Needs and rights

The concept of needs is no longer part of the early childhood discourse. The EYLF (Department of Education Employment and Workplace Relations, 2009) focuses on a strengths-based perspective, positioning children as active participants who are entitled to respect and agency. In the latest Every Child Julie Rutups (2015) argued that in building on children’s strengths […]

Babies and bathwater

Some educational authorities have taken the word ‘needs’ out of planning and assessment guidelines, at least in headings, focusing only on strengths and abilities. Clearly it is important for educators to plan and work with children’s strengths and abilities. The question for me is whether it helps children to do this at the expense of […]

Needs to know

Where do ‘children’s needs’ fit into current thinking about planning and assessment for young children? In a conversation with a colleague recently, the discussion focused on children’s needs and how they fit into the current perspective of early childhood education, viewing children as capable and having rights. For my colleague, the concern was that ‘children’s […]

Leaders should not retreat from early childhood education debate

South Australia’s (SA) proposal to take over responsibility for early childhood has created a timely debate ahead of today’s Council of Australian Governments (COAG) leaders retreat. SA Premier Jay Weatherill’s proposal would create a continuum of schooling – from early childhood to year 12. The potential benefits include consolidating responsibility for the delivery of early […]

Does it matter if ‘E’ is for education or entertainment?

Apps are earning billions for their makers and promoters. Parents wonder which ones are best. Research at Swinburne’s BabyLab in Australia and five North American universities, might have some answers. Is it ‘educational’ or entertaining? It’s a common cry from parents and educators. What to choose from among the hundreds of so-called educational apps on […]

Developing shared understandings about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ connection to land

During NAIDOC week (5 to 12 July 2015) many early childhood services have acknowledged and celebrated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture. I encourage all Early Childhood Services to reflect on the week, and particularly how culture can be embedded beyond the week’s activities. I was cynically disappointed that a small minority of educational services […]

NAIDOC week a time to Recognise

The Recognise campaign has been in the media this week with much attention on Indigenous leaders at Kirribilli House meeting with the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition. They were there to discuss proposed amendments to the Australian Constitution through a Referendum that would recognise Indigenous Australians — the nation’s first peoples. For those of […]

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