Community & Engagement Lead
Building communities in the ECE sector with my learnings as an early childhood educator and a customer support coordinator with Xplor Childhood & Education since 2021.
Canberra hosted the annual Early Childhood Australia (ECA) conference from the 6th to the 8th of October at the National Convention Centre. This was the first time in several years that the conference was held in person after being held online due to COVID. With the theme “Passion to power: Our future profession,” the conference aimed to reflect on how far the sector has come, from the visionary and passionate women of the 1920s to the competent and qualified educators of today.
It was also an opportunity to consider how early childhood professionals can become thought leaders and power brokers in the sector. Early Childhood Australia has served as a voice for young children since 1938. It represents the interests of young children, their families and early childhood professionals. The annual conference emphasized ECA’s vision of ensuring that every young child thrives and learns.
Over 1,600 delegates attended the conference in person and another 600 virtually, with over 100 workshops and breakout sessions held throughout the week. Attendees were treated to talks by respected leaders in the ECEC sector, such as Dr Melinda Miller, Colin Slattery, Anthony Semann & Pippa Procter, and Dr Michele Peden & Bridy Garnon. There was also a welcome address from the Hon Jason Clare MP, Federal Minister for Education, and keynote addresses from Dylan Alcott AO and Dr Laura Jana.
Among the highlights of the conference was the well-received address by The Hon Julia Gillard AC and Catherine Liddle, CEO of SNAICC – National Voice for our Children. As part of their conversation, the two discussed the importance of investing in early childhood education and care, gender equality, and closing the gap. In addition, part of the program included four researchers and early childhood advocates being recognized for their contributions to the profession and early childhood education sector.
The HESTA Early Childhood Education & Care Awards have also long been associated with the ECA conference. Educators play a vital role in helping young Australians succeed, and this awards night celebrates and acknowledges that role. Awards were given in three categories: Advancing Pedagogy & Practice, Outstanding Organization, and Individual Leadership. The Xplor team congratulates all finalists and winners.
As a leading conference in early childhood education, the ECA conference provided an excellent opportunity to showcase both the QikKids and Xplor brands in the co-branded booth. For the first time since the merger, both brands were represented in a single booth, introducing the broader market to the Xplor Childcare & Education brand, as well as our leading ECEC products, QikKids, Office, Playground, Home and MyWaitlist.
Matt Varley, General Manager, attended the conference on Thursday, stating that it was “Great to be back in-person in Canberra, connecting with customers, people who are looking to move to new software like QikKids and Xplor and connecting with people in the sector was fantastic.” With the Xplor and QikKids custom-built booth, we were able to create a hub where delegates and other exhibitors could interact freely. This was another successful conference hosted by Early Childhood Australia. The QikKids team is already looking forward to next year’s conference, which will be held in Adelaide from October 4th to 7th, 2023.