Early childhood education update , 20 April 2020
Successful AEU Early Childhood Education Campaign
In February, hundreds of QTU members filled in postcards calling on the Prime Minister to extend the funding provided for quality early childhood education for four-year olds across the nation. In Queensland, that funding is used to provide a variety of kindy programs including community-run kindy, state-delivered kindy, indigenous kindy, and e-Kindy.
By March, with the onset of the global health pandemic apparent, campaign activities were suspended, and AEU officials met with the Prime Minister and the Federal Education Minister to secure much-needed government support for the sector and its early childhood workers who rely on the continued enrolment of children in childcare and kindy for their employment and job security.
By April, the Federal government announced an Early Years Education and Care Relief Package, worth $1.6 billion, and an additional $453.2 million to extend the Universal Access funding of preschool education until the end of 2021, to support almost 350,000 children to attend preschool/ kindy in 2021. The QTU, in conjunction with the AEU, will continue to campaign nationally to secure a commitment to ongoing Universal Access funding of 15 hours per year beyond 2021.
As a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal government on 2 April, announced a $1.6 billion childcare package, providing free childcare from 6 April up until June 30 with a review after one month, with plans for a further three months after the end of the financial year.
For more details, visit https://www.dese.gov.au/covid-19/childcare
Free Community Kindergarten for Term 2
The Queensland State government announced on 12 April, a relief package worth $17 million, to provide free kindy to the 465 Community kindergartens for term 2 for up to 15 hours a week for eligible children, in an effort to provide job security for workers in the sector and to ensure continuity of program provision.
Kindergartens will be open from Week 1 of Term 2 offering a regular Kindergarten program for children of essential workers and those children who are experiencing vulnerability or disadvantage. All other children will be able to access learning at home resources that will be provided through the kindergarten.
see Joint media statement from the Premier and Minister for Trade, The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk, and the Minister for Education and Minister for Industrial Relations
The Honourable Grace Grace, Sunday, April 12, 2020 : $17 million relief package enables free community kindergarten for term 2
KindyLinQ programs suspended
The Kindy LinQ programs which commenced this year in selected schools have been suspended until further notice, and while some KindyLinQ staff have been redeployed, others are still working to support the continuity of learning for KindyLinQ registered children and their families.
Just like other parts of the school system, staff are supporting continuity of learning for these 3 years olds at home. There are, however, no face to face groups operating on school sites.
State-Delivered Kindy continuing
State delivered kindy programs in those 60 small rural and remote schools, are operating under the same guidelines as state schools, where essential workers who must attend their workplace and cannot make any other arrangements, such as accessing a free child care centre nearby, are able to send their 4 year old child/ren to school for supervision.
Indigenous Kindy continuing
Indigenous kindy programs in those 38 rural and remote schools are also following the Term 2 operating guidelines for schools and continuing to provide early years education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
E-Kindy modified program
E-Kindy is operating as normal except there will not be any face-to-face play/activity days provided by eKindy Queensland across the state. Teachers are doing more group web sessions to compensate. Parents accessing the E-Kindy Pods in state schools will be able to contact their facilitator to participate in one-on-one activities as directed by their eKindy Queensland teacher: e.g. rhymes, singing and story times. No face-to-face physical contact is allowed.
Outside School Hours Care
As stated in the Term 2 Operating Guidelines for Schools, in alignment with national directions for early childhood education and care services, Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) and Vacation Care services on school sites will continue to be delivered where there is demand.
QTU, 20 April