Victoria’s strong support for graduate early childhood teachers gives room to thrive

Victoria’s strong support for graduate early childhood teachers gives room to thrive

by Freya Lucas

April 21, 2022

In Victoria, early childhood teachers (ECTs) at every career stage can access support ranging from tailored professional development to a range of generous financial support and incentives, but it’s the opportunities available for aspiring and recently graduated ECTs where Victoria’s benefits really shine. 

 

Professional Development 

 

End-to-end career supports

 

Having access to a range of professional development has helped the career growth of many ECTs in Victoria with a wide range of experiences and perspectives. 

 

For Jodie, an experienced early childhood professional who has been working in the sector for 35 years, including as an educator, access to coaching in her first year as a teacher has meant access to support to upgrade her qualifications and continue her lifelong learning journey. 

 

Jodie’s career began with an Associate Certificate of Social Science and registering as a Mothercraft Nurse, and she has shown a commitment throughout her career to remaining up-to-date with contemporary pedagogy and practice. 

 

Having completed her Bachelor qualification in Early Childhood, Jodie is currently employed in a remote rural service where she is in the early stages of working with coach Kristy.

 

Jodie and Kristy are exploring the broad themes of programming and planning with a particular focus on planning experiences for children that consider their individual and unique learning styles. 

 

Jodie’s story is a great example of the way in which beginning ECTs are supported within the Victorian sector by the Department’s End-to-End career supports which include coaching for first year ECTs, communities of practice for ECTs in their second and third years and access to early years learning networks, all of which give abundant opportunities for ECTs to engage with one another, and to participate in learning opportunities which foster critical thinking, connection and career growth. 

 

Early learning partnerships

 

Applications are now open, until 6 May, for the first cohort of the 2022 Continuity of Early Learning Professional Development program run through the Victorian Academy of Teaching and Leadership. This unique program pairs ECTs with teams of three to six others to work in collaboration to strengthen early learning partnerships. The program aims to help children experiencing vulnerability or disadvantage transition to school.

 

Teams can comprise any combination of principals, assistant principals, teachers, early learning educators, outside-school-hours care providers and support service providers, offering just one example of the forward thinking and innovative approach to valuing the early years in Victoria. 

 

Financial support of up to $34,000 available to study

 

There has never been a better time to be an ECT in Victoria. With a range of generous scholarships on offer ECTs are quickly learning that when it comes to support and opportunity, Victoria is the place to be. 

 

For First Nations ECT Tiffany Stute, a proud Gamilaroi woman born and raised on Taungurung Country, having access to the Early Childhood Aboriginal Pathways Scholarship not only meant support with the expenses which come with study, but also access to additional professional training upon graduation. 

 

I chose to become an ECT as I enjoyed working with children in my previous roles and wanted to help foster a love of learning and imagination,” she explained. 

 

“Since beginning my course I have found it really rewarding to build relationships and help the social and emotional development of children.”

 

The Department of Education and Training (DET) aims to make the process and pathways of accessing support as straightforward as possible. Support is also available for those at all stages of their early childhood education career journey, be that starting out, upskilling, or already studying an early childhood qualification. Sarah Herat, an ECT who works in the Three-Year-Old Kindergarten program explains: 

 

“I had already begun studying to be an ECT when I found out my scholarship application had been successful,” she said. “It was a quick online process to fill in a scholarship application form and attach supporting documentation. The instructions were clear and the financial benefits are well worth the effort.”  

 

To learn more about scholarships, please see here.

 

Innovative Initial Teacher Education (IITE) courses to allow Diploma-trained educators to earn and learn 

 

In partnership with the Australian Catholic University, Deakin University and Victoria University, aspiring ECTs are being supported to get their degree more quickly (between 18 months and two years of further study) through a mixture of online, face to face and intensive study options, along with recognition of their prior study and professional experience. 

 

For educators looking to take the next step in their career, applications remain open until July 2022 for Victoria University’s Bachelor of Early Childhood Education.

 

Positions vacant waiting for ECTs to shine

 

The job opportunities and options within Victoria are abundant, with the Australian first funded Three-Year-Old Kindergarten program driving extensive demand. Applicants from within Australia and further afield can count not only on robust professional development and generous incentives, but also on variety and opportunity, with positions available now on the Early Childhood Jobs website. 

 

Financial incentives of between $9,000 and $50,000 are available for ECT’s to take up positions in services delivering Three-Year-Old Kindergarten. To learn more about these incentives, please see here.

 

For more information, check out vic.gov.au/kinder

 

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