Teacher with a group of preschool children in a nursery. The children are sitting on the floor and listening teacher. Learning letters. In the background we can see a shelf with some, toys, black board and books. View from behind.
Teacher with a group of preschool children in a nursery. The children are sitting on the floor and listening teacher. Learning letters. In the background we can see a shelf with some, toys, black board and books. View from behind.

Childcare changes set to impact Northern Rivers

THE Northern Rivers early education scene could be set for more changes after the Federal Government announced changes for the early education providers.

The government will stop it's free childcare scheme on July 12 while JobKeeper payments for workers in the sector will also end in July.

There is a fear that as a result of the changes, parents may seek to move their child out of early education.

"I think what did happen is some people did jump in and they've taken on positions in the service but we are concerned that some of those will leave once the free childcare ends so that will be a drop in our educators' income," Mrs Jane Isenhood, CEO of Northern Rivers Children's Services, said.

However, the government is applying some financial incentives in lieu of the previous benefits.

"The Government is putting in some incentives which will help, they are going to be providing assistance to families with low incomes so that may help keep children enrolled with us."

"The way we see it is we will still get the CCS (Child Care Subsidy) and parents can access a higher amount of childcare which will help and allow them to have more time in care and we will get a transitional payment to help top up any educators who are falling below."

These changes have come without warning to those in the sector according to Mrs Isenhood and created a stressful situation for workers.

"It put a lot of pressure on educators' families and now they're saying their JobKeeper will go till the end of July but everyone else's JobKeeper will go until the end of September so again the childcare industry seems to be missing out," Mrs Isenhood said.

Di Nailon, a lecturer in childhood education from the University of Tasmania, said that early education was crucial for development.

"There's a lot of social learning, social skills and developing their language skills because they have the opportunity to talk and develop ideas with both adults and other children which I would say is one of the main important areas," Ms Nailon said.

Mrs Isenhood said she hopes the wider public recognises the efforts of educators.

"I'd like recognition of the fact these educators have struggled and they need a medal, they've continued to provide childcare and provide education under a difficult financial and stressful situation," Mrs Isenhood said.


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