ACU graduates ready to lead classrooms after 18 month short course
The first graduates from the Australian Catholic University’s (ACU) inaugural accelerated early childhood teaching course are beginning their teaching year, having completed their Bachelor of Early Childhood Education (Birth to Five Years) (Accelerated) course, completing the four-year equivalent degree in just 18 months.
The new graduates, who were previously Diploma qualified, have added 92 early childhood teachers (ECTs) to the Victorian early childhood education and care (ECEC) workforce, and completed their studies through an intensive work schedule including seven weekend symposiums offered online and face-to-face at ACU’s Melbourne and Ballarat campuses.
“Doing this course in 18 months was intense, but I have improved my knowledge about child development and learning, which makes me feel better equipped as an educator. Everything feels more meaningful,” graduate Lillianne Stephenson Gordon said, adding that being able to upskill to an early childhood teacher without cost and while working in the sector had further boosted her passion for educating children.
ACU National Head of the School of Education Professor Donna King said the university’s bespoke course, run in partnership and with full funding from the Victorian Department of Education and Training, was an industry leader designed to meet the demand for more early childhood teachers.
“We are thrilled to be graduating our first cohort from this accelerated course which has allowed students to upskill while working in the sector, and without compromising on quality,” she said.
“ACU designed this course to meet the demand for high-quality early childhood teachers and we are proud to see our first graduates ready to educate current and future generations of children.”
While the accelerated course started in partnership with the Victorian Government in 2022, ACU has since expanded the pioneering program to include a cohort of 20 students in New South Wales. A further 100 enrolments are also expected when the course is rolled out to Queensland students from June.
The new ECTs will be a boost to the profession following a Productivity Commission draft report which identified workforce challenges and called for greater accelerated pathways and flexibility for educators to complete teaching qualifications while working.
Course Coordinator Dr Victoria Minson said more than 200 additional Victorian students were due to finish by the end of 2024, with a further 150 students expected to start their studies in March.
“The students have excelled at keeping up with their studies while working in the profession. They have also benefited from the use of virtual reality to participate in innovative and contemporary learning experiences as 21st century educators,” she said.
“Our use of engaging VR-enhanced immersive learning experiences for our accelerated students has made ACU a leader in innovative practice for early childhood initial teacher education.”
For more information about ACU’s Bachelor of Early Childhood Education (Birth to Five Years) (Accelerated) course click here.
Pictured are Lillianne Stephenson Gordon (left), and Evie Ta, with student, Leo
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