Early Childhood Australia Afternoon Tea
Minister for Education, Minister for Industrial Relations and Minister for Racing, the Honourable Grace Grace MP; Early Childhood Australia National President, Mr Trevor Brown; Queensland Branch Chair, Ms Kirsten Holland and CEO, Ms Samantha Page; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen.
I begin by acknowledging the Traditional Owners of the lands around Brisbane, the Turrbal and Jagera people, and pay my respects to Elders past, present and emerging, and to any First Nations people here today.
I am delighted to welcome you this afternoon to congratulate the Early Childhood Australia Queensland Branch—and to thank all of you—for supporting this year’s amazing Under Eights Week event1, which brought the joy and benefits of “play” to young Queenslanders across our State.
As American Essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “It is a happy talent to know how to play”—in other words, the skills and abilities learned through the act of playing during early childhood, will have a profound impact on people throughout their entire lives.
I know everyone in this room is well aware that relaxed downtime, not only contributes to a young child’s core mental and physical development, but also teaches more nuanced behaviours like sharing and independence, and encourages imagination, creativity, and the capacity to solve problems.
Yet for some of our youngest and most vulnerable Queenslanders, challenges and obstacles can limit their access and opportunities to play and learn, and this is where Early Childhood Australia makes such a significant contribution.
For 85 years2, the organisation has been speaking up for those children whose voices are too small to be heard, and has fearlessly championed the many issues that can affect their overall wellbeing.
In sharing resources and information right across the sector, and providing parents with constructive tools, the organisation works so effectively within the whole community, harnessing the strength of a united and cohesive approach that extends its positive influence much further.
These valuable connections were highlighted in this year’s Under Eights Week Theme—“PLAY—You, Me & Our Communities”, because the responsibility falls on all of us— in our schools, workplaces and homes—to help remove the barriers that limit any child’s ability to develop, learn and thrive.
Each of you—and the various groups and organisations you represent—are integral to ensuring the success of early childhood education programs in our State, and for protecting the interests of our youngest Queenslanders.
So, on behalf of all Queenslanders, and as proud Patron, I thank you for the vital work you are doing to build a better future for our children.
I now take this opportunity to present Early Childhood Australia Queensland Branch Chair, Ms Kirsten Holland, with a Certificate of Patronage, before I invite you to enjoy the hospitality of Government House. Thank you.