Being a child is about learning how to socialise with teachers, peers, family, and friends, engage with the world and discover yourself. It’s such a critical time that every person experiences that an entire week is dedicated to celebrating children! Every year, during the fourth week in October, Children’s Week celebrates the right of children to enjoy childhood. The Children’s Week national theme for 2021 is based on UNICEF’s Article 15: ‘Children have the right to meet together and join groups and organisations as long as it does not stop other people from enjoying their rights’ (UNICEF Australia, 2021). The Convention on the Rights of the Child was first enacted in 1959, and in 1989, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNICEF Australia, 2021).
Sadly, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, children haven’t been able to meet with one another and access in-person learning. Did you know 214 million children across the globe – roughly one in seven – have missed over three-quarters of in-person learning? (UNICEF, 2021). This has impacted not only children’s academic development but also their socialisation skills. This year’s lockdown has meant children haven’t been able to spend time with their friends, leading to decreased social and emotional development. An ABC News article (Branley & Duffy, 2021) explores a handful of parents’ perspectives on how the lockdown has affected their children. For one parent, the loss of structure and socialisation that preschool provides led their child to display oppositional behaviour and tantrums when they had to stay home. For another parent, their child – once happy to play independently at home – is now clingier due to not being able to see their peers and teacher at preschool. Paediatrician Professor Sharon Goldfeld, director of Centre for Community Child Health at The Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne believes ‘children’s gross and fine motor skills could be impacted by loss of playtime at school and parks’ (Branley & Duffy, 2021).
The COVID-19 lockdown isn’t the only challenge facing children’s development. Both early childhood and primary education are under-resourced industries. Figures from Skills Australia (2020) show that demand for early childhood to pre-primary school teachers in Australia is set to grow by 7 per cent from 2016 to 2026. There were 47,900 early childhood teachers in 2020 and this is likely to grow to 56,200 by 2025 (Job Outlook, 2020a). Likewise, there were 168,900 primary school teachers in 2020 and this is set to increase to 179,800 by 2025 (Job Outlook, 2020b). This need is largely being driven by the increase in student population within the next 20 years (The Guardian, 2021).
So, what can be done? Well, have the challenges of lockdown inspired you to re-evaluate your career goals and study? If you’re passionate about educating the next generation, the Bachelor of Early Childhood Education (Birth to 5) or Master of Teaching (Primary) could be the right fit for you. In the Bachelor of Early Childhood Education (Birth to 5), students will learn theory about child development, early childhood contexts, and educational issues and considerations. Students will also nurture, care and facilitate children’s learning and education through 100 hours of practical hands-on experience in childcare centres. Excelsia’s Master of Teaching (Primary) is designed for students with prior study. Master of Teaching (Primary) students will study units such as ‘Teaching for Diverse Abilities’ and ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives’ and consider the diverse needs of students at different ages and their social, intellectual and physical development.
Students in the Bachelor of Early Childhood Education (Birth to 5) and Master of Teaching (Primary) will learn how to provide safe, meaningful, and inclusive education in a fun and playful setting, and how to honour a child’s voice, culture and rights. Teachers play a pivotal role in helping to create a safe place for children to learn and develop skills for the future. It isn’t only the educational setting that is vital to a child’s holistic development, but the quality of the educator in helping a child to discover themselves. If you are interested in both practical and theoretical learning to become prepared for the classroom, why not consider Excelsia’s Bachelor of Early Childhood Education (Birth to 5) or Master of Teaching (Primary)? The growing industry needs nurturing individuals to help shape future learners.
Branley, A. & Duffy, C. (2021, September 1). How to tell if lockdowns are affecting your children and what you can do about it. ABC News. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-09-01/how-to-tell-if-lockdowns-are-affecting-your-children/100421580
Job Outlook. (2020a). Early childhood (pre-primary school) teachers. Job Outlook. https://joboutlook.gov.au/occupations/early-childhood-pre-primary-school-teachers?occupationCode=2411
Job Outlook. (2020b). Primary school teachers. Job Outlook. https://joboutlook.gov.au/occupations/primary-school-teachers?occupationCode=2412
NSW Children’s Week. (2021). Celebrating with a focus. NSW Children’s Week. https://www.nswchildrensweek.org.au/
Skills Australia. (2020). How the demand of child care workers post COVID-19 will increase in Australia? Skills Australia. https://www.skillsaustralia.edu.au/blog/how-the-demand-of-child-care-workers-post-covid-19-will-increase-in-australia/
The Guardian. (2021, June 25). Tell us what the shortage of teachers in Australia means for you. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/jun/25/tell-us-what-the-shortage-of-teachers-in-australia-means-for-you
UNICEF. (2021). COVID-19: Schools for more than 168 million children globally have been completely closed for almost a full year, says UNICEF. https://www.unicef.org/press-releases/schools-more-168-million-children-globally-have-been-completely-closed
UNICEF Australia. (2021). United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Children. https://www.unicef.org.au/our-work/information-for-children/un-convention-on-the-rights-of-the-child UNICEF