It can be hard to keep up with new ideas and early childhood developments during the year, so to help you catch up or for inspiration to start the year on a strong footing, we’ve put together a list of ECA’s top reads from across the last year (2019). It’s a mix of favourites and best sellers and every featured resource is ECA quality-assured. These are the picks reviewed by experts, valued by your educator-colleagues and deployed in their practice time and again. We’ve included picture books to share with children or to pop onto your 2020 shelf in your early learning service as well as highlights for something parents, grandparents, and other family members might appreciate too.
By Early Childhood Australia and the Australian Primary Principals Association
You can’t end the year or start the next without the first year at school on your mind. If you haven’t already given this book to families or seen it for yourself, it’s not too late to get ready for the most important part of a young child’s life: the transition between their early learning environment and school. First Year at school: Essential tips for parents and carers is our best seller on the ECA Shop. This is a go-to resource with hundreds of practical tips, that primary schools can share with parents at open days, enrolments and orientation days. It’s not just for the start of the year. This new succinct and tote-sized version will be ready throughout the year, when you hear such dreaded phrases as ‘I have no-one to play with’!
Edited by Jessica Staines and Red Ruby Scarlet
ECA was so lucky in 2019 to work with Jessica Staines on a few Reconciliation-related projects and can highly recommend this popular resource, co-edited with Dr Red Ruby Scarlet: The Aboriginal early childhood practice guide. This accessible and thorough book makes essential reading for all educators, whether still studying or in a leadership role. The text privileges Aboriginal worldviews and reflects the diversity and complexity of Australia Aboriginality today and makes clear why honouring our First Peoples is necessary. It includes a collection of stories to inspire and guide us to confidently practise Aboriginal perspectives ethically and respectfully. To be the change we want to see in Australia, each of us needs to learn more, change our practices, our ways of thinking and our knowledge.
Support your personal journey towards Reconciliation with other rich resources: Marcia Langton’s Welcome to Country (adult and children’s versions are available) spans the length and breadth of the country and is part travel guide, part encyclopedia, part family holiday planner. During 2020 you also might want to add Bruce Pascoe’s Dark Emu, Henry Reynold’s The Forgotten War or Tyson Yunkaporta’s evocative Sand Talk.
Rituals: making the everyday extraordinary in early childhood
By Memory Lyon & Toni Christie
If you are yet to face the rituals of December and January or are on the other side wondering what just happened this popular resource brings a reflective perspective to events. As a guide for educators, schools and families on the value of rituals it helps focus on the meaning and potential of rituals in our lives and within an early learning context. We found it full of practical advice and real life examples to turn humble routines into thoughtful and sacred rituals. You might want to pair this book with some short blog reads on routines and their significance or how we face end of year rituals in the educational calendar and whose purpose those rituals serve.
Released just a few months ago and written by six of Australia’s leading early childhood experts—Anne Stonehouse, Anthony Semann, Susan Irvine, Catharine Hydon, Michelle Gujer and Leanne Gibbs—this has quickly become a much-loved and sought-after resource in the sector. The box features 48 provocation cards, organised under the six capabilities of the ECA Leadership Capability Framework. Its questions provoke discussion and debate. Try one of the ideas created by Anne Stonehouse here.
No means no!
By Jayneen Sanders, illustrated by Cherie Zamazing
Safety, respect and being able to talk with children about personal boundaries are increasingly on the minds of parents, other family members and early childhood educators and leaders. This excellent book contains handy discussion questions for parents, carers and educators to use as a guide to prompt conversation and honest dialogue with young children. It’s a great book to understand the issues and to empower children to respect their own choices.
Welcome to Country
By Aunty Joy Murphy, Illustrated by Lisa Kennedy
One of ECA’s Reconciliation projects this year was to explore how choosing picture books for young children can support connecting with local culture, knowledge and communities. This multi-award winning picture book is a favourite with the ECA team as well as with educators and cultural consultants. Its striking illustrations entertain and educate, taking the reader on a journey about the Wurundjeri People of Victoria. Be welcomed to traditional lands, experience language and celebrate local Aboriginal land and culture in the pages of this book. Enjoy with children or curl up alone to wonder over and learn. During 2020 ECA will bring more details on using picture books thoughtfully and meaningfully to understand and explore language and culture—with thanks to Jessica Staines and Rachael Phillips who supported the ECA National Office Reconciliation team.
Stop Think Act
By Megan M. McCelland and Shauna L. Tominey
A hands-on accessible guide for educators and parents to help young children learn to be more self-regulated by integrating this concept into early childhood services. Written by child development experts and based on research, this book provides a variety of activities for children to experience long-term outcomes of self-regulation. The chapters walk through self-reg principles during ‘circle time’, literacy and maths instruction as well as outdoor play. Augment your understanding with this interview between ECA and international Self Reg expert Professor Stuart Shanker here or explore his work further here.
My body! What I say goes!
By Jayneen Sanders, illustrated by Anna Hancock
Another book to empower and teach children about personal body safety, feelings, safe and unsafe touch as well as consent and body parts, My body! What I say goes! is a popular and useful resource for families and educators. Its age-appropriate illustrations and engaging text will help adults find words and support children to develop protective behaviours.
Bringing STEM to Life
By Nicole Halton and Natashja Treveton
Every summer holidays is a chance to think about new approaches and embedding essential concepts into the year’s program in a fun way. Science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) are crucial to children’s early learning but it can be hard to find good quality, doable approaches. So many poor quality resources and gadgets flood the market (and our homes) at Christmas time. Many are well-meaning gifts from family but ultimately do not prove to be useful tools for learning. This resource has been popular with educators and ECEC services throughout the year with its overall look at STEM and accessible exploration of each category. STEM has never been more important to children’s present and future. Find a place for one new approach to STEM in your early childhood setting this year. Looking for ways to deepen your STEM practice? Plan now to be part of National Science Week and find lots of professional learning on STEM at ECA Learning Hub.
Many of these resources are widely available but remember when you purchase from the ECA Shop, you are supporting ECA to be a voice for young children. View our quality-assured resources for educators and parents here.