Enable and Strive
- The launch of the ECA Leadership Program and the publication of the Ethics in Action guide, both of which have seen strong interest
- The appointment of Dr Kate Highfield as GM Professional Learning and Research Translation and Gregory Mowle as GM Finance and Operations
- A tribute to outgoing President and long time ECA member, Ros Cornish for her years of service to the organisation
Ms Page, also noted the considerable effort her team had invested in building a larger KidsMatter Early Childhood team ahead of the launch of the National Education Initiative alongside mental health charities beyondblue and headspace.
The National Education Initiative has been designed to support early learning and school communities to be able to support the mental health of Australian children and young people from the day they enter the education system to the end of year 12.
Ms Page commented “It is very exciting to be part of this initiative. It gives ECA the opportunity to substantially expand the reach of professional development in children’s social and emotional wellbeing to more than 2,000 early childhood services over the next two years.”
From a financial perspective the ECA had a more challenging year as the impact of the sector losing the professional development (PD) funding from the Long Day Care Professional Development Programme saw demand for PD products fall and the delay of some project initiations due to rescheduling by funding partners saw income associated with those initiatives carried over into the 2018/19 financial year.