Menu
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



Woman killed in horror highway crash near Gympie

Scene of the crash at Long Flat.

A woman has lost her life in a tragic crash near Gympie

Car on roof after crash at roundabout

ROLLOVER: An elderly couple are being treated by paramedics are rolling their car down an embankment.

The crash happened just before 11.15am

Police sink inflatable pool refund scam

In the Bundaberg Magistrates Court, Mayes pleaded guilty to one count of fraud.

Bundy man busted for returns

Local Partners

Footballer's wife has surrogate child, as joy turns to tragedy

JESSICA Brockie, wife of All Whites striker Jeremy Brockie, just gave birth to her friend Bec’s baby. Tragically, Bec will never get to meet her son.

Ford Mustang Bullitt’s jaw-dropping sale tag

Ford’s 2018 Mustang Bullitt is living up to the hype. Picture: AFP

Massive price paid for first 2018 Ford Mustang Bullitt.

Car guru questions Tesla’s future

Former General Motors vice chairman, Bob Lutz, has cast doubt on the future prospects of electric car maker Tesla amid mounting financial losses. Picture: Supplied.

Is the electric car maker on borrowed time?

The great avocado shortage of 2018

Bad news for brunch lovers as avocado supplies dwindle.

Australia has plunged into the Great Avocado Depression of 2018

Nigella Lawson reveals what she hates most about food

Nigella Lawson

Nigella there's something about food she still cannot stand

Empowering Trans people a 'slow slog'

Phylesha Brown-Acton, director of F'INE, is sick of transpeople being referred to as a medical liability.

How has life changed for Trans folk in the last ten years?

Cruise went from joy to hell in 24 hours

Riley Adams was on a cruise with his family. Picture: Jason and Jodi Adams/GoFundMe

It all started with a headache