- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
- Air Quality
- Animal Welfare
- Bushfire Risk Management
- Children and young people
- Climate Change and Energy
- Coal and Coal Seam Gas
- Coastal management
- Coastal Sand mining and extraction
- Drugs and harm minimisation
- Early Childhood Education
- Electoral and Funding Reform
- Environment Impact Assessment and Pollution Control
- Gaming Machines
- Genetic Engineering in Food and Crops
- Genetically Engineered Organisms in Production of Pharmaceuticals
- Industrial relations
- Juvenile Justice
- Local Government
- Marine Environment
- National Parks
- Older People
- Planning and Infrastructure
- Public Ownership
- Public Sector Social and Environmental Responsibility
- Recreation and Sport
- Regional Development
- Rural Land Use
- Rural young people
- Sexuality and Gender Identity
- Social Equity
- Voluntary Euthanasia
- Waste Elimination
- Water (rural and agricultural)
- Water (urban)
- Worker's Compensation
Early Childhood Education
Revised October 2006
1. Early childhood (birth to 8 years of age) is becoming a major point of discussion in the media and the political arena.
2. Evidence shows that children are spending more and more time in childhood services.
3. This policy, a result of broad consultation within the Early Childhood community, including children, is part of an ongoing process and will supplement the current Education policy.
4. The core principle of this policy is that children are civic participants who contribute to society from the moment they are born and should have access to all rights accorded under international conventions related to children, they are not just an investment for the future.
5. Children are also not 'empty vessels' into which we fill ideas we think are important, nor ‘blank slates’ for knowing adults to ‘write on’, rather they are critical, thinking, multifunctional human beings.
6. This policy is a response to the neglect of early childhood education by state and federal governments which see investment in early childhood only as a way to avoid later responsibilities.
7. Like other public services, early childhood is increasingly being privatised and corporatised to the detriment of democratic education.
The Greens NSW will work to:
8. Develop childhood services as places that act as multipurpose centres that provide: education, care, family support and community development. Multipurpose centres are defined as: centres which integrate education and care and are recognised as a focus of community activity;
9. Recognise that formal education begins at birth;
10. Support the development of publicly funded ‘not for profit’ services for children;
11. Invest in the future through enhanced funding of early childhood education;
12. Recognise childhood as a worthwhile stage of life rather than just the preparation for adulthood or promise of the future;
13. Recognise the identity of children as part of their social characteristics such as race, ethnicity, gender, class, language, family structure;
14. Recognise that children's lives are developed within family and community context rather than as individuals developing in isolation;
15. Acknowledge that the idea of the ‘universal child’ – the idea that all children everywhere are the same and have the same access to resources and the same needs - is a myth;
16. Consult children and include children’s voices in the formulation of policy, and make these contributions visible and explicit;
17. Ensure that children should participate in all decision making that concerns their lives based on clause 12 of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child;
18. Ensure that children have the right to access and to knowledge about daily practices that contribute to ecologically sustainable living The Greens recognise that children also make a connection to the ‘natural world’ – care for the earth is fundamental to social justice. In turn this will contribute to socially sustainable living, equity and social justice;
19. Recognise the special role played by parents, guardians and other carers such as health professionals, in Early Childhood education. These adults are recognised for the emotional, practical and intellectual wellbeing they contribute to education both inside and outside the education system. They should also be encouraged to act in consultation with teachers and staff to ensure a socially just and equitable education system and practice; and
20. Recognise that teachers are not the only source of curriculum facilitation. Teachers work in partnership with children, families, community members, peak organisations and curriculum development bodies.
21. Children and family services should be given greater emphasis in both political consideration and funding.
22. Wages for Early Childhood educators should be consistent across education and that parity should be achieved with the schools sector.
