The Front Project and ELACCA CEOs team up for ABC RN Life Matters Interview
Jane Hunt, Chief Executive Officer of not for profit advocacy group The Front Project and Elizabeth Death, Chief Executive Officer of peak body the Early Learning and Care Council of Australia (ELACCA) joined Hilary Harper from Life Matters in their RN studio to discuss the economic benefits of early childhood education and other important sector themes.
The wide ranging interview commenced with a discussion around the economic impact that early childhood education and care (ECEC) can bring to society at large as highlighted in the study, commissioned by The Front Project and conducted by PWC called A Smart Investment for a Smarter Australia.
The report, which demonstrates that for every dollar invested in ECEC programs two dollars is returned, also highlights important other areas where commitment is needed including investing in quality, clarity around future funding arrangements, particularly in the two years before school, increasing access to care in disadvantaged communities and investing in the research base.
All of these matters were touched on to some degree in the interview with both Ms Hunt and Ms Death emphasising the importance of early learning to a child’s development, the value that accrues both emotionally and financially to the children and their families over time and ultimately the overall benefits that society reap as a result.
Other topics that were explored in the interview include:
- Workforce shortages particularly around early childhood teachers
- The importance of recognition and attraction of teachers and upskilling pathways
- Pay and conditions barriers particularly for educators
- Educator to child ratios and their appropriateness
- Subsidy provision to for-profit providers and its appropriateness
- Relative funding levels of early years relative to primary and secondary schools
- Perceptions of early learning in communities
- Understanding of what quality early learning is and ways to raise awareness
As well as the interview itself the Life Matters team prompted their listeners with the question “If you held the purse strings to early childhood education, how would you spend it?” on their Facebook page.
In total 65 comments were made and can be viewed here.
To listen to the full interview please click here.