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Early childhood education a key focus for Southern Cross University


Brigid Veale
25 October 2007
Southern Cross University will be working collaboratively with the North Coast Institute of TAFE and local service providers to develop Coffs Harbour and the North Coast region as a centre for excellence in early childhood education and research.

The University has introduced a new Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood) degree, being offered at the Coffs Harbour campus from next year, and is seeking to establish collaborative projects with childcare centres and other education providers in the community.

Associate Professor Anne Graham, the University’s Head of the School of Education, said there was now increasing recognition of the importance of the early years in a child’s life. This would also be addressed at a public symposium, ‘What matters in early childhood: a conversation with leading national and international experts’ being hosted by the University in Lismore on Monday, October 29.

“There is an increasing emphasis on improving the status, qualifications and expertise of people working in early childhood. Our new course will provide graduates with the skills and experience to work effectively with children from birth to eight years in a range of childcare settings, pre-schools and the early years of primary school,” Professor Graham said.

“We are very excited about the addition of early childhood to the suite of education programs at Coffs Harbour and we see the potential for Coffs Harbour to become a centre for excellence in early childhood education.”

Professor Graham said the central thread of the new course was child-focussed practice, with a strong emphasis on working effectively with children from less advantaged backgrounds, particularly Indigenous children.

She said the University, through its Centre for Children and Young People, would also be undertaking research in the field of early childhood education and providing opportunities for professional development for people already working in the field.

A key event will be the symposium on Monday, which brings to the region a range of national and international speakers to discuss key issues in early childhood education and care. Sessions will focus on current challenges and opportunities for service providers and practitioners, policy makers and researchers as they endeavour to lead and promote quality care and education in the early years.

“The Centre for Children and Young People has received many requests in recent years for the University to better service the region with accredited courses and professional development in early childhood,” Professor Graham said.

“As we have moved ahead with the development of our new course we have identified a range of expertise around the country and we wanted to share that with people in this region.”

Applications for the Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood) are open. For information visit or phone 1800 626 481. Information about the early childhood seminar is available at or phone Wendy Britt on 66203605.

Photo: Associate Professor Anne Graham.