ICPA Qld lobbies for an appropriate range of early childhood programs to be available to support children and families who live in rural and remote areas.
Louise Winten - Portfolio Leader
The latest ICPA Qld Early Childhood report can be found here
REMOTE KINDY PILOT PROGRAM
ICPA Qld Inc acknowledges the Department of Education and the Office of Early Childhood’s initiative to create the Remote Kindergarten Pilot Program in an attempt to allay concerns regarding 15 hours access for 4 years olds to a quality kindergarten program in rural and remote communities. It is hoped that this Pilot will eventuate into a permanent solution for all small communities with no other kindergarten alternative within a reasonable travelling distance. The Pilot Program has been expanded from 11 schools in 2016 to 36 schools being involved in 2017.
The eKindy Program provides another opportunity for families to access a comprehensive ‘at home’ kindergarten program for children in the year before Prep. Delivered by the Brisbane School of Distance Education the program is designed so that children living in rural and remote areas, travelling or medically unable to attend a local early childhood service can engage in quality kindergarten experiences and maximise their learning as they play, create, imagine and discover.
BLUE CARD APPLICATION PROCESS
The employment of prospective educators in rural and remote areas continues to be hindered by the lengthy Queensland Blue Card application process. ICPA Qld believes there is an issue in Queensland, whereby prospective employees who currently hold a Working with Children Card or its equivalent in other states of Australia, require processing alongside applicants in Queensland who have never held a Blue Card. For rural and remote families looking to employ staff through In Home Care, along with small rural schools where adequate staffing is challenging, the lengthy processing delays are extremely problematic.
ICPA Qld is also lobbying at a Federal Level for the introduction of a National Working With Children Check as per the recommendations set out in the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.