The Latest Childcare News In Australia (pt IV)

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The question of whether working fathers should spend more time raising their children has always sparked a huge debate in Australia. As of late, Work+ Family Roundtable Network has made contributions to the debate by indicating that working hours should be capped to 38 hour per week. This way, working mothers and fathers will be in a position to set aside time to raise their children alleviating the responsibility from the sole care provider. The network, which is made of 38 scholars, also suggested that part-time workers and causal workers should be allowed to work for at least four hours in a shift so that they can be freed to regularly spend time with their families. Moreover, it also demands that casual workers should be offered paid annual leave, domestic violence leave and paid palliative care leave.

In other news, the Labour party is planning to unveil a plan to make childcare more affordable in Australia. The targeted group is parents who earn between $60,000 and $80,000. The opposition leader, Bill Shorten has indicated that it may do away with the activity test that links subsidies to the amount of money parents earn and their level of training. Even so, the Education Minister, Simon Birmingham, asserted that Labour has not explained where they would get the money to offer the extra support to parents.  Notably, even in the light of these concerns, a plan to support low income earners is timely. This comes after the Australian National University disclosed that mother’s finances are affected significantly by childcare expenses. Specifically, a woman earning $43,000 per annum will be losing money on their fifth day of work each week due to taxes and childcare costs. It is hence implied that mothers on a lower income often lose money by turning up to work.

Beyond the issues of childcare costs, a researcher has made headlines after unveiling a literacy and numeracy app that helps enhance children’s performance within a week. The brain behind the app, Dr Michelle Neumann, revealed that she was disappointed by the poor results of using alphabet tools and game-based digital education. She, therefore, put aside enough time to research and consult with educators. The end result was the Emergent Literary Assessment App. Aimed at children between four and five years old, the app assess students on their ability to recognise sounds, words and numbers. It is currently being evaluated by various schools and childcare centres. When 20 students from Coomera Bonny Babes Childcare Centre utilised the app, almost everyone in the class scored over 80%. One of the parents, Karen Fraser, praised the app by stating that unlike other apps, it is focused on literacy and not games. Moreover, the parents can email their children’s results to the teachers so that they can inform them on the areas that their children may need help in. The product can be downloaded freely.