On 31 March 2015, Australia’s first National Children’s Commissioner, Megan Mitchell, and Early Childhood Australia’s CEO, Sam Page, will jointly launch a statement of intent on supporting young children’s rights.
This collaboratively developed document provides all professionals and services working with young children with a framework to be a clear and credible voice advocating in support of young children’s rights in Australia. The statement also identifies key areas for action by the Australian Human Rights Commission and Early Childhood Australia.
The launch, held at Lady Gowrie in Brisbane, will be attended by the Statement of intent reference group, members of ECA Queensland Branch and, most importantly, young children themselves.
Twenty five years since Australia ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, in December 1990, there is much to be celebrated but there is also much to be done. As consideration is being given in the public debate about issues such as funding, the regulations, the National Quality Standards, and the qualification requirements for staff—particularly when working with very young children—early childhood practitioners already know and recognise the merits of their qualifications in supporting children’s outcomes; and they know and recognise that a child’s early formative years are critical to their lifelong outcomes. Educators understand that, although the media discourse about early childhood education and care is dominated by the perspectives and issues of workforce participation, children are central to everything they do, and what is best for children and families should be equally part of the public discourse.
The Statement of intent helps educators understand, support and advocate for the realisation of children’s rights in early childhood education and care. It helps guide educators and reinforces the principles laid out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in their day-to-day practice (DEEWR, 2009, p.5).
Following the launch of the Statement of intent, it is ECA’s intent to work closely with its membership and the National Children’s Commissioner to identify and share relevant resources to support educators to continue in their work to support the centrality of children in daily practice and decision making.