You may recall in the Cinderella story how the young scullery maid went off to the ball in a pumpkin magically turned into a golden coach. On the stroke of midnight the coach once again became a pumpkin rolling sadly and unnoticed down the royal driveway.
Today as I walked over the swampy summit my mind turned to this story as I thought of the recent events of this last week's budget announcements.
For a long time early childhood education was the scullery maid of the education system. For 10 short years it got to ride in the coach and go to the ball but since the budget of last May and now this budget the sector has once again been returned to scrubbing the flagstones and wishing it were a princess. Since May 2009 there have been eleven things taken away from early childhood and the latest news is a severe setback. Not only has our funding been cut but also there is no longer funding to employ all fully qualified teachers. Apparently there is no evidence to suggest that a full complement of qualified teachers makes a difference to children's learning.
I would beg to differ. I have seen the difference.
What is to be done?
I guess if centres like ours wish to retain our full staff of qualified teachers our fees will go up. We probably won't pass on the next round of salary increases in July as anticipated which will further widen the gap between our salaries and those even of kindergarten teachers. Worst case scenario will mean we will cut staffing which will increase teacher workload. Still we will work it out! people who work with little kids generally do it because they love it not because they get well paid for it or have great working conditions.
On a happier note - it was beautiful winterish day here today. Leaving pigeon flat at the top of the northern motorway around 9 this morning a group of us then walked across swampy summit and down the pineapple track to the edge of the Ross Creek reservoir. It took us 3 hours so I'm guessing it was about 10 or 12 kilometres. It was a lovely walk. I really enjoyed it. No matter what life is sweet.
here's to a sweet week . Marg