23. All child care staff should be recognised for their contribution to the community, society and the world.
24. All Early Childhood teaching staff should have Early Childhood or other appropriate tertiary qualifications. Those who do not should be supported to achieve such qualifications, and that childhood service providers should recognise this as a necessary professional pathway. Where applicable prior learning such as educational qualifications from international universities and educational institutions will be considered. Staff should be paid in accordance with the successful completion of tertiary awards – the government should recognise and support this as a long term strategy for childhood education. Professional development should be seen as an ongoing and essential part of teaching in Early Childhood.
25. Working conditions should be fair and equitable. Provision for annual leave, long service leave and other entitlements should be protected as part of the award structure.
Accreditation and Operational Policies
26. Currently children’s services operate under different sets of policies and legislation defined within states.
27. Regulation and standards for early childhood services should be nationally consistent. Such standards include: staff:child ratio, qualifications – these standards should be based on what is equitable, socially and ecologically sustainable for children, families and community rather than the economic factors subject to government budgeting.
28. Regulating bodies currently represent the legal and financial regulation of childhood services. The practice of basing the legal and financial regulation of early childhood services purely on quantitative measures in inappropriate given the services are essentially qualitative in nature.
29. Within these national standards provisions need to be made for cultural specificity and locally controlled production of childhood services that take into account the broad range of environments in which children develop such as urban, rural and indigenous settings.
30. National Accreditation Standards should be based on what is equitable, socially and ecologically sustainable for children, families and community rather than an attempt to create minimum standards for childhood services – children and people who work there.
31. Systems of regulation and accreditation should be integrated.
32. Government funding should be first and foremost directed to creating public early childhood services for all children. Where funding of non-government providers is essential to ensure that all children have access to appropriate services, then funding should only be directed to suitably regulated ‘not for profit’ childhood service providers. ‘Not for profit’ is defined as: Early Childhood services that operate as part of a community and are not fundamentally based on a profit motive.
33. Indigenous children should be recognised and valued for the different skills and ways of learning and belonging they bring to education. Indigenous communities must be supported to ensure equitable access to education resources, so that indigenous children are able to learn within different systems of knowledge throughout NSW and Australia.
34. All education centres including those catering to non-indigenous children should place understanding of, and respect for, indigenous knowledge as a fundamental part of daily educational practice. All efforts should be made to be resourced by indigenous communities in the implementation of such educational programmes.
Refugees and Asylum Seekers
35. Refugee and asylum seeker children should be given the same rights as adult asylum seeker refugees. No refugees or asylum seeker children should be held in mandatory detention. The Greens opposition to the holding of refugees or asylum seekers in mandatory detention particularly applies to children who are even more vulnerable than their parents.
36. Refugee and asylum seeker children should be afforded access to all forms of public education, without charge of fees.
37. All education and childcare centres should develop curriculum and pedagogy which ameliorates economic, social and political marginalisation.
Children With ‘Special Rights’
38. The term ‘special rights’ arises from the special needs of children such as mental illness, physical disability, intellectual disability etc.
39. Children with special rights should be able to access all forms of public education. Increased public funds should be allocated to ensure that their special rights are integrated into the built and natural environment of the centre, as well as its curriculum planning and learning practices.
40. The important place children with special rights in the education system must be recognised. The aim of education should be to encourage civic participation by all children, families/carers and staff. Ensuring that the rights of children are respected in everyday practice is thus a responsibility of all involved in the education system.
Parents With Special Rights
41. Parents with special rights have an important role in Early Childhood education and should be recognised for the value they bring. Meetings with staff, curriculum planning and pedagogical practice need to be designed, so that parents with special rights can be informed about and involved in the education of their children.
Families of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Backgrounds
42. Cultures and languages of all families should be acknowledged as part of the curriculum and every day practice of Early Childhood educational services.
43. Where possible bilingual education should be made available multilingualism a valuable contribution to the education system and society.
Families of Diverse Family Structure
44. Diverse families, such as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Sole Parent, Nuclear, Blended, Extended and Step families, have the same rights to access Early childhood education programs and should be represented in curriculum content whether such families are present in the service or not.