Early Signals First Reponses program developed for ECE teachers and assistants
Early Childhood Australia (ECA) has developed a new program providing resources and support to early childhood teachers and assistants to better recognise and respond to young children who have been exposed to family violence.
The Early Signals. First Responses program was developed by experts in the fields of domestic violence and trauma in children and combines face-to-face and online learning techniques including webinars, expert coaching and networking opportunities.
The program aims to help early childhood teachers and assistants gain the knowledge and skills needed to support young children, and where appropriate, safely and professionally refer families to specialist support agencies.
IEUA-QNT Senior Industrial Officer John Spriggs said that our union commends Early Childhood Australia for developing this resource.
“Teachers have a requirement to report suspected abuse,” John said.
“The employer should have processes and procedures to be used in such circumstances, including those that protect employees, both in relation to their safety and their privacy.
“If required, assistance is available through both the appropriate Central Governing Body and the Department of Education.”
This is especially critical during the COVID-19 Crisis, as domestic and family violence organisations are reporting a significant increase in calls for help.
Domestic and family violence is everybody’s business
50% of families affected by domestic violence have children in their immediate care.
Additionally, family and domestic violence is a leading cause of homelessness in children in Australia.
Early childhood teachers and assistants see many families every week so it is inevitable that they will work with families and children that have experienced or are experiencing domestic and family violence.
Children may exhibit behaviours stemming from trauma – such as separation anxiety or withdrawal – or show signs of physical and developmental delays.
Teachers and assistants may not be able to fix the immediate problem, but they can actively work to address the child’s experience of trauma following exposure to violence.
This makes it critical that teachers and assistants receive quality professional development and training.
If you or someone you know needs help, there are services you can contact:
Blue Knot Foundation (for adult survivors of childhood trauma) 1300 657 380
1800RESPECT (National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service) 1800 737 732