Early ed­u­ca­tion in spot­light

Pilbara News - - News - Ali­cia Per­era

Early child­hood ed­u­ca­tion in the Pil­bara was brought into the spot­light at an in­au­gu­ral day­long pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment con­fer­ence held in Kar­ratha at the week­end.

Bayn­ton West Pri­mary School hosted the first Kar­ratha Early Child­hood Ed­u­ca­tion and Care Con­fer­ence at the Kar­ratha Leisure­plex on Satur­day to give lo­cal ed­u­ca­tors ac­cess to the lat­est ideas in de­vel­op­ing chil­dren aged eight and un­der.

The event fea­tured a packed pro­gram of guest and lo­cal speak­ers and drew about 130 early child­hood ed­u­ca­tors, in­clud­ing day­care and play­group staff, from Kar­ratha, Port Hed­land, Tom Price, Onslow, Pan­na­won­ica and New­man.

Bayn­ton West Pri­mary teach­ers and con­fer­ence or­gan­is­ers Jes­sica Stevens and Suzie Pow­ell said they had or­gan­ised the con­fer­ence in re­sponse to calls for bet­ter lo­cal ac­cess to early years pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment be­cause of the dif­fi­cul­ties of trav­el­ling to Perth.

“A lot of the time when we’re ac­cess­ing pro­fes­sional learn­ing, it’s a case of one or two peo­ple be­ing sent down to Perth for it, so this way we were able to ex­pand that and al­low a lot of peo­ple to ac­cess pro­fes­sional learn­ing where we are,” Ms Stevens said.

“I’m also the (early child­care) net­work co-or­di­na­tor for Kar­ratha, so through there (ed­u­ca­tors) are al­ways ask­ing for pro­fes­sional learn­ing.”

“It’s some­thing we’ve been talk­ing about for a few years now, ac­tu­ally hav­ing this con­fer­ence, and it’s just come into fruition this year.”

Ms Stevens said they also hoped the event would pro­mote net­work­ing and col­lab­o­ra­tion across dif­fer­ent ar­eas in the Pil­bara early child­hood sec­tor.

Ses­sions on top­ics in­clud­ing child­hood brain de­vel­op­ment, na­ture and play-based learn­ing, mu­sic and move­ment, sen­sory pro­cess­ing and al­lied health were of­fered by speak­ers, many of whom flew from Perth for the event. In a speech open­ing the con­fer­ence, Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion Pil­bara re­gional ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Neil Darby said school num­bers across all age cat­e­gories had been ris­ing in the Pil­bara and the area had to plan for more young fam­i­lies to come.

He said the con­fer­ence was valu­able for plan­ning in the “front­line” of early years ed­u­ca­tion.

“It re­ally is such an im­por­tant role that this con­fer­ence re­flects, and that’s why I’m so ap­pre­cia­tive we’re hav­ing it,” he said.

“I think pro­fes­sional learn­ing, ac­cess to var­i­ous staff groups, is vari­able and we want to make it more con­sis­tent and I’m pleased that Kar­ratha ed­u­ca­tors have pro­vided that.”

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