Wagga’s early childhood teachers welcome the announcement of NSW government funding to promote a stronger and highly trained workforce.
Preschool educators will be better supported through a $6million package announced August 9, by Early Childhood Education Minister Sarah Mitchell.
Education leader at Ashmont’s Goodstart Early Learning Bree Burgess, said anything to promote professional development and childhood centres would be “amazing”.
“I think we’re currently seen as glorified babysitters, so we welcome funding that will promote our role and the importance of educating children in their first five years,” she said.
“If we can get the word out to the community, with this funding, that we actually have gone to university, we are qualified to teach children and our role is just as important as primary school teachers, then that would be great.”
Mrs Mitchell said the NSW government’s Workforce Strategy is underpinned by a commitment to highlighting the value of early childhood teachers and educators, building capacity with professional development and training and ensuring cultural respect and recognition is embedded in every aspect of workforce practices.
“Early childhood educators play a significant role in our children’s daily lives, and they are instrumental in ensuring all kids get the best possible start to their educational journeys,” she said.
The Workforce Strategy has been developed in consultation with key early childhood education leaders and will build on the sector’s strengths to deliver and maintain an even stronger, more highly trained and experienced workforce.
“We consulted closely with key sector stakeholders and identified several common themes, including shortages of qualified staff, work-related stress and limited career progression in the sector,” Mrs Mitchell said.
“We are committed to ensuring the early childhood workforce receives the recognition it deserves and is well supported to sustainably meet the needs of children from all backgrounds and their families.”
Advocacy manager at Goodstart Early Learning, John Cherry said there are “great” career opportunities in the early childhood sector.
“There is a looming shortage of qualified early childhood teachers that needs to be addressed and we welcome any measures that will help address this,” Mr Cherry said.
“We look forward to working with the NSW government to promote these opportunities to school leavers in NSW.”
The four action areas of this new government package have been identified as priorities:
- The undertaking of a campaign that will promote public awareness of the key role that early childhood educators and teachers play in the education of children.
- Supporting the workforce to obtain qualification and experience through a number of scholarships and other programs.
- Building the skills and capability of the workforce through online training resources, a dedicated professional development portal and regular provision of updates and sharing of best practices.
- Encouraging better workforce stability and reducing the impact of staff turnover through a better induction program to those who are new to the industry and guides and tools to strengthen peer-to-peer networking.