As many early childhood educators took industrial action to demand the better pay and working conditions, the Cowra Early Childhood Services (CECS) management team took the initiative to pay above award wages to all permanent educators and staff.
Carinya’s Director, Susan Callaghan, said that 37 per cent of early childhood educators were leaving the sector each year as they can’t afford to stay.
“I am proud to be a leader in an organisation that respects and values the dedicated and knowledgeable professionals within it,” she said.
“Our management committee has trusted and supported its management team with this wages proposal, such a positive step forward for our community and its children.
“The service will continue to lobby the government to fund wage increases as some services within CECS have been forced to pass the increase onto families.
“We are lucky we are a not for profit, community based service that is able to reinvest funds back into children’s programs, including employment of quality educators,” she said.
Treasurer of the CECS Management Committee and one of the service’s parents, Peter Launders, said he was amazed at how passionate and dedicated early and middle childhood educators at CECS were.
“They love their jobs, but they work incredibly hard for the remuneration they receive,” he said.
“I don't think people realise just how important early years of learning are, in preparing our children to learn and do well at school.
“We need to show our early childhood educators that we value them and the work they do for our community and for our children,” he said.
Mr Launders said paying above award wages was logical in making them the “employer of choice” in early and middle childhood care and education in Cowra.
“As a management committee, we are glad we are able to show some practical and meaningful support to our educators,” he said.
“We urge the government to finally show similar support by listening and paying these dedicated educators what they and our children deserve.”
CECS Mobile Co-ordinator, Penny Smith, said this was just the beginning for the industry.
“Pay increases and parity for our early childhood teachers is important in attracting and retaining quality educators,” she said.
“But it is also about gaining the community’s respect for the professional role these educators play in the lives of children and families.
“Gaining government funding will take the pressure off families that are currently paying for this,” she said.