Author:
Department of Education
Date:
4 Oct 2023

The Early Childhood Update e-newsletter is sent to early childhood teachers and workers, but is open to anyone interested in best practice in early years education and evidence-based teaching approaches. Subscribe here to receive the e-newsletter(opens in a new window).

Looking ahead to Children’s Week celebrations

How to get involved in this month’s festivities, and some news from the department.

Dear colleagues

Welcome to the October edition of Early Childhood Update, as we enter the final stretch towards the end of what’s been another busy and rewarding year for the sector.

As many of you will be aware, we have a new Minister for Children, the Hon Lizzie Blandthorn. Minister Blandthorn will be continuing the work of Minister Stitt to drive the Best Start, Best Life reforms across Victoria, and support child development and wellbeing across the parts of her portfolio. We look forward to working to support the Minister and her team.

Celebrating Children’s Week and recognising excellence

Looking ahead, we also have the annual Children's Week celebrations to look forward to. The theme for this year’s event is ‘Children have the right to relax, play and to take part in activities they enjoy’ based on Article 31 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

From Saturday 21 to Sunday 29 October 2023, thousands of children and families will have the chance to join the festivities, with more than 200 free events offered by not-for-profit organisations and local councils.

Please visit the Children's Week website to see the calendar of free events in Victoria and collateral you can use to promote your own events and the week more broadly.

Excitement is also building for next month’s Victorian Early Years Awards and on Friday 27 October 2023, we mark World Teachers’ Day.

We should all take the opportunity to celebrate the outstanding teachers and educators who educate, inspire and support our youngest learners.

News from the department

Lastly, I have some news to share with you about staffing changes at the department. I have accepted the role of Chief Executive of the new South Australian Office for Early Childhood Development, following the recent Royal Commission into Early Childhood Education and Care in South Australia, led by former Prime Minister Julia Gillard. This work will include the rollout of universal three-year-old kindergarten.

From Wednesday 25 October 2023, Bronwen FitzGerald will act as Deputy Secretary and lead this work, pending a recruitment process. We will share further news with you on this once it’s available.

On a personal note, I am excited about this new challenge and the opportunity it presents to lift outcomes for young children and families in South Australia. That said, leaving the Victoria public service after 18 years and Victoria’s outstanding early childhood education sector after more than 8 years is bittersweet. I’d like to take this chance to thank you one last time for all your truly remarkable expertise and skill, and for all you do for Victorian children and families. I wish you all the very best and will be watching on with a keen eye from across the border.

Kim Little
Deputy Secretary
Early Childhood Education

Advertise and find roles on the Early Childhood Jobs site

During the busiest time of year for recruitment, the refreshed website is the best place to advertise or find roles in early childhood education in Victoria.

Decorative image of educator and children sitting around play table

The updated Early Childhood Jobs(opens in a new window) site is the place to go to search for, or promote, early childhood employment opportunities around Victoria.

The site has features for teachers, educators, directors and support staff who are looking for staff, searching for jobs, or keen to learn more about working in the sector. Early childhood service providers of all sizes can register free to post a vacancy and accept applications directly.

The site also has information about the financial supports on offer from the department, with a new resource centre(opens in a new window) including:

  • information on financial incentives and relocation supports
  • articles about careers in early childhood education
  • how to contact a partner recruitment agency
  • practical tips for job seekers on how to write job applications and make an impact at interviews.

Promoting regional opportunities

To help services in regional Victoria attract people keen to relocate, the website showcases 10 regional profiles(opens in a new window) that highlight the attractions of living and working in different parts of regional Victoria.

The advanced search function also helps candidates to identify jobs offering department location incentives.

Find out more

For more information, refer to Early Childhood Jobs(opens in a new window).

For further enquiries, contact the department by email: early.childhood.jobs@education.vic.gov.au

Respectful Relationships professional learning for early childhood educators

Increase your capacity to promote and build respectful relationships with children in your kindergarten program.

