G8 invests in development to fight workforce shortages

As the early childhood education and care sector grapples with a workforce shortage crisis, G8 Education is investing in the next generation of educators, creating more than 100 Educator-in-training roles across New South Wales and Victoria to pilot its first mass induction of new trainees.

Early childhood education sector vacancies are at an all-time high, with more than 7,200 positions currently advertised online across Australia.

That number has grown by 1000 in just six months, with 57 per cent of those vacant roles in New South Wales and Victorian centres.

G8 Education’s Chief People Transformation Officer Tabitha Pearson said the workforce shortages are at a critical level and are having ripple effects across communities.

“Providers, including G8 Education, are being forced to partially close centres, reduce operating hours and even halt on taking new enrolments due to workforce shortages,” she said.

“While we do our best to minimise these service changes, in the current environment it is, at times, unavoidable and this causes disruptions to our families.

“Our dedicated team members do an amazing job educating and nurturing the children in our care and we’re committed to finding innovative ways to recruit and develop more wonderful educators and teachers to help us support Australian families.”

One way G8 Education is addressing the workforce challenge is investing more in its sector-leading Trainee and Study Pathway programs to grow and develop its team.

Company statistics show employees who complete a VET qualification through the G8 Study Pathway Program stay, on average, twice as long as non-study pathways qualified team members.

“We know we need to think differently if we want to overcome our current workforce challenges, which is why we are so excited to invest more in ‘growing our own’ and creating sector-leading study and development pathways for our current and prospective team.” said Ms Pearson.

G8 Education is one of Australia’s largest early learning providers, dedicated to its purpose of creating the foundations for learning for life.

Zoe Bumpstead joined one of G8 Education’s centres, Great Beginnings Mount Clear, six months ago as an Educator-in-training after discovering the ‘earn while you learn’ traineeship offering. Zoe, Julie and Sienna

“I wanted to start in the early learning sector, but I wasn’t sure how I would juggle work with study until I found the role at Great Beginnings Mount Clear where the study is actually embedded into your daily routine,” she said.

“I have been so supported to succeed in both my study and on-the-floor practice by the team at the centre.

“Working in early childhood is just incredible. We get to witness huge milestones in children’s lives every day like learning to walk or saying their first words, and it is such a privilege to be a part of those moments.”

Julie Wilshire, the Centre Manager at Great Beginnings Mount Clear, started as a trainee with G8 Education 10 years ago, so she understands first-hand the importance of supporting trainees in their development.

“I started my journey as a trainee and I have been supported by G8 Education to grow within my career ever since,” she said.

“Trainees bring fresh ideas and energy to centres which reignites the passion in teams.

“If we are going to overcome our current workforce shortage challenges, investing in growing our own Educators and Teachers and nurturing meaningful career pathways is so important.”

Great Beginnings Mount Clear is just one of around 90 G8 Education centres currently recruiting for Educators-in-training in New South Wales and Victoria.

You can learn more about the role and view all the current trainee opportunities available here.

Thousands more Australian children to benefit from world-first program

Hundreds of Early Childhood Teachers will have access to an evidence-based rhythm and movement program to support children’s self-regulation thanks to a new partnership between early learning provider G8 Education, and QUT’s world-first RAMSR program.

The Rhythm and Movement for Self-Regulation (RAMSR) program sees children perform complex, coordinated movements to specially developed music tracks to help support the development of their attentional and emotional skills.

“Research has established musicians have more connected and efficient brains and that group music experiences contribute to social cohesion,” said Associate Professor Kate Williams who developed the RAMSR program.

“Our research showed greater teacher-reported self-regulation skills in the RAMSR children across the kindergarten year than those of the control groups.

“Self-regulation includes the important skills of regulating attention and emotion, working memory, ability to shift attention between information and tasks, impulse control and concentration which all affect learning and social development.”

