What is the Early Education Leaders Peer Network?

The NSW Department of Education Early Childhood Education Directorate has initiated the creation of a new Early Education Leaders Peer Network for professionals in the early childhood education sector.

As the peak body for early education and care in NSW, Community Early Learning Australia (CELA) has been engaged to lead the initiative.

The Early Education Leaders Peer Network is:

  • A community of practice connecting a group of people who share a concern or a passion and helping them to learn and enhance practice together
  • A place to support leaders with peer connections, topic forums, information sessions and downloadable resources to undertake their role and improve their practice
  • An independent network for educators in service based leadership roles such as Directors and Educational Leaders and Approved Providers, which will be governed by a group of selected network Champions.

The network launched in April 2021 and will run to June 2021 as a pilot.

Why has the peer network been created?

We know that early childhood professionals are dedicated to the future of Australia’s children, often working long hours in sometimes stressful situations to educate and care for Australia’s most precious citizens.  

Many early educators feel isolated. Worse, some are leaving the sector due to factors such as burnout, stress, and lack of support.  

Through research, early educators have told us that they need better support and an easier way to come together to solve problems and stay up to date with the latest thinking. This network is a place to draw on each other’s knowledge and feel connected, without being judged.  

Find out more by reading our Framework

Can I join the network?

The network is designed for NSW early education leaders including Directors, Educational Leaders and Approved Providers.

Members can come from any service including long day care, mobile, family day care, private, community, council run, or for-profit services.

You can apply to join here.

Is there a cost to join?

No, the network is free.

How long will the network remain active?

During June and July 2021 CELA, the Champions and the Department of Education will review the network to assess how effective it has been for members.

This will involve input from members.

On the assumption it has been effective for, and valuable to, members, the network will continue.

Are applications open for Champions?

Unfortunately no, the date for expressions of interest to be a Champion has passed.

How were the Champions chosen?

Between December 2020 and January 2021, we opened applications for the Champion roles.

Individuals submitted an expression of interest detailing their areas of interest, expertise, and motivation for becoming a Champion.

In February 2021 shortlisted applicants were interviewed by the Department of Education Early Childhood Education directorate and Community Early Learning Australia (CELA), and three Champions were chosen for their for their range of areas of expertise, knowledge, and governance experience.

Are the Champions paid for their role?

No. The Champions are volunteering their time.

What role do the Champions take in the network?

The Champions represent different parts of the early childhood education sector. They are education leaders.

Their role is to liaise with members to ensure the network meets members’ needs and they will design the events and information sessions based on members’ needs.

Will there be future opportunities to volunteer as a Champion?

Following the review of this network in July 2021, a decision will be made about the number of Champions and the date for an intake of the next panel of Champions.

All members will receive an email with an update about the review findings.

What are the rules for participating in the network?

The only requirement of members of the network is that members follow the Code of Conduct to ensure that this is a safe learning and sharing space for each other.

I have a complaint about the network, who can I contact?

In the first instance, please connect with one of the Champions. They will address and action all complaints.

If you are uncomfortable contacting a Champion, or if the complaint is about a Champion, please contact peernetwork@cela.org.au

Where can I find the resources?

There is a library of information available here. You need to be a member to access the information.

If you are not a member, you can join the network here.

I am interested in a subject that is not covered in the resource library, what can I do?

In the first instance, please check if any of the forum groups focuses on the topic you want to know about.

If not, please connect with one of the Champions. They will address your area of interest.

Can I nominate speakers for the mini-conference and information sessions?

Yes, we would love your input – please add it to the relevant thread in the forum. 

Can I nominate myself to speak at the mini-conference and information sessions?

Yes, please let us know your area of expertise and any experience you have presenting on your subject via the form on our Contact page or by emailing peernetwork@cela.org.au

I have feedback that I want to share with the Department of Education, can I do this via the network?

If you want to share feedback about the network, we will conduct a survey about the network in June 2021. We encourage you to complete the survey and provide your feedback.

If you have a complaint about the network, please connect with one of the Champions in the first instance. They will address and action all complaints.

If you are uncomfortable contacting a Champion, or if the complaint is about a Champion, please contact peernetwork@cela.org.au

This network is not intended as a channel to direct Department of Education policies or to lobby the Department. However, they respect individual feedback and use it as input to their thinking.

You can find contact details for the NSW Department of Education here

Early Education Leaders Peer Network has been funded through the NSW Department of Education Sector Development Program.