Vacancy Care's April Newsletter

April 2021


Hello and welcome to our April newsletter! How is it already April? The year is flying by! 

Our feature article this month is one close to our hearts and something that has been at the forefront of the minds of early childhood educators and services for many years - culture and diversity within an early childhood setting. While we work tirelessly in the background to ensure this vital area is recognised and appreciated, we believe families play a significant role in ensuring the concepts of culture and diversity are embedded at home and within the community too. How? Let’s look at this a bit closer. 


Topic of the month - Embedding culture and diversity into early learning

Young children are naturally curious about differences. They make sense of their world by questioning things and sorting the answers - as they understand them - into categories. Examples of this include whether another child has the same or different skin colour as them. Is their hair the same? Are their clothes different? Do they speak the same way or not?

This awareness of differences can also mean a young child can be sensitive to racism and prejudice, which can impact them, in particular, their social and emotional wellbeing and relationships they form. Ideas surrounding diversity are influenced by what a child sees and hears, so it’s our job as parents and educators to help young children understand that difference is not a negative thing. This in turn, helps them feel good about themselves and how they fit into the world. 


Whilst studying a qualification in early childhood education, all Aussie educators cover an area of study that focuses on culture and cultural diversity. Especially fitting for a country such as ours, with a melting-pot of races all coexisting together. The intention is that educators keep, at the forefront of their minds, the idea of respecting and celebrating the similarities and differences of all humans, no matter what their background is. By default, this then also becomes the natural way of thinking for the children in their care.

Belonging, Being & Becoming

Belonging, Being & Becoming is our country’s framework for early years education (known to educator’s as the EYLF or Early Years Learning Framework). There isn’t an early years educator in Australia who doesn’t follow this guide for educating our littles. Its purpose is to ensure that education for our youngest minds is unified across the country, whether you reside on the coast, in the mountains or deep in the outback. It’s not a step-by-step curriculum. There is plenty of room for flexibility and creativity - it’s more like a pathway to ensure significant aspects are covered, and as is indicated by the name, ensuring children feel they belong is an important focus. This sense of belonging is crucial to a child’s identity and self-worth. The first step along their path to becoming a strong, independent and confident adult. A valuable member of society in our country’s future.


During 2020, the Black Lives Matter campaign which originated in the USA had repercussions across the world. Especially poignant in Australia amongst our Indigenous communities, many of whom made a connection between the goings-on in the States and their own treatment here on home soil. Australia is on the right trajectory certainly, with much of today’s youth supporting hot topics such as a date change for Australia Day celebrations (known more controversially these days as Invasion Day). But as was highlighted in the Black Lives Matter campaign, it’s not enough. We still have a long way to go and will likely need the youth of our country to take it to the next level - a level that older generations were never able to reach. Which is why the acceptance and recognition of all cultures is such an important topic to embed in Aussie children from their earliest years. Luckily, most Australian educators recognise and support this.

Instilling passion

Education is the key, and there is a flow-on effect to be had from passion-instilling education - especially in such an important area as cultural diversity. Whether the children in care have Vietnamese or African heritage, whether they hail from the Torres Strait islands or can trace their Anglo Saxon lineage back many generations, should make no difference to Australian educators. Their skill lies in the way they incorporate multiple cultures into their teaching. Making differences and similarities of each culture both interesting and also a part of daily life. In an ideal world, as our children grow they’ll be naturally accepting of all cultures right through to adulthood. They’ll have diverse friendships and relationships.They’ll not bat an eyelid at different races, skin colour or ways of life. This begins with the education of our educators, who then instil this into the hearts and minds of our children. 

Dr Red Ruby Scarlett is a prime example of one who instils passion in others. Respected, with over 25 years as an early childhood teacher-researcher, consultant, academic and activist. Red is devoted to creative, imaginative and inclusive practices, focusing on the promotion of dignity and integrity within the early childhood industry. She inspires educators, educators-in-training, and the general public, speaking about important topics like cultural diversity


Sure, she can be controversial. Her campaign to change ‘Father’s Day’ to ‘Special Person’s Day’ didn’t go down well with everyone. But Educators know from personal experience that the hard topics can also be the most important and worthy of pursuing. A child without a father figure in their life can be the one who suffers most when celebrating a holiday as specific as Father’s Day. Therefore educators can often comprehend more deeply than others the reasoning behind the action. Fighting for inclusion amongst all is important.

