Lifestyle

OPINION: Childcare workers are underpaid, underrated

CRUCIAL ROLE: Many early childhood educators earn less than the average cleaner.
CRUCIAL ROLE: Many early childhood educators earn less than the average cleaner. Thinkstock

MORE than a thousand childcare professionals and early childhood educators around Australia stopped work early to protest their pay rates as part of International Women's Day.

Their rates of pay are appallingly low and challenge a standard of living, longevity in the profession and the ability to be granted a mortgage.

These staff are nurturing our children at a critical time in childhood, yet, they are paid less than cleaners.

They earn half the national average wage, just above the minimum wage - as little as $20 an hour.

These staff have at least a Certificate III.

How is it that the government is satisfied that a male metal fitter and machinist with a Certificate III qualification can earn $37.89, compared with the $20.61 earned by the Certificate III-qualified early years educator?

Many early childhood educators have diploma qualifications, and bachelor degrees. And, their pay is only marginally better.

The government needs to get serious about its commitment to early childhood education.

Yes, the government has recognised the need for educators to have increased skills and qualifications.

But, they are failing to give staff the professional recognition and the sort of pay and conditions that properly value the work they do and the benefit they bring to children's development.

Current scientific knowledge proves the early years are a critical time for brain development.

Google it and read the science for yourself.

Healthy early development depends on nurturing and dependable relationships with supportive and nurturing adults.

If your child is in a childcare setting, then the nurturing adults supporting your parenting role are childcare professionals.

Early experiences lay the foundation for learning in later life, affect the development of the brain and lay the foundation for intelligence, emotional health, and future well-being.

The emotional, social and physical development of a young child has a direct effect on overall development and on the adult they will become.

So, how can we afford to pay staff a pittance when so much is at stake?

It is time governments and communities recognised the significance of what this profession does.

Can we expect high-quality early education while handing out poverty wages for such valuable work?

Early childhood staff build strong, nurturing relationships with children which in turn are ensuring healthy development and well-being.

They are engaging in responsive care-giving interactions which bring to children a sense of belonging and a knowledge they are cared for, and can trust the world around them.

If we get it right in the early years, children thrive throughout school and their adult lives. I think that is worth a pay rise, don't you?

Topics:  careers dr ali black early childhood education education employment family life


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Woman killed, driver flees after Queensland crash

CODE BLACK: A Gladstone Hospital staff member has been threatened.

Police urge driver of Holden Commodore to come forward

Baby boy in Child Safety "backlog" before death

Child Safety was warned of potential danger three months prior

Adele fans to face hours of traffic chaos

Adele poses in the press room with the awards for album of the year for "25", song of the year for "Hello", record of the year for "Hello", best pop solo performance for "Hello", and best pop vocal album for "25" at the 59th annual Grammy Awards. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Adele in Brisbane: Public transport system nightmare at Gabba

Local Partners

Baden Bond: Parents front court for toddler's murder

The court was told the pair did not want to appear in court in person, but the magistrate insisted they be brought into the dock.

CMC Rocks is just the ticket for Eric Paslay

HAPPY TO BE HERE: American country singer Eric Paslay will play CMC Rocks 2017.

Country music singer is touring overseas for the first time.

Daredevils of Nitro Circus to thrill Lismore

Oakes Oval in Lismore will host the sell-out, worldwide phenomenon that is Nitro Circus Live during its 15-city Australian tour in April.

The (in)famous 55-foot high Nitro Giganta ramp is the centrepiece

CHOOSING LIFE: Emu Park veteran leads way out of PTSD

WINNING THE FIGHT: Andrea Josephs with her daughter Kyla (10) at the Emu Park Anzac Memorial ahead of her official Matilda Poppy launch this weekend.

Andrea Josephs will officially launch Matilda Poppy in new hometown

MKR recap: The one where they actually get around to cooking

IT’S been nine weeks and the team at MKR have positioned themselves as the best gossipy soap opera around. But this week they shock us by actually cooking.

Controlling groom flips on wife

Nadia panics about Anthony’s backflip on Married At First Sight.

MAFS’ Anthony has backflipped, and his wife is about to crack.

Married at First Sight's controversial groom laying low

MAFS’ Anthony chooses to stay with wife Nadia at their vow renewal.

Anthony in hiding after backlash over his MAFS appearance

Broadway musical Kinky Boots coming to Queensland

Callum Francis and Toby Francis in a scene from the musical Kinky Boots.

High-heeled musical hit struts into Brisbane from August 2017.

Justice League drops new trailer

The Justice League, from left, Ezra Miller, Henry Cavill, Ray Fisher, Gal Gadot, Ben Affleck and Jason Momoa.

Are fans going to be happy with DC's newest installment?

‘I don’t know if I’ll tour again’

ADELE has dropped a bombshell as she finished her New Zealand tour.

Game of Thrones creators hated the ice-melting stunt too

This stunt got an icy reception from fans.

The ice-melting stunt didn't go over well with fans

Luxury hotel expands $400m water park development

Developer to push on with second stage of massive new water park

Oceanside commercial opportunity in Sunshine Coast hot spot

Adjoining Kings Beach redevelopment sites "one of a kind''

Dalwood waterfall up for sale

Two people have died at Dalwood Falls, Ballina.

How would you like to own your very own waterfall?

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!