CQUniversity Australia

Engaging Indigenous people within Higher Ed

CQUniversity's Office of Indigenous Engagement recently hosted a visit from the Oodgeroo Unit of Queensland University of Technology (QUT), at Rockhampton Campus.

Professor Anita Lee Hong, Director of the Oodgeroo Unit, and Lone Pearce, Project Officer, met with Office of Indigenous Engagement staff to discuss employment issues and best practice models for engaging Indigenous people within the higher education sector, including governance matters.

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CQUni showcases childcare as career option for budding teachers 

CQUniversity has taken the lead on a Commonwealth Government commitment to place a teacher in every Australian childcare centre within three years, through an innovative training partnership with Noosaville Childcare Centre.

The Collaborative Learning Project has seen students in the Noosa Campus-based Bachelor of Learning Management (Early Childhood) program visit the neighbouring centre to train with staff and children through games, learning activities and group discussions.

PhotoID:11758, Budding teachers have been experiencing work in a childcare centre
Budding teachers have been experiencing work in a childcare centre

It follows a recent Federal Government $970 million pledge to provide kindergarten children with access to a university-trained teacher for at least 15 hours per week by 2013.

CQUniversity Bachelor of Learning Management (Early Childhood) program head Kathy Bauer said the Collaborative Learning Project would support the government's goals by introducing students to a potential career in the childcare industry.

"We aim to encourage student teachers to consider childcare as a career by giving them direct, practical experience at a childcare centre," Ms Bauer said.

"The training is supported by theoretical topics covered in CQUniversity's early childhood program and gives students an opportunity to make an informed decision about the direction they wish to pursue."

Ms Bauer said students had already shown interest in a future in childcare, while she also expected childcare staff to be introduced to the benefits of obtaining a degree.

"Having seen the staff's level of commitment and care, and how important their role is in early learning, our students have gained a real appreciation for their role in the childcare environment," Ms Bauer said.

"Students have broadened their understanding of the links between schools and the childcare industry.

"We may also see childcare centre staff considering up-skilling into a degree course after meeting our students, which will also support the Federal Government's goals."

Twenty-four year-old budding junior primary teacher Katie Chaseling, one of 59 first and second year students taking part in the program this term, said the practical experience would ensure she and her fellow students became more well-rounded teachers regardless of whether they went into childcare or taught in schools.

"The early years of a child's life are crucial and the development that occurs during this time has a huge impact on their later health, social interaction and learning," the Mt Coolum resident said.

"Therefore it is important to us as future teachers, to be able to witness first hand what occurs in an early-learning environment.

"Children don't enter their first years of school as a blank canvas, they come with a range of different experiences and I believe that these visits will help us to understand more about the environments in which they occur.

"As their first school teachers, understanding how the childcare centre environment fits into a child's educational path will enable us to build on their learning and foster smooth and steady educational and social development."

Ms Bauer said the lasting effect of the partnership would be to build respect and understanding between the two sectors.

"This learning project will help develop familiarity between childcare staff and the university environment, and our students and the childcare environment," Ms Bauer said.

"It will encourage professional dialogue between our sectors, as our students and centre staff discuss each other's roles, work together and share knowledge.

"The future will see us build the Collaborative Learning Project using the input of the centre's staff and directors and university students and staff; while I also plan to document our progress and use it as a possible research project."

The Bachelor of Learning Management (Early Childhood) is a four-year program, but can be fast-tracked for completion in three years.

Positions in the program are still available, for more information call CQUniversity on 13 27 86.