Decorative image of educator and children playing with puppets

Registration is now open for the Respectful Relationships online professional learning program, taking place on Tuesday 31 October and Friday 24 November 2023. Limited places are available.

As we outlined in September’s Early Childhood Update, the Respectful Relationships initiative is offering free professional learning for early childhood teachers and educators (bachelor, diploma, or certificate III-qualified) in Victorian Government-funded kindergarten programs.

The professional learning strengthens the capacity of early childhood teachers and educators to promote respectful relationships, positive attitudes and behaviours within their teaching approach.

Participants have said the program increased their capacity to promote and build respectful relationships with children and each other. They also noted the professional learning helped them to work with children to turn situations into an experience about building resilience, problem solving and fostering independence.

In addition, participants highlighted that the program supported their understanding of how they can help prevent family violence.

About the professional learning program

The department developed the professional learning program in collaboration with world-leading experts from Monash University. The program aligns with the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework and the National Quality Standard.

The online format provides an opportunity to connect with educators across Victoria about how to support respectful relationships and gender equality in early childhood.

The department is offering a financial contribution to services that need backfill for staff who join this training.

Event details

Dates: Tuesday 31 October and Friday 24 November 2023

Format: online (one full-day workshop, one 2-hour, self-paced learning module)

Cost: free.

To access the Respectful Relationships professional learning for early childhood educators go to the Information Sharing and MARAM Online Learning System and login or create a new account.

Find out more

For more information, refer to Early childhood education training ­– health and wellbeing.

For further enquiries, contact the department by email: respectful.relationships@education.vic.gov.au

Victoria not impacted by National Preschool Outcomes Measure trial

As the new measure is trialled in other states from 2025, Victoria will continue to use the Early Years Assessment and Learning Tool.

Decorative image of a kinder-aged boy playing with a pink Hot Wheels car.

The Australian Government has recently released information to the early childhood education and care sector about a new Preschool Outcomes Measure (POM).

The National Preschool Outcomes Measure involves 2 key elements:

  • a new nationally consistent learning progressions in 2 learning domains – executive function, and oral language and literacy
  • a new national assessment tool for teachers and educators to measure a child’s progress against these learning progressions.

The POM will be trialled in 2025 in other states and territories, but this will not impact the use of the Early Years Assessment and Learning Tool (EYALT) in Victoria.

The EYALT is the Victorian Government’s approved early learning assessment tool. Once the national learning progression is developed, Victoria will seek to confirm the alignment of the EYALT.

On this basis, Victorian services will not be required to participate in the national trial. The POM will not change the use of the EYALT in Victoria, and the rollout of the EYALT will continue as planned. The same policy parameters will continue to apply – for example, the use of the EYALT is not mandatory and child and service data will not be collected nationally.

The department remains committed to helping all onboarded services to implement the EYALT and support high-quality assessment for learning practices.

Many services across Victoria are well underway in using the EYALT with children attending funded 3- and 4-year-old kindergarten programs.

If your service is using the EYALT to complement existing assessment and teaching practices, you should continue to do so. Later this year, we will also seek expressions of interests from services who wish to use the EYALT in 2024.

All children benefit when assessment reflects a whole-child approach that reveals their strengths and shows what they might learn next. The EYALT is designed to support you with this in your day-to-day practice, to help you improve outcomes for children.

Find out more

To find out more about the Preschool Outcomes Measure, refer to the Australian Department of Education’s webpage(opens in a new window).

For further enquiries, contact the department by email: early.years.assessment@education.vic.gov.au

Get your 2024 Three-Year-Old Kinder Kits

Kinder Kits are back and orders for 2024 will be taken in October and November 2023.

Decorative image of a kinder girl with pigtails smiling at the camera with her kind kit in front of her

Kinder Kits are back again for 2024 and will be available for every eligible child enrolled in Three-Year-Old Kindergarten next year.

