ECEC sector welcomes ‘ambitious’ Mparntwe Education Declaration

by Freya Lucas

December 13, 2019

A range of State Governments and peak bodies have welcomed the announcement of the Alice Springs (Mparntwe) Education Declaration and the decisions made by education ministers Australia wide to endorse its principles, with Early Childhood Australia (ECA) describing the ambition and commitment shown as “inspiring.”

 

ECA also stated it was “very pleased that the Mparntwe Declaration reinforces the critical role of early learning and development in each child’s life, as a first step to lifelong learning” further welcoming the recognition that children’s social and emotional wellbeing is important both within and beyond education settings. 

 

Tasmanian Minister for Education and Training, Jeremy Rockliff, applauded the Declaration for its focus on the early years, noting the importance of focusing attention on the early years of life “when children learn to communicate, get along with others and control and adapt their behaviour, emotions and thinking.”

 

Mr Rockliff’s South Australian counterpart, John Gardner, welcomed the signing saying it “sets out a strong vision for education in Australia”, one which Mr Gardner looks forward to striving toward with other jurisdictions, “to ensure all young Australians are supported in navigating their education, from the early years right through to employment.”

 

Mr Gardner also welcomed the recent announcement that ACECQA would be funded through to 2023, noting the important role ACECQA plays in “improving and maintaining high standards for early childhood education programs across Australia.”

 

Much of the sector made mention of the strengthened focus on literacy development in the new Declaration – something ECA CEO Samantha Page noted as having its roots in early childhood. 

 

Quality preschool education programs are provided in age-appropriate settings that support rich play based learning, led by a qualified early childhood teacher, she said. In such a setting,the reading and phonemic awareness skills on which literacy is built can be fostered. 

 

“Governments could improve school-based outcomes by investing in more professional development for early childhood teachers and educators, to support best practice in the critical years before compulsory schooling” Ms Page added. 

 

National Catholic Education Commission Executive Director, Jacinta Collins, congratulated the education ministers for their collective vision, saying she was pleased “that the critical role of early childhood education has been acknowledged.” 

 

Ms Collins urged the Australian Government to extend the learning opportunities in the early years to include all three year old children, a sentiment echoed by ECA , who said “we need certainty and national leadership to ensure that every Australian child has the chance to learn and thrive.” 

 

To read a comprehensive summary of early childhood issues as raised in the Declaration, please see here

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