Julie Madgwick - G8 Early Childhood Expert
Julie Madgwick - G8 Early Childhood Expert
This week we are delighted to introduce the new Head of Early Learning at G8 Education, Julie Madgwick.
What are the responsibilities in your new role as G8 Education's Head of Early Learning and Education?
In the inaugural role of Head of Early Learning and Education I have been tasked with developing educational strategy and improving pedagogical practices across G8 Education's national network. To be given the opportunity to help shape the early educational journey of tens of thousands of children each day is such an amazing privilege!
What are the primary objectives of G8 Education and how do you help in meeting these goals?
As Australia's largest provider of private early childhood education and care, G8 Education has a significant responsibility in shaping the lives of thousands of children through the provision of quality education and care reflecting contemporary research into best practice in early learning. As a major employer, we also have the responsibly to invest in the development of our team members by providing quality professional development options for all our people. This ranges from supporting trainees to gain their Certificate III qualification through to developing our leaders with targeted leadership training and opportunities.
What are the biggest challenges for G8 Education right now?
It is a particularly dynamic time in early childhood education and care in Australia, with greater recognition of the important role our sector plays in developing our future leaders. We will continue to advocate for improved access to quality, while investigating new and innovative ways to enhance outcomes for children. We are also exploring how we can attract and retain high quality teachers to provide the best experiences for children while also meeting the new 2020 regulatory requirements for ECTs.
What do you anticipate those challenges will be in the future?
G8 Education has an incredible responsibility across its diverse range of centres. Responsibility to embrace innovation in education while ensuring we deliver the best outcomes for children. By doing this, we are promoting a cycle of success for families and communities, from the important early years to empowering adults to be lifelong learners.
What is your vision for G8 Education?
That we can further empower educators and leaders to be great champions of early childhood education by providing state-of-the-art training and continual opportunities for them to develop their practice. In doing so, we aim to deliver higher quality education and care services to ensure only positive outcomes for children and families.
Why has early childhood education become such a huge topic in Australia over recent years?
The research emphatically shows how quality early education is key to igniting a lifelong passion for learning as this is when children develop their dispositions for learning. The early years are where children gain the confidence to take a risk and the resilience to have another go; where they learn how to communicate with others; where they learn to be curious and ask questions about the world around them; and where they learn how to get along with other people. Our sector has been viewed as a workforce initiative; it is much more than that. When you consider how much of a child's brain is developed in the first 1000 days of their lives, you will understand just how important it is to nurture children, providing skilled educators and stimulating environments for them to engage with.
What, in your opinion, are the biggest challenges facing the Australian early childhood sector now?
Access for all children to quality early learning opportunities. The major political parties are starting to recognise the importance of this which is exciting. Another challenge is the number of degree qualified early childhood teachers in Australia. At the moment demand exceeds supply to most states and this may continue until the sector is celebrated as a teaching profession in our society. We are on that pathway now, and here at G8 Education we develop our team members to promote their educational and career pathways.
How will these challenges affect people working in early childhood and how can they adapt?
By continuing to be champions for children and their sector, our teachers and leaders can share their knowledge with the families and communities in which they operate. At G8 Education, we are working hard to provide our teams with the tools they need to do this. This is evident in the most recent feedback from our Assessment and Rating process where one of our centres gained an Exceeding Rating in all 7 Quality Areas.
What, in your opinion, are the most important factors to get right to ensure Australia has a world class early childhood education system?
Recognition for our sector as a sector in its own right and being respectful of the dedicated educators, teachers and leaders who provide education and care for our children is a good start. Research indicates quality education and care where children can freely engage in stimulating environments to drive their own learning, led by educators who understand how children learn, is crucial for them to develop the dispositions for learning that set them up to succeed in all later learning. It's that important.
If there was one thing you could change about the Australian early childhood sector, right now, what would it be?
There are two things, and these are related! A greater recognition for the work our teams do to contribute to our future society and a big cohort of early childhood teacher trainees to feed our quest for quality.
Is there anything else you can add which would be helpful for our audience, of mostly early childhood professionals and industry experts to know?
Firstly, there's that word 'industry' and the word I often hear used to describe our educators, 'workers'. Let's change how we talk about our sector and our educators. When we change our words and gently remind others to use sector and educator, we are beginning the journey to professionalise our sector and show how we value our teams. At G8 Education we recognise our educators, teachers and leaders as professionals, we are changing our language to show respect to our people and acknowledge the important role they play in the lives of the children and families within their communities.
This child care article was last reviewed or updated on Monday, 30 December 2019
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