Lifestyle

OPINION: Childcare workers are underpaid, underrated

CRUCIAL ROLE: Many early childhood educators earn less than the average cleaner.
CRUCIAL ROLE: Many early childhood educators earn less than the average cleaner. Thinkstock

MORE than a thousand childcare professionals and early childhood educators around Australia stopped work early to protest their pay rates as part of International Women's Day.

Their rates of pay are appallingly low and challenge a standard of living, longevity in the profession and the ability to be granted a mortgage.

These staff are nurturing our children at a critical time in childhood, yet, they are paid less than cleaners.

They earn half the national average wage, just above the minimum wage - as little as $20 an hour.

These staff have at least a Certificate III.

How is it that the government is satisfied that a male metal fitter and machinist with a Certificate III qualification can earn $37.89, compared with the $20.61 earned by the Certificate III-qualified early years educator?

Many early childhood educators have diploma qualifications, and bachelor degrees. And, their pay is only marginally better.

The government needs to get serious about its commitment to early childhood education.

Yes, the government has recognised the need for educators to have increased skills and qualifications.

But, they are failing to give staff the professional recognition and the sort of pay and conditions that properly value the work they do and the benefit they bring to children's development.

Current scientific knowledge proves the early years are a critical time for brain development.

Google it and read the science for yourself.

Healthy early development depends on nurturing and dependable relationships with supportive and nurturing adults.

If your child is in a childcare setting, then the nurturing adults supporting your parenting role are childcare professionals.

Early experiences lay the foundation for learning in later life, affect the development of the brain and lay the foundation for intelligence, emotional health, and future well-being.

The emotional, social and physical development of a young child has a direct effect on overall development and on the adult they will become.

So, how can we afford to pay staff a pittance when so much is at stake?

It is time governments and communities recognised the significance of what this profession does.

Can we expect high-quality early education while handing out poverty wages for such valuable work?

Early childhood staff build strong, nurturing relationships with children which in turn are ensuring healthy development and well-being.

They are engaging in responsive care-giving interactions which bring to children a sense of belonging and a knowledge they are cared for, and can trust the world around them.

If we get it right in the early years, children thrive throughout school and their adult lives. I think that is worth a pay rise, don't you?

Topics:  careers dr ali black early childhood education education employment family life



Calls to ban the bag intensify on the Northern Rivers

Ballina Shire Council will debate a motion to pressure the State Government to ban single use plastic bags.

Ballina Shire Council latest to campaign against plastic bags

Northern Rivers truckie takes on Ninja Warrior Grand Final

RIGHT AT HOME: Tom Hazell in his backyard ninja set-up.

Truckie one of 21 ninjas in Australian Ninja Warrior grand final

Shark 'one of nature's great beauties', says Mick

IN AWE: Mick Fanning  during a press conference ahead of the WSL event at Jeffreys Bay in South Africa.

Fanning says he won't be deterred from surfing

Local Partners

Diana Chan crowned MasterChef's 2017 winner

MELBOURNE accountant comes out on top after an intense 8-hour grand final showdown.

Mini ninjas get into training

Gary Nowlan, 12, of Gawler East trains in X-Park at Bounce.

Kids as young as 12 are already dreaming of becoming Ninja Warriors

Families that game together, stay together?

Gaming is becoming an increasingly popular opportunity for family bonding, according to new studies.

More parents, grandparents turn to gaming to connect with kids

Seen and heard at Splendour 2017

CREATIVE: Sherradin Thomas, from Gippsland, at Splendour in the Grass 2017.

The unofficial account of what you may have missed

Michael Phelps just raced a shark

Sharks have been snapped surrounding the carcass of a whale off the coast of Fraser Island.

Swimming legend loses by a fin in man versus beast battle

PHOTOS: Splendour Day 3 in pics.

Schoolboy Q performs at Main Stage in Byron Bay at Splendour in the Grass 2017 on Day 3.

The final day saw a great selection of bands for punters

REVIEW: The Bodyguard musical is a great night out

Kip Gamblin and Paulini in a scene from the musical The Bodyguard.

PAULINI tackles Whitney Houston's powerhouse songs flawlessly.

How Gladstone's cheapest and most expensive homes stack up

SPECTACULAR: This home on Springs Road, Agnes Water, is selling in the mid-$2 million range.

With the market currently low, now is the time to invest.

'We’re goin' to Bonnie Doon!' and now you can too

How's the serenity?

The experience will have you exclaiming “how’s the serenity?”

New life for Bree and historic Oddfellows Hall

TWO CHANGES: Bree Dahl with her new baby Ivy in front of the historic Oddfellows Hall she purchased at auction and will renovate into a house.

Historic hall to be turned into home

Financial scandal destroys alternative community

Families who gave thousands to be a part of an alternative community at Mt Burrell, west of Murwillumbah, are now trying to recover their investment. Picture: Jamie Hanson

Dream Utopia turns into a nightmare