AEU Victoria calls on the Education Minister to treat early childhood services the same as schools.
On Tuesday, Premier Daniel Andrews announced that metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire would be entering a six week lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
That evening, members received an email from the Department of Education and Training stating that kindergartens and early learning centres will resume on Monday 13 July i.e. "business as usual".
This decision is incredibly disappointing in light of the fact that school staff have been granted five pupil-free days to plan for remote and online learning in the event that on-site teaching is not possible.
The AEU is calling on Education Minister James Merlino and DET to treat early childhood services equitably and extend the kindergarten holidays by an additional week.
We have written to the Minister to ask for five pupil-free days so that teachers and educators can plan for a likely return to dual delivery (that is, delivering programs both on-site and online).
This time will be vital if members are to adequately implement a high-quality educational program for Term 3.
The AEU is also calling for:
full parent fee relief for the six week lockdown period, as some parents may choose to withdraw their children from preschool, leaving centres financially vulnerable.
clarification of the current health advice from the Victorian Chief Health Officer (CHO) in respect of early childhood education and care, and why different approaches are taken towards children in kindergarten programs and the early years of school
an outline of measures that our members should take to ensure health and safety, in situations where implementing the CHO’s advice is not practicable or possible.