Delivering quality early learning: What needs to change in South Australia?.

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If you could change early learning and childcare in South Australia, where would you start?

Despite a workforce of dedicated and highly qualified professionals, a combination of recent changes and a lack of drive to invest in the early years have affected the preschool and early learning systems in South Australia.

The Thrive by Five campaign and the Australian Education Union are fighting for reform of the early learning and childcare system. We believe Australia’s early learning and childcare system should be high quality, universally accessible and affordable for parents and their children.

We recognise the expertise of preschool teachers and early childhood educators – they play one of the most important roles in the lives of young children. That’s why we want to hear from you.

Please join Thrive by Five CEO and former SA Premier, Jay Weatherill, Australian Education Union Federal President Correna Haythorpe, Professor Victoria Whitington from the University of South Australia and the Director of Port Augusta Children’s Centre Mandy Dempsey for a conversation about the future of early learning in South Australia. The discussion will be moderated by Australian Education Union South Australia branch president Lara Golding.

Learn more about the fight to reform early learning and childcare in Australia and have your say to help shape Australia’s future early childhood education and childcare system.

This is your chance to be part of the discussion and ask questions! Bring your ideas, concerns and comments for your opportunity to help make early childhood education and care high quality, easily accessible and affordable.


Your speakers:

Jay Weatherill AO

The Honourable Jay Weatherill AO is the CEO of Thrive by Five responsible for delivering Minderoo’s early childhood agenda. Jay was Premier of SA for 6 1/2 years and Minister for 16 years in portfolios including Early Childhood He holds Law and Economics degrees from the University of Adelaide. He is as Industry Professor at the University of South Australia an Ambassador for Reggio Children and on the governance board for Great to Eight an early childhood research project. He was recently made an Officer of the Order of Australia in the 2021 Australia Day Honours list for his work including in early childhood development.

Correna Haythorpe

Correna Haythorpe has spent 17 years teaching in public primary schools with most of her teaching has been in low socio economic areas of northern Adelaide and Port Pirie, in regional South Australia. She has also taught in the UK and Japan. Correna served as AEU SA Branch President from 2008 to 2013. She took on the additional role of Deputy Federal President of the AEU in 2013, and has represented the AEU nationally and internationally with Education International. As the AEU’s Federal President since 2015, she leads the union in the fight to secure a strong, fully funded public education system via the Fair Funding Now!, Stop TAFE Cuts! and Preschool Funding Now! Campaigns.

Prof Victoria Whitington

Victoria Whitington is Dean of Programs: Education Futures at the University of South Australia, and a senior member of the UniSA Centre for Research into Educational and Social Inclusion. She has worked for many years teaching and researching in the early childhood field, and has been Lady Gowrie Child Centre Board Chair since 2000. Whitington’s research, which has been published in key national and international journals has made a substantial contribution to how teachers and education settings support children’s wellbeing, to supporting how teachers and educators create engaging learning environments, and to workforce planning policy implementation.

Mandy Dempsey

Mandy Dempsey is a proud Kokatha woman, a children’s centre director and an advocate for education in the early years being inclusive of the whole family. She works in Port Augusta with families to empower them to create change for their children and for future generations.

Lara Golding

Following roles on the Branch Executive including two years as Vice President, Lara Golding was elected President of the AEU SA Branch at the end of 2019. Lara has been Chair of the AEU SA Branch Early Childhood Consultative Committee and active in campaigning for guaranteed funding for preschools. She is an experienced high school teacher and curriculum leader for Mathematics and Giftedness.

This event is part of the Thrive by Five campaign.

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