ACU the university of choice for early childhood educators

Australian Catholic University is leading the way when it comes to training early childhood teachers of the future.

ACU has been inundated with applications for its online Bachelor of accelerated Early Childhood Education (Birth to Five Years) course, offered in partnership with the Victorian Department of Education and Training.

Designed to meet the need for more early childhood teachers, the course will have 175 extra state government-funded places available in the 2023 intake at ACU as part of the Innovative Initial Teacher Education (IITE) program.

Diploma-qualified early childhood educators are eligible for full Victorian Government funding to upskill to an early childhood teaching degree while continuing to work in the sector.

The accelerated study program gives diploma-qualified educators the opportunity to complete a bachelor’s degree and become early childhood teachers in 18 months, after receiving recognition of eligible prior studies and experience.

It supports the Best Start, Best Life early childhood education reforms including the roll-out of funded Three-Year-Old kindergarten and the new Pre-Prep year.

ACU National Head of School of Education Professor Donna King said strong student demand would see enrolment numbers rise from about 170 this year to an additional 175 offers in 2023.

“This course accelerates the entry of our students into early childhood teaching careers with the skills and knowledge needed to make a positive difference in the lives of children,” she said.

“We are thrilled to be at the forefront of educating the next generation of high-quality early childhood teachers.”

ACU’s first intake of students will finish their studies in October 2023, achieving a four-year degree in 18 months. Applications for the 2023 intake open in August.

ACU student Irene Kusumawaty, 37, said having the chance to upgrade her skills and become an early childhood teacher without financial burden was a “dream come true”.

“When I saw this course, I applied straight away. I just feel really lucky that I’ve got this opportunity to gain more knowledge about how to teach children,” she said.

Fellow ACU student Lily Donaldson, 27, said after years as an early childhood education and care centre manager, the course gave her an opportunity to support children and families in a new way.

“It’s all about creating the best possible outcomes for children,” she said.

Professor King joined Victorian Early Childhood and Pre-Prep Minister Ingrid Stitt at Guardian Childcare and Education in Abbotsford for the announcement of the extra 175 places as part of a $1million expansion of the Early Childhood Incentives program.

Minister Stitt said the extra funding would encourage early childhood teachers and educators to work in kindergarten programs in hard to staff areas of Melbourne and rural/regional Victoria.

Individual incentives of $9000 are available for qualified early childhood educators starting their careers, returning to the sector or relocating to Victoria from interstate or New Zealand.

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