Ghosts in the classroom: insights into passive disengagement in the middle years

Students who passively disengage from classroom learning usually go unnoticed by their teachers. However, they can be identified and helped. Specifically, students’ own perspectives on what is going on in their classrooms can help us understand what issues might be contributing to their disengagement. In Australia, research efforts, policy, and school initiatives have attempted to ...

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How to effectively reflect, record and engage children

By listening to children and identifying their interests, you can create a unique learning opportunity that excites and interests them. DR CLAIRE WARDEN shares part one of a three-part blog series on how you can make the most of Floorbooks and Talking Tubs to effectively consult and engage children. Use Floorbooks for child-led planning At […]

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Cole is a rarity in his chosen field

Cole Oakes is a recent graduate who shares his story as a male, in the early childhood education and care sector (ECEC) and encourages other males who are passionate about early childhood education to be a part of a fulfilling role. Cole also tells us what his studies and training include and his experiences and […]

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Sparking knowledge: Educators and researchers making a difference together

Ever been asked to participate in a survey or study about early childhood and found yourself making excuses not to do it? You’re busy, right? It’s just another thing. But before placing that invitation in the bin, pause. It could be a chance to be part of something bigger than your own daily practice and […]

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A Provocation: Room for a view? Knowing your values, parking your biases

In this blog, ANNE STONEHOUSE reflects on the balance between the personal and the shared; between an early childhood leader’s openness to new ideas and certainty about their own values. Did you know that a Box of 48 Leadership Provocations organised around the six Capabilities in ECA’s Leadership Capability Framework will be launched at the […]

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Leading the future of early childhood education

LEANNE GIBBS is widely known and respected for her clarity and insights on leadership in early childhood. Her masterclass—Growing great leadership—held on day zero of the 2019 ECA National Conference will explore some of the pressing issues, including the future of leadership in early childhood education and care (ECEC) and the complexities educators face when […]

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Shaping the power of talk

Language is a vital tool for learning as it enables children to build knowledge and extend their thinking. ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR SHEILA DEGOTARDI will be focusing on the talk and the value of the talk in children in her keynote presentation at the 2019 ECA National Conference. In this blog Sheila gave us a little insight […]

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A time of change and ‘super diversity’ in early childhood education

PROFESSOR LESTER-IRABINNA RIGNEY is an expert in Culturally Responsive Pedagogy and will be joining us next week at the 2019 ECA National Conference as a keynote presenter. Ahead of this, we caught up with him to ask a few questions about his work on culturally responsive education and what he would like conference participants and […]

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Early childhood is not flying a plane

What needs to be different about quality in practice? PROFESSOR PETER MOSS, internationally acclaimed early childhood expert and author, shared his insights with The Spoke, ahead of his keynote presentation and workshop at 2019 ECA National Conference. In this interview, Professor Moss talks about the influence of an ‘investment’ approach towards young children and the demands it places […]

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This job is real, raw and meaningful

In light of Early Childhood Educators’ Day on Wednesday 4 September, we asked ANNE STONEHOUSE to write about the role of educators in the lives and formation of children. Anne talked to a circle of educators who shared rewarding parts of their daily experiences. Their commitment and dedication is obvious, here they are in their own […]

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Do you want me to ‘be’ with your child or photograph your child?

KAREN HOPE shares her perspective on another hot topic in the early childhood sector, delving into the pressure that educators face to photograph children in their care, to document learning. Do photos of children engaged with another child or an educational activity properly demonstrate what they learn? And is it time to re-evaluate the content […]

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How socioeconomic background makes a difference in education outcomes

Educational disadvantage is a significant factor in students’ educational outcomes. In Australia there is a staggering level of inequality between outcomes for students from high socioeconomic background and those from low socioeconomic background. Even attending a school with a high or low average socioeconomic background can make a difference to how a student will perform ...

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Artificial intelligence in Schools: An Ethical Storm is Brewing

‘Artificial intelligence will shape our future more powerfully than any other innovation this century. Anyone who does not understand it will soon find themselves feeling left behind, waking up in a world full of technology that feels more and more like magic.’ (Maini and Sabri, 2017, p.3) Last week the Australian Government Department of Education ...

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Ban smart phones in schools. Not because they’re disruptive but because of this

Largely missing from the ban-phones-in-schools debate are the opinions of important regulatory bodies such as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC). Although these bodies may seem far removed from the debate, I believe how they view data and data collection should be heard. Significantly, their views may ...

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Tips for Parents of Young Children using Digital Technology

The news this week has many people worried about children’s ‘screen time’. Are babies overexposed to smartphones, tablets and laptops? As DR KATE HIGHFIELD writes, Early Childhood Australia finds that ‘banning’ these technologies doesn’t work. Instead we need to look at how children use technology, focusing on the idea of using it well and carefully and sharing children’s experiences.  We […]

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Respect trumps harmony—5 leadership lessons from the world’s toughest workplace

Leadership is an intrinsic part of everyone’s workplace, no matter the role you’re in. RACHAEL ROBERTSON led an expedition in Antarctica for a year and since her return has become an author, keynote speaker and leadership expert. Rachael’s leadership and teamwork skills were put to the test during her time in Antarctica and in this […]

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Is love the same as care?

A growing trend has seen the term ‘love’ used to describe everything from government welfare drug testing to what educators should aim for in their practice and environments for young children. Two blog posts on The Spoke examine the issue from very different perspectives. In this blog, LISA BRYANT argues that love is not interchangeable […]

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Is there a need for multi-faith education in all Australian schools?

Australia’s diversity is frequently celebrated by politicians as a multicultural success story. Schools, particularly public schools, educating children with diverse cultural and social backgrounds, are seen as the lynchpin to such success. Yet schools and other education sites in Australia constantly confront tensions and difficulties in their efforts to be inclusive and to create a ...

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Choosing children: A male perspective working as an early childhood educator

TRISTAN PAGE is a dedicated early childhood educator with a true passion for his job. He shares his experiences as a man in the early childhood education sector, over the last 18 years. Tristan explains how he incorporates a personal perspective into everyday teaching within an educational program. As a man working in the early […]

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Exploring Indigenous ways of knowing and being

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day is on Sunday 4 August 2019. This year’s theme is We Play, We Learn, We Belong. In this piece, we share the importance of Indigenous culture and language in the early years through case studies and the series Little J & Big Cuz. This animation follows the everyday lives of two Aboriginal […]

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HILDA findings on Australian families’ experience of childcare should be a call-to-arms for government

Work-family time and money challenges should be seen by governments as ideal opportunities for good policy-making. Australian parents are disadvantaged by a lack of affordable childcare, with childcare costs rising by about 145% in real terms since 2002, the latest HILDA study reveals. Childcare costs have more than doubled since 2002 Expenditure on childcare for children not […]

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What’s the story with child care costs?

The last week has seen a flurry of media releases and reports on the cost of child care and whether the new Child Care Subsidy (CCS) is achieving its goals of making childcare more affordable and boosting workforce participation. The conclusions contained in the media releases and reports often don’t seem consistent, and can raise […]

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The flawed thinking behind a mandatory phonics screening test

The New South Wales Government recently announced it intends to “trial an optional phonics screening test” for Year One students. This seems to be following a similar pattern to South Australia where the test, developed in the UK, was first trialled in 2017 and is now imposed on all public schools in the state. The ...

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