Early Childhood Raising our collective voices

  • By Heidi Ratje
  • This article was published more than 1 year ago.
  • 15 Sep 2022

Recent announcements about investments in early years education are exciting but they also mean change, which can be confronting. 

We have seen significant investment in early childhood education in Victoria – and the most recent announcement to make kindergarten free for all children and increase the hours of funded kindergarten for four-year-old children is very welcome. But, for some members, these announcements are also overwhelming and exhausting.

At times it can feel all too much: our voice is drowned out by all the noise; we face daily challenges to stay on top of everything; our workload is overwhelming; and many members have reform fatigue. 

At times like that, it is important to take the opportunity to stop and reflect. Once we begin to see through the fog of our concerns, we can see the positive impacts these policy changes will have on the children, their families, and our local communities.

As unionists, we have a voice. We can advocate for the supports our individual services need to increase opportunities for all Victorian children to engage in an early learning program.

This policy is being introduced because our voices have been heard and our perspectives have been considered. Our sector and the importance of our work is being recognised, so we need to focus on the opportunity and remind ourselves that we can work through the details together.

As unionists, we have a voice. We can advocate for the supports our individual services need to increase opportunities for all Victorian children to engage in an early learning program.

When we bring our voices together, we work for the greater good. When we shift our perspective away from the view that policy changes are ‘done to’ us, we focus instead on being part of the process. We can help shape, inform and influence policy through our advocacy and activism.

Our engagement, advocacy and activism is of crucial importance as this reform is implemented. Advocacy can be done on a large or small scale – it could be as simple as starting a conversation, being part of consultative opportunities, or joining sector council. Collectively, we can articulate our needs, share ideas, and find solutions so that the expansion of kindergarten is successful for the profession, for children and for families.

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