Elections to the three Early Childhood Services (ECS) Council positions for country branches were held in October. We extend our congratulations to the three members from country branches who were successfully elected: Melinda Gambley, Phillipa Maher and Melinda Morris.
They will join ECS Councillors from Sydney metropolitan branches Amy Martin, Michelle Thompson, Natalie Leeson and South Coast branch member Jane Courtney. Gabrielle Connell remains our Vice President, ECS.
The ECS team extends our congratulations and thanks all our ECS Councillors and we look forward to working with you to advance the interests of the sector over the next two years. For more information:
Proficient teacher maintenance of accreditation
On 1 July 2016, it became mandatory for all early childhood teachers in NSW to be accredited. In recognition of prior experience, teachers who had already commenced teaching prior to 1 July 2016 were accredited at Proficient Teacher. NESA has extended the deadline due to COVID-19, and full-time teachers in this cohort now have until March 2022 to finalise their maintenance of accreditation. Proficient teachers are required to maintain their accreditation by:
- demonstrating how their practice continues to meet the Australian Professional Standards for teachers: educationstandards.nsw.edu.au/wps/portal/nesa/teacher-accreditation/meeting-requirements/the-standards
- completing at least 100 hours of professional development: educationstandards.nsw.edu.au/wps/portal/nesa/teacher-accreditation/meeting-requirements/maintaining-accreditation/maintenance-transition-arrangements
- holding a current Working with Children Check: educationstandards.nsw.edu.au/wps/portal/nesa/teacher-accreditation/meeting-requirements/wwcc-clearances
- paying the annual fee to NESA: educationstandards.nsw.edu.au/wps/portal/nesa/teacher-accreditation/manage-your-account/annual-fee
The IEU is aware that a number early childhood teachers due to finalise their maintenance of accreditation by 4 March 2022 have not yet done so. We encourage members to log into their e-TAMS account and ensure you have met the requirements in order to submit ahead of the deadline. For more information about extensions see:
If you have not completed your 100 hours of PD please take advantage of free access provided to IEU members to workshops available on TLN: tln.org.au and The IEUZone: theieuzone.org.au/
If you are confused or need further information on the maintenance requirements, we recommend you log into your IEU Zone account and select Professional Development from the dropdown menu to access our workshop Early Childhood Teacher: Finalising your Maintenance of Accreditation with NESA.
If you have any specific questions about finalising your maintenance of accreditation or if you have any difficulty accessing TLN or IEU Zone, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Don’t forget your own health
National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) data showed that between 31 July to 19 August in NSW, there were COVID cases occurring in 91 educational settings, including 45 ECEC services.
Transmission rates during the Delta outbreak in NSW were 5.2 times higher than those seen throughout 2020. The highest transmission rate occurred in ECEC services between staff members (16.9 percent).
The spread between children was low. According to paediatrician Dr Jacqueline Small, COVID-19 remains a mild illness for children.
Work Health and Safety (WHS) laws require you to take care of the health, safety and welfare of workers, volunteers and visitors as well as the children at your workplace. This includes minimising the risk of exposure to COVID-19 as far as is reasonably practicable.
In addition to vaccinations, wearing masks and physical distancing between adults, ventilation should be reviewed. The Australian Infection Control Expert Group (ICEG) has advised that COVID-19 viral particles are airborne and are more highly concentrated and thus spread more freely indoors than outdoors. Utilising outdoor areas for activities/experiences wherever possible is recommended. Use large and well-ventilated indoors spaces, open windows and doors and avoid crowding in spaces by splitting children into groups using different areas in the centre. Limit fan oscillation, maintain ventilation and air conditioning systems and consider the introduction of HEPA filters.
Teachers and educators have been working directly with children throughout lockdown. Increased vigilance and safety precautions – including cleaning requirements, concerns regarding the health and wellbeing of their own families, supporting families and children at the centre through an extremely stressful and uncertain time, facilitating learning at home via online interactions with families, providing activity packs to families – have taken a toll on mental health and resilience.
The return of increasing numbers of children into services will place more burdens on staff. Fostering a supportive team culture is vital. What measures do you have in place to facilitate the wellbeing of teachers and educators? Is adequate non-contact time for documentation provided? Do staffing levels enable teachers and educators to support all children to participate in the program? How are positive and supportive relationships between employees fostered? We are so focused on the wellbeing of children and families we sometimes neglect our own needs.