Speech to Parliament - Thank you Wonderschool Early Learning
25 August 2021
Address to the House of Representatives
Wednesday 25 August 2021
Subject: Wonderschool Early Learning visit for Early Learning Matters Week
Before we entered lockdown in the ACT, back at the end of July, I had the chance to go down and do some work experience at Wonderschool Early Learning Centre in Conder. Armed with my Working with Vulnerable People card, I arrived ready for whatever was to be thrown at me. I was there to recognise Early Learning Matters Week and to gain a deeper understanding of the role our early educators play. From the detailed induction, the centre's morning song, the early morning flag-raising, the room leadership, some tough questions at morning tea and exploring the play area with the children, right through to a fresh-baked lunch—all were excellent. And, yes, I got my hands dirty!
It was great to see quality educators doing what they do well. We know that the first 1,000 days are critical in a child's development, and it's critical that we recognise the work that educators do with better support and remuneration. As an essential workforce, they should have priority access to vaccination, as should primary and secondary teachers and staff.
I really encourage my colleagues to engage with a local centre and spend time in the shoes of our highly competent early learning educators. Just like other work experience opportunities, such as the excellent ADF program, it's on the ground that you get a deeper understanding of the work.
Thank you to Ellen Robinson, the centre's educational leader and to its director, Heidi Clark; and thank you to Sarah Wilcox, the Wonderschool team operations manager for facilitating my visit. And thank you to all the staff and the wonderful children who taught me and made me feel so welcome.