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Illawarra group to fight childcare reforms

Illawarra Network of Quality Educators members Natalie Wilder, Kathy Patrick and Sarah Larkin at Bombalee Kidz Childcare Centre. Picture: SYLVIA LIBERA newly formed group of Illawarra childcare educators is fighting proposed changes to the industry they say devalue their work and short-change their little charges.

Members of the Illawarra Network of Quality Educators met for the first time this week and are now planning to raise awareness of the fate of childcare if draft recommendations by the Productivity Commission are adopted.

Group co-ordinator Kathy Patrick said their battle was underpinned by a need for professional wages for childcare educators.

Ms Patrick said among their concerns was a recommendation to reduce qualification requirements for staff working with children aged 0 to 3.

“What the Productivity Commission is saying is that in order to make childcare cost-effective, make it less professional,” she said.

“The first three years, that’s when children develop the ability to interact with the world around them, they develop cognitively, socially, linguistically, emotionally, physically – they are saying that doesn’t matter, all that matters is the cost of the childcare.”

Also worrying was a plan to allow services to temporarily operate with staffing levels below required ratios, which Ms Patrick said could place children in harm’s way.

“It’s open to be exploited completely,” she said.

“It opens up all kinds of child protection issues, it’s so much easier for accidents to happen, you can’t be everywhere at once.”

Ms Patrick said the proposals reflected the difficulty of retaining childcare staff in an industry desperately underpaid and undervalued.

“I think it’s because we’re seen as just babysitting, I’m sure there are people who think they drop their children off and we do a bit of finger painting with them and they go home, that’s far from the truth,” Ms Patrick said.

The group’s next meeting will be held at 6.30pm on February 4 at Kanahooka Good Start Early Learning Centre.

Interested childcare educators and community members can email [email protected]南京夜网 for more information.

The Productivity Commission has now finalised its report, which is now before the federal government.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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