Stimulated by a new generation of policy makers and educators interested in the development of standardised national policies and regulations governing the early childhood sector in Australia, the focus of early childhood education has moved. In an effort to amalgamate early childhood education and care services, Australia, together with other countries throughout the world, such as the United Kingdom, United States, Belgium, Norway and Finland (OECD, 2004), have introduced models of integrated early childhood services (Tayler, 2011).
The goal is to develop “high quality and integrated early childhood education and care services” (COAG, 2009, p.1) which provide continuity of care to children from 0 to 12 years. No longer simply ‘child minding’, but ‘high quality’ educational facilities, offering comprehensive educational curriculum, in a warm and nurturing environment, which concentrate on the needs of the individual child (Elliott, 2006).
In order to achieve this objective the Federal Government introduced initiatives by which all early childhood workers in Australia must hold a recognized credential in early child-hood education. Legislation introduced compels all early childhood workers t...
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...y with children in an early childhood service, irrespective of credentials (Elliott, 2006). This meant that staff, including degree level early childhood teachers, per-sons holding a Diploma or TAFE certificate in early childhood education, or someone with no qualifications other than long term employment in the sector are considered “teachers” (Elliott, 2006).
The designation “childcare worker” can apply to anyone working in the early childhood sector whether a “trained teacher” or “untrained” staff member (Elliot, 2004b). This mis-conception has increased the perception that experience alone is sufficient for awarding an early childhood teacher credential (AACTE, 2004), which has undervalued early child-hood professionalism and the status of early childhood teachers, resulting in what has been termed “professional territorialism” (Senate enquiry, 1996, p.43).
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