In this issue of Every Child, editor Julie Rutups brings to a close her role at the magazine and as a member of the ECA Publications Advisory Group. Like her co-editor Jackie Brien, who stepped down after the previous issue, she has worked very hard for ECA and the magazine and will be sorely missed by all. She uses her final editorial to advocate for children’s right to fully participate in the current conversation around the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament.
This conversation is now taking place across Australia, with a referendum on the Voice expected to be held sometime between October and December this year. Early Childhood Australia (ECA) has made its position clear, coming down firmly on the ‘Yes’ side. This position derives from ECA’s long reconciliation journey, which began over a decade ago. And now ECA CEO Sam Page introduces Every Child’s readers to the new ECA stretch Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP)—Winanggaay, or look, listen and learn—launched in June this year. ECA’s commitment to reconciliation and a ‘Yes’ vote is embodied in an article by Indigenous advocate, author and signatory to the Uluru Statement from the Heart, Thomas Mayo. Based on his experience, he believes that our children expect we will vote ‘Yes’ in the referendum. Mayo’s children’s book on the Voice, Finding Our Heart, is also reviewed in this issue.
Play continues to be a major focus of the magazine. This issue features an article on an award-winning, Canberra-based school holidays program, Active Gamers Australia. The article describes how the program promotes physical activity and healthy eating as well as video gaming, and includes components designed to heighten children’s awareness of cyber-safety.
Good physical health is also the subject of an article by Drs Amelia Ruscoe and Ruth Wallace, who have written the Little Aussie Bugs series of children’s books to raise health awareness in both children and adults. If young children are good health-aware today, they set the stage for a lifetime of healthy habits.
There is plenty of good practical advice for teachers and educators in this issue. The team at Goodstart Early Learning Glenfield Park describes their experience trying to understand young children’s emotions and behaviour through a trauma-informed lens. The team shares with readers a set of strategies to help children cope with their big feelings during times of stress. Continuing our publishing partnership with the Australian Education Research Organisation (AERO), the magazine introduces an important new set of resources designed to help educators appreciate the learning trajectories of early childhood. Based on up-to-the-minute evidence and data, author Dr Kelly Johnston explains, the trajectories help educators and teachers ‘identify possibilities for extending learning and development.’ Another significant contribution for educators and teachers is Aimee Mathai’s article on how she used ECA’s Community of Practice on STEM Learning to implement a new STEM curriculum across multiple early childhood services. Dr Nan Xu Rattanasone’s team has some great advice on how to teach bilingual children in safe, respectable and Australian-specific ways.
Finally, relax and enjoy the visual feast that is our environment feature. Here the team at Blue Gum Community School in Canberra share how they integrate environmental and community engagement in their pedagogy.
Welcome to the latest issue of Every Child magazine. Happy reading!