Not all passion-instilling educators are known far and wide. Every day in early childhood services across Australia, directors and educators alike achieve this very task. They lead teams, inspire each other and, most importantly, the children in their care. Everything from small touches you may not even notice - Indigenous artwork on the centre’s walls, Chinese lanterns hanging over the art tables, traditional Indian patterned cushions placed on the lounges in the foyer. Even the word “welcome” printed in multiple languages and displayed proudly in the service. All of these touches are designed to foster an atmosphere of inclusivity, indicating to families of every culture that they are welcome at the service. Larger efforts might include multicultural cuisine offered in the children’s lunch menu, families invited to speak to the children about their country of origin, or celebrations of different cultures regularly featured in the curriculum. 


Tokenistic efforts are best avoided. Like celebrating NAIDOC week, but not showing the same level of commitment to Indigenous culture throughout the year. Thankfully, the incredible efforts of most early childhood education services to embed culture into their curriculum, and therefore into the daily lives of the children in their care, is clearly a rock solid commitment. Not a tokenistic one. Make no mistake, the act of ensuring you’re inclusive to all cultures takes conviction and dedication. It’s a constant learning curve that requires continued education and personal development for educators and services alike. Some cultures find direct eye contact rude, while others don’t feel comfortable being touched. Indigeneous communities closely involve their elders in family life and decision making, which is not always a priority in other cultures. All of this knowledge - and much more - takes enormous commitment. So if you notice your child’s service doing any of this, let them know of your appreciation. And if they make a mistake, it’s often unintentional. So politely educate them. This way they’ll have the opportunity to correct themselves. Early childhood services want strong relationships with the children and families in their care, but keep in mind they are likely learning too, and any contribution made by a family enriches the lives of everyone in the service - especially the children.

Supporting inclusion and diversity

Diversity Kids is a multicultural consultancy program that works primarily with education & care services to support cultural inclusion & inclusive practices in education. The philosophy that underpins their work is the belief that each child is a cultural being, which plays a key role in their sense of belonging and inclusion and ultimately, in who they become.

While climates such as the one surrounding the Black Lives Matter campaign provide opportunities for biases to surface in children, at the same time, they offer the chance to speak to your child about race, racism and embracing diversity. Families can seize moments such as this, and use them to openly discuss, clarify and embrace culture, diversity, anti bias, kindness, respect and empathy with your child.

According to Diversity Kids, there are stages of awareness which begin to develop in children from a very young age that are worth recognising. 

Stages of Awareness Of Difference *3-4 year olds  (adapted from Roots & Wings, York S, 1992)

  • Refine their ability to notice differences amongst people

  • Can identify & match people according to physical characteristics

  • Learn adult labels for other races

  • Are susceptible to believing adult stereotypes

  • Mask fear of differences with avoidance, silliness

  • Show preference (or not) for mixing with other groups

  • Can make false associations and generalisations

This list provides a clear indication of just how much little brains can comprehend at just three to four years of age and this is only going to increase as they grow and develop. It’s simple. If you want a culturally diverse child, ensure you’re surrounding them with those offering positive attitudes and actions towards cultural diversity.

Diversity Kids regularly feature diversity & inclusion resources on their Facebook page, so follow along for some great ideas!


Resources to support inclusion and diversity? 

There are many inclusion & diversity resources available. Here are a few we recommend for home -


  • Books that teach children about diversity and culture -
    we like Mem Fox’s “Whoever you are” and Alexandra Penfold’s “All are welcome”

  • Art activities. Some examples include
    - Pet rocks with a twist. Mix different paint colours to create a variety of skin tones for your pets.
    - Display artworks from different cultures & a selection of art materials for your little one to attempt a similar piece. Use this as a discussion point about where the art is from.


  • Matching games, like “Memory” that open conversations about similarities and differences

  • If your child enjoys playing with dolls, seek out a variety of different dolls, representing different cultures, to include in their collection. 

  • Enjoy a podcast together. There are so many listening options for children out there. We love the 'Little Yarns' series from ABC kids. Promoting opportunities for young children to explore Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages from across Australia. Narrated by children for children, it doesn’t get any better!

  • Create collages of people from different cultures cut-out from magazines

  • Play international music from across the world for your child to experience

  • Make play dough using spices or herbs associated with destinations or cultures around the world. You could then include some figurines to enrich your child’s experience - like dough with earthy paprika and turmeric, mixed with African safari animals.

  • Use the internet to search up topics you’re unfamiliar with and then share this with your child. You can limit their exposure to digital mediums if you wish, by gaining the information yourself, then sharing it in alternate ways - like through discussion or art. But there’s an endless amount of child-friendly footage on every topic imaginable if you’re comfortable with your child watching, for example, a video about pandas in China. We recommend starting with something like YouTube Kids.

  • Encourage imaginative play with a cultural twist by including materials and dress-ups from other countries and cultures. Whether this is more elaborate, like a kimono from Japan, or very simple resources like a cardboard box for a boat, some material to represent an ocean and sticks to “fish” with. 

