The past few months have been challenging for the whole of humanity, but one side-effect of the pandemic has been worth noting. For the first time, we early childhood teachers and educators around the world have been classed as being essential workers.
We have certainly proved ourselves adaptable and flexible workers, rapidly moving our pedagogy online while facing the prospect of teaching drastically reduced class sizes – all this so other essential workers could continue to go to work, knowing their children were safe, educated and cared for.
The online member meeting we held in the first week of this term was one of our most highly attended meetings I can remember. We facilitated discussions that lead to some great ideas, spoke about what we needed, and considered how we can help each other. I felt a huge amount of solidarity as we shared our experiences.
Our lives as educators have been in a constant state of flux, as we deal with a reality that we cannot predict or control. As we know, stability, autonomy and predictability for children is integral to them feeling safe and secure within their environments. We were suddenly thrown into a position where we had to provide the stability we always strive to, while being largely deprived of it ourselves.
As we emerge from this lockdown, I sincerely urge the state and federal governments to continue to acknowledge the importance of the early childhood sector and ensure that is reflected in improvements to our wages and conditions
and standing within broader society moving forward.
After all the arrangements and tireless work that took place at the end of Term 1, we will not forget how inequitably we early childhood teachers and educators have been treated in comparison with our primary and secondary colleagues. I congratulate us all for not only surviving but thriving under the most difficult circumstances of our lives.