The Kinder Kit supplier, Bao&Co, will contact services in October and November 2023 to confirm 2024 Kinder Kit orders.

The Kinder Kits are activity boxes filled with books, toys and activities made especially for 3-year-olds to enjoy at home.

To ensure you receive kits for the eligible children at your service, please add kinderkit@baoandco.com.au to your email contacts so you don’t miss their email providing instructions on how to order.

The department will verify your orders against KIMS data, so please ensure your Three-Year-Old Kindergarten enrolment numbers are up to date.

Eligibility

These children are eligible to receive Kinder Kits in 2024:

  • children starting funded Three-Year-Old Kindergarten
  • children in their first year of Early Start Kindergarten or Access to Early Learning.

Three-year-olds in long day care settings not delivering a funded Three-Year-Old Kindergarten program, and 4-year-olds in kindergarten programs are not eligible.

Kits are limited so it is important that services only distribute kits to eligible children.

Find out more

For further enquiries, contact the department by email: kinder.kits@education.vic.gov.au

Professional learning support for early career teachers

Access resources, coaching and mentoring for support with beginning your career in early childhood education.

Decorative image of female early childhood educator sitting at a table with three children.

The department is inviting early childhood teachers at the beginning of their careers to access a wide range of professional learning programs and resources available to help them build their careers in the sector.

To help you – or someone you know – access these learning opportunities, we’ve provided a quick rundown below.

Beginning Teacher Conferences

The Beginning Teacher Conferences, held at the Victorian Academy of Teaching and Leadership, offer a valuable opportunity for networking and professional development.

With the highly regarded program almost finished for 2023, there is still time to add your name to the waitlist for the final conference for the year, happening on Wednesday 25 October 2023. The department is also encouraging all interested teachers to access the conference presentations and webinars available online.

These conferences continue to receive very positive feedback from participants, who say the program has helped them to increase their professional confidence and sense of belonging.

Based on feedback from 2022 participants, the conferences now include deep-dive discussions on topics and presentations, with participants enjoying the chance to unpack problems of practice with their peers.

To access the online resources or join the waitlist for the next conference, refer to the Beginning Teachers Conference Series(opens in a new window).

End-to-End Career Supports Program

The End-to-End Career Supports Program is a great option for early career teachers and educators interested in receiving individualised one-on-one coaching or joining a Community of Practice (CoP) to explore problems of practice and meet other early childhood professionals.

This program enables teachers and educators in the first 5 years of their career to access an online learning portal, along with the wraparound supports outlined below.

Coaching

Participants will receive up to 9.5 hours of tailored coaching from experienced early childhood coaches.

The independent coaches are seasoned professionals with over 5 years of experience in the teaching profession, and a wealth of practical knowledge and actionable strategies to support you in your professional journey.

Communities of Practice (CoP)

Held over 18 months, the CoP is for teachers in the second to fifth year of their careers. A CoP is a collective of professionals who come together due to a shared concern, common problems, or interest in a particular subject.

Up to 10 early childhood professionals will meet virtually with a facilitator over 4 separate 2-hour sessions. Sessions are staggered across the year depending on demand.

The CoP will support the development of high-quality practice aligned to the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework (VEYLDF).

Alumni Conference

Once a teacher or educator has completed either a coaching program or participated in a CoP, they become eligible to attend the E2E Alumni Conference. The conference is held once a year and focuses on advanced theory and practice – it’s also a celebration of their first years as an early childhood professional.

Visit Supports for early career early childhood teachers(opens in a new window) for further information, including the list of available topics, and to apply.

Additional supports

Mentoring for early childhood teachers

Provisionally registered teachers can visit How to find an early childhood education mentor to access a mentor who can support them through the process to move to full teacher registration.

Funding for services to support provisionally registered ECTs

Services can visit the department’s website to access funding to support provisionally registered early childhood teachers to move to full registration with the Victorian Institute of Teaching.

Find out more

For more information, contact the department by email: early.years.workforce@education.vic.gov.au