A new professional development partnership between G8 Education and RAMSR will see more than 600 Early Childhood Teachers from across Australia trained to deliver elements of the RAMSR program – enabling them to support thousands of children to improve their self-regulation in their learning environments.

“We include some brain tricks to practise impulse control such as asking children to be still even when music is playing- the brain’s ‘air traffic control system’ has to kick in to restrain the natural impulse to move,” Assoc. Prof. Williams said.

“The children love the ‘slow down’ end of the session when they are asked to ‘stand tall like a tree’ or ‘sit down and breath like a bubble’.

“G8 Education’s Early Childhood Teachers will be equipped with practical skills and resources to be able to implement the basics of RAMSR into their learning environments immediately.”

“RAMSR is travelling the country with the G8 Education team for our inaugural Early Childhood Teacher Roadshow, which will see our network of Early Childhood Teachers collaborate with sector-leading researchers and professionals such as RAMSR,” said Ali Evans, G8 Education Head of Education and Early Learning.

“I think what is special about the RAMSR program is we know what incredible benefits it has for children, but it also supports Educator and Teacher wellbeing by promoting the importance of ‘play’ for adults.

“We are committed to empowering our Teachers to tailor their programs to meet the needs of the children in their classrooms, so RAMSR will be yet another great addition to that collection of skills, knowledge and programs.”

Click here if you’d like to learn more about RAMSR.

Early Learning Matters Week: How a billycart became an incredible lesson in play

“People will start to value play if we continue to highlight the learning that is happening.”

Creative Garden Arundel’s Kindergarten Teacher, Natasha Gregory, is an advocate for play and children’s curiosity.

“I like to focus on children knowing how to think and ask questions,” she said, “and to also be comfortable with not knowing the answer.”

“I want to know their opinions, to have discussions and collaborate with them to solve problems. All of this is possible through play.”

Natasha said this year’s Early Learning Matters Week theme, ‘Learning through Play’, provides all early childhood professionals with the platform to educate the community around its value.

“We changed our family’s perceptions around play through our classroom billycart building project by consistently pointing out the growth in knowledge and skills that was happening,” said Ms Gregory.

“A child in my classroom mentioned they’d like to build a billycart, and so months of conversations, collaborative design and construction ensued.

Kindergarten teacher uses a billycart as an incredible lesson in play

“We used digital technology to research what a billycart was and to vote on a collaborative design.

“The physical visualisation of our construction highlighted a surprising gap in the children’s understanding – how do the elements of a billycart actually join together?

“So, we took it back to basics and spent a few days building cars with Lego and concentrated on conversations and promoting self-analysis whereby children were asked about how they constructed their cars.

“After this learning opportunity, the dots were joined, and we were back on track.

“We wanted the children to be actively involved in building the billycart, so we then turned our attention to developing their woodworking skills, supporting this learning with conversations around safety.

“A father then hosted the billycart building day on our verandah and children were given free choice to participate in the building as much or as little as they wanted.

“The final touches like paint colour were then voted on, with our Educators using that opportunity to speak about the elements, and how paint will protect and preserve our billycart.”

The billycart became a major room feature and learning resource in the classroom after the project concluded.

“Play, particularly imaginative play, is how children make sense of their world,” she said, “which is why play is the vehicle WE need to use to help children make sense of the world.”

Creative Garden is part of G8 Education, one of Australia’s largest early learning providers, dedicated to its purpose of creating the foundations for learning for life.

G8 Education’s Head of Early Learning and Education Ali Evans said play is at the core of the provider’s Education Strategy.

“We create environments where play supports children to explore and understand their worlds with curiosity, creativity, confidence and kindness,” said Ms Evans.

G8 Education CEO announces new Education Strategy at ECA National Conference

G8 Education’s CEO Gary Carroll has announced the national provider will soon be launching the next phase of its Education Strategy during an introductory speech at the ECA National Conference last week.

Due for implementation in 2023 the strategy will include a strong focus on children’s learning, development, health and wellbeing.

