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Supporting local educators to deliver quality for our kids

THE first years of a child’s life are now considered some of the most critical in determining their future development and health.

How do we ensure those charged with their care and education have the skills, capacity and inspiration needed to give our children the best possible start?

Next month’s two-day Celebrating Educators Conference 2014: Dreams Become Reality event will offer Early Childhood Educators from across the Ipswich, Logan and Redland areas an opportunity to build upon their expertise and knowledge while reflecting on the unique role they play in shaping young lives.

This annual conference, built on a four-year partnership between the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) and Health and Community Services Workforce Council (Workforce Council), is expected to attract some 250 educators over 1-2 February.

USQ Early Childhood Education lecturer Dr Alice Brown said the conference played an important role in providing professional development for educators which in turn benefits local communities accessing these services.

“The conference is an opportunity to celebrate the important role and place of Early Childhood educators as ‘builders of brains’, advocates for importance of play and to reinforce the image of the child as capable and competent,” Dr Brown said.

“It will cover a wide range of topics relevant to Early Childhood including; cultural inclusion and indigenous perspectives, building creative and sustainable learning spaces, linking theory to practice and supporting children’s right to play.”

Workforce Council Executive Director Wallis Westbrook said the purpose of the conference is to build upon the skills of Early Childhood Education and Care workers and the capacity of services, enabling them to provide essential services to our communities.

“Each year the conference, which is partly funded through the Federal Government’s Inclusion and Professional Support Program, brings together educators to inspire, energise and connect participants and invigorate their passion for working in children’s services,” Mr Westbrook said.

“It is vital that we continue to upskill our educators to ensure they have access to quality tools and support needed to maintain a high standard of care for the children of Queensland.”

Dr Brown said the conference continues to go from strength to strength and this year will feature keynote speakers Professor Mark Rose and Louise Dorrat as well as other sector representatives such as government officers, early childhood education academics, consultants and practitioners.

“Professor Rose’s presentation Please Leave Your Shoes At The Door will challenge and inspire delegates to take cultural inclusion beyond tokenism to establish meaningful connections with the world’s oldest knowledge tradition and Australia’s richest education asset,” Dr Brown said.

“Louise Dorrat’s presentation Putting the Fun back into the Framework will present a strong message about the essential components of the National Quality Framework, including building relationships with children, supporting authentic play and documenting children’s learning.

“Louise will talk about stripping it all back and looking at getting to the heart of why we do what we do.”

Dr Brown said the quality and value of the conference highlights the need for similar events in the future in the Western Corridor.


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