EARLY childhood workers embraced new ideas for educating their pupils at TAFE Western’s ninth Children’s Services Conference on Saturday.
Keynote speaker Catharine Hydon addressed the 150 industry representatives about forming curriculums, including drawing on their environment and culture to engage the children.
“I think largely the community feel that we take good care of children, that we respect them, that we nurture them,” she said.
“What is misunderstood is the learning that we try and facilitate in the context of early childhood education - I think people think that education starts when you get to school, but we want to embrace a much broader notion of the idea of learning.”
She said families came to early childhood centres asking educators to teach their children to write their names and that was important.
“But we also want to talk to families about the fact there is a lot of other curriculum decisions we make that support children to learn a number of things about what it takes to live well and that’s about social and emotional well-being, it’s about feeling strong in their identity,” she said.
Despite the childcare sector failing to gain pay increases in recent times, Ms Hydon said workers were still passionate about growing their qualifications.
“I think they are absolutely keen for a much stronger sense of themselves as professionals,” she said.
“I think one of the ways we get there is by working with the families to make sure they know what it is that we do because they are our greatest advocate - they will be the ones who go to the polling station and help us advocate for better policy and funding for early childhood, including the educators who work in the space.”
The conference participants also engaged in workshops on areas including music, maths, science and technology in their centres.
TAFE Western is currently accepting childcare enrolments for semester two.
Potential students can call 1300 823 393 or visit wit.tafensw.edu.au.