“At G8 we are collaborating with team, children and families to provide educational programs which support children to explore their worlds with curiosity, creativity, confidence and kindness,” said Mr Carroll while introducing international guest speaker Dr Laura Jana’s keynote address at the ECA Conference.

G8 Education CEO Gary Carroll

“I am excited to share that we will soon be launching the next phase of our Education Strategy which continues our focus on nurturing children’s independent and curious minds, and championing health and wellbeing in an ever-changing 21st century world.”

The Education Strategy will be the first since Ali Evans was appointed to G8 Education’s executive team as Head of Learning and Education in February this year.

“It has been a pleasure leading our Education team over the past nine months, and I am very much looking forward to sharing the next evolution of our Education Strategy,” said Ms Evans.

“We are committed to providing high-quality teaching and learning to ensure we are delivering the best possible outcomes for our children and families.

“Our Education Strategy will build upon the great work that has already been implemented and show how playful innovation can enhance children’s learning outcomes.”

G8 Education was the gold sponsor for this year’s ECA Conference.

“G8 Education is pleased to be able to support such an important event for our sector as we embrace and connect with the conference theme, Passion to Power our future profession, and position our sector as thought leaders and early childhood advocates,” Mr Carroll said.

“At a time when our sector is facing unprecedented workforce shortages it has never been more important to bring people together to inspire, learn and align in our response to these challenges.”

Daniel Morcombe Foundation congratulates G8 Education on Child Safety Award

Bruce and Denise Morcombe have visited one of G8 Education’s early learning centres on the Sunshine Coast just days after the provider was awarded Queensland Child Protection Week – Child Safe Organisation for 2022.

The visit to Community Kids Yandina 1 coincided with Child Protection Week, and saw the Morcombe Foundation’s Educational Resource Manager, Bianca Davis, address families on the importance of ‘talking early’ about personal safety with children.

“Parents and carers need to be able to have brave conversations with their children” said Denise Morcombe OAM.

“They need to talk to them about their body parts, teach their kids the proper names for their body parts, talk to them about how they feel, teach them to recognize unsafe situations, talk to them about how to react, teach them to say no, run, scream tell someone, teach them that they have the right to be safe.

“By normalizing topics often considered embarrassing builds confidence and provides a resilience to lock predators out, reducing their risk of harm.”

An educator and child at a child care centre

Community Kids is part of the G8 Education network, one of Australia’s largest early learning providers dedicated to its purpose of creating the foundations for learning for life.

Community Kids Yandina 1 Centre Manager Simone Binnerts said child safety is their highest priority at the centre.

“We prioritise creating secure, child-friendly and engaging environments where our children are respected and valued,” she said.

“Our centre, like every G8 Education centre, has a Child Protection Champion who works to embed best practice, and encourage our teams to participate in on-going training.

“Child safety is of course critical to the wellbeing of each child and we also know that children must feel safe and secure so they can flourish and learn.

“The Foundation’s presentation was incredibly informative, and I am sure many of our families, educators and teachers will take away some valuable strategies and resources.”

Bruce and Denise said they were honoured to join the centre’s event, recognising the educators, teachers and support team for the work they are doing to keep children safe.

“Congratulations on being awarded Child Safe Organisation for 2022, it is very well deserved. We know you would have worked hard to obtain this award,” said Bruce Morcombe OAM.

G8 Education’s Child Protection Manager, Sophie Wilkie said she was honoured to receive the award on behalf of the organisation, but noted the work doesn’t stop here.

“Our purpose is to create the foundations for learning for life and that extends to the classroom and daily life,” she said.

“We will continue to create safe and secure spaces every day that allow our children to have their voices heard”.

To learn more about the Daniel Morcombe Foundation, or their ‘Talk Early’ initiative visit the website.

If you’d like to find out more about Community Kids Yandina 1, visit the website, book a tour or call 1800 411 604.