Aussie Childcare Network is an online resource that contains education materials for early childhood professionals, parents and students who are working towards an early childhood qualification within Australia. What’s on there exactly? What are the benefits? Are there any negatives? What’s my take on it? Read on..
What is the Aussie Childcare Network?
The Aussie Childcare Network is a website that was developed in 2009 and is a registered Australian private company. This site was born out of an identified need for a platform dedicated to childcare educators and students where they could support each other by sharing knowledge and resources across Australia and beyond.
Support for Members
Aussie Childcare Network members are able to access a wide range of articles, activities, printable resources and templates that relate to childcare and are aimed at children from birth to 12 years old. The site provides useful opportunities for parents and educators to connect with others through a range of forums and to become a part of their online community. Through this community, people are able to share their knowledge and learn from each other to grow understandings of child development, parenting practices and early learning. You can check out the Aussie Childcare Network forums that are available to access here: Forum (aussiechildcarenetwork.com.au)
Support for Students
Aussie Childcare Network provides a range of support services for students who are studying within the field of early childhood education and care. In addition to providing information about courses, they also provide advice in relation to work placements. Their goal is to help students through to the completion of their qualification and to continue on supporting their career afterwards as early childhood professionals. The following link will take you to a list of informative articles on the Aussie Childcare Network site that specifically target students studying in the field of early childhood education and care. Student Articles – Aussie Childcare Network.
When clicking on the ‘articles’ tab within the Aussie Childcare Network site, you will find an extensive catalogue of content that covers a wide range of topics related to early childhood education, child development, learning and child care. The articles are written with a focus on current research and provide information focused on building knowledge for parents, educators and early childhood students. There is a wide array of articles related to pregnancy and parenting as well as many ‘how to’ guides for parents, educators and students. The Aussie Childcare Network articles page can be located here: Articles – Aussie Childcare Network.
Aussie Childcare Network’s Appsessment App
The use of apps within childcare and education settings has become very widespread in recent years. Apps can help busy parents stay up to date with childcare centre events, and they can help parents to feel connected to their child and their learning throughout the day. Aussie Childcare Network have developed their own app which is called Appsessment. This app includes a private messaging function for supporting communication with families, and parents are able to receive reminders and newsletters direct to their devices which is certainly an efficient way of information sharing and is also better for the environment than paper-copy notes and newsletters.
For educators, the Appsessment app can be used to record attendance and routine times such as sleeping or toileting and can generate reports and forms to send out to parents. It also provides a platform for documenting children’s learning and it links to the relevant curriculum documents within Australia, such as the Early Years Learning Framework and My Time, Our Place resource.
Online reviews of Appsessment seem to be very positive and state that the app is user friendly and convenient. Based on these reviews, I believe that the Appsessment app might be a strong feature of the Aussie Childcare Network platform. For further information about the app, including pricing, check out the following link: Appsessment – Childcare App.
Printables, worksheets and templates
It is now widely known that children learn best through play. This view is backed up by strong research relating to how children develop, learn and grow. In fact, there is strong research that shows that trying to formalise education in the early years through providing children with structured learning of narrow concepts through the use of worksheets and ‘cut and paste’ type craft activities has negative impacts on children later on in their schooling journey.
When children are playing, they are learning so many important things that will help them to be effective lifelong learners. Learning how to communicate, negotiate, problem solve, show resilience and to think creatively are all dispositions for learning that are far more important than tracing activities or colouring in sheets.
Aussie Childcare Network have a very large range of printable work sheets, colouring sheets and craft templates available on their website. These templates include worksheets related to colours, numbers, shapes and the alphabet as well as cutting exercises and flashcards. Whilst I am supportive of a platform where educators can share their resources, using templates such as these are no longer considered good practice within an early learning day care program or preschool. The site would be significantly strengthened by promoting learning experiences that are play-based, child-led and open-ended. When we view children as capable and competent learners from the start – the education possibilities are endless and the need for educator-led narrow content-based activities have no place in a rich early learning environment. To find out more about why worksheets are not suitable for young children, check out the following article: 7 Reasons Worksheets are Damaging Your Preschool Child’s Development – Empowered Parents
My biggest concern with the promotion of worksheets and activity templates on the Aussie Childcare Network site is the impression this might give to those educators who are studying. They might see these resources as helpful for their learning, however these methods of educating young children are out-dated and ineffective.
Aussie Childcare Network Review Summary
Aussie Childcare Network provides a unique resource for parents, educators and early childhood students to connect, interact and learn. The platform has an uplifting feel to it which is inviting and engaging and the Appsessment app seems to be a particularly useful feature for subscription members. Whilst some of the website content could be refreshed to align with modern perspectives of early years teaching and learning, I believe it is certainly an innovative concept addressing a need within the early childhood education and care industry.