Respect is key 

In a nutshell, it all comes down to respect. Respect for all cultures, ways of living, and races. Respect for children and families. Respect for positive, open-minded education that focuses on inclusion being the essential element. Respect is key for cultural diversity to thrive unabashedly and unapologetically in all future generations. Let it start with us.



Childcare development

0-12 month development

Learning to see

Author: Anthony Stanich 

Parents have the privilege of witnessing their children’s senses develop. At birth, babies have an undeveloped visual system, but this develops rapidly in the first few years of life.

At birth babies can only see patterns of light and dark, however, they will begin to follow slow-moving objects and recognise facial expressions at around 4 months of age. Then, between the age of 4 and 6 months, a baby will enter the next visual development stage. This development is brought on by a child’s ability to turn his/her head.

During the first six months, a child is still learning how to control eye 


Refer to the original article to view the images and learn more about this potentially groundbreaking research. 


1-2 year development

Everything you need for a sick baby

Author: Sarah Bradley

One of the hardest parts of being a parent is dealing with your sick baby. All parents want to do is make their child feel better, but it is not that simple. 

First off, a baby cannot tell you what’s wrong, so there’s no way to know exactly what they need. And although you may think you know something that could make them feel better, many of the usual treatments aren’t safe for babies. 

Ultimately, the safest bet is to visit a doctor when your child is sick. However, items such as a baby-friendly thermometer, infant-safe pain relievers, a humidifier and mucus buster medicide can all help you care for an unwell child.


Refer to the original article to learn about the tools needed to care for your sick child.

2-3 year development

Camping with toddlers, what  you should know

Author: Drishti Sethi

The first camping trip will be an exciting and memorable adventure. In our house, the anticipation builds for weeks before we set out into the wilderness. The peace and tranquillity that comes with camping provide the perfect setting for a weekend of bonding. 

Simply relax in the great outdoors… 

Unfortunately, it is not that simple. Camping takes a fair amount of preparation, especially when you are bringing your little ones. After making sure you pack everything you need, you will need to set up camp and prepare something to eat. And this is all before you have started having fun.


Read on for insight on how to camp with toddlers.

3-4 year development

Using coloured pencils - Tips and tricks for kids

Author: Aarohi Achwal

Coloured pencils are a staple seen in most preschooler pencil cases. They are incredibly dynamic and convenient modes of drawing and colouring. No mess, no preparation, just fantastically bright colours.

First off, you need to select the correct type of coloured pencil. While oil-based coloured pencils are popular because they cause less debris or wax bloom, wax-based coloured pencils are easier to blend. On the other hand, watercolour pencils can be activated with liquid.

Once you have your coloured pencils, select suitable paper and make sure the pencils are sharp. Simple as that, you are ready to go.


Read on here for an in-depth look at coloured pencils.

4-5 year development

Should you choose to be a tiger parent?

Author: Gauri Ratnam

Tiger parenting aims to create successful children. A tiger parent is strict and demanding, using harsh methods to control children and push them towards success, usually academically. 

Tiger moms and dads have a strong belief that strict measures are needed to make their children tough, confident, successful, and prepare them for the future. Tiger Woods is a famous tiger parent success story.

However, this parenting method is also associated with drawbacks. Children raised by tiger parents often feel overburdened and pressurised, fear making mistakes, and suffer from stifled creativity.


Refer to the original article to fully understand tiger parenting.

Craft Corner

Origami, Easter Bunny bookmarks

These cute bookmarks are guaranteed hits.  Kids love making them and you can even use them as Easter basket fillers. These basic origami corner bookmarks are super easy to fold, fun to decorate and could even encourage reading.


Read on for further instructions.

Stick Carrots

Create carrots, also known as Easter Bunny bait around this time of year, from craft sticks. This craft is relatively easy and will help get your house in the Easter spirit. Furthermore, by us popsicle sticks for the base and newspaper for the leaves, your carrot can be made from 100% recyclable material.


Detailed instructions provided here.

How to Make Clothespin Bunnies

These clothespin bunnies are amazingly cute and equally easy to craft, making this craft perfect for younger children or those with shorter attention spans. Simply remove the spring from a wooden clothes peg and glue the two pieces of timber together before painting and decoratign your bunny. 


Follow these steps to create your very own clothespin bunny

Pom pom chicks for Easter

These cute fluffy chicks are relatively easy to make but will require adult supervision, specifically for the hot-glue portion of the build. Before you start, make sure you have yellow yarn, googly eyes, orange felt, scissors, and hot glue. 


Refer to the original article for exact directions