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Did you know that in the first 1,000 days of our lives, over one million neural pathways (brain connections) are formed each second?

Lucy Davidson

Tuesday 29 January 2019

As neuroscientists uncover the mysteries of the brain, it has become clear that the first five years of life is the most critical period of development, building the foundation on which all of our later learning, behaviour and health depend on.

Gone are the days of believing that education need only begin when a child starts primary school. With strong science on our side, now more than ever, parents are demanding for quality, early childhood education earlier so their children feel ready for school and thrive through life.

We are calling out to the next generation of changemakers and leaders to build the foundations our youngest learners.

Early childhood teachers guide and support young children with self-regulation, mathematical concepts and pre-literacy skills to prepare them for school. They also encourage creative thinking so that children learn to ask questions and solve problems now and into the future. From physical and spatial tasks for balance and coordination, running, climbing or holding a pencil, through to social skills and empathy, early childhood education provides robust building blocks for the growing brain.

Early childhood education improves literacy and numeracy, but its most powerful impacts are on ‘soft’ skills like managing emotions, building relationships, working memory and mental flexibility, persistence, curiosity and creativity – the 21st century skills most in demand in the workforce (J. Heckman, Stixrud, & Urzua, 2006).

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And it’s the teachers providing such guidance and support for each child, who make the difference here.

But right now, there’s a critical shortage of skilled early childhood teachers. At a time when we need it most, enrolments and completion for early education degrees are dropping significantly across Australia (Essential Research, 2018).

Future Tracks was developed in response to the rapidly growing demand for high quality, early childhood teachers, opening up a new pathway for education. And it’s finally launched.

Future Tracks is designed to support university students studying the Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood), by equipping them with the critical tools, knowledge and experience they need to create a dynamic education program for children to reach their full potential.

As a new social enterprise, Future Tracks gives students the opportunity to lead in early childhood teaching, and in return, shape a generation of future leaders. The program creates pathways for multiple career options in early childhood teaching, policy and leadership roles, making it a desireable career choice for young Australians who want to make a difference.

The program offers mentoring, leadership and professional practice, and most notably, paid employment in an early learning centre – an offering that is unique in Australia.. Uni doesn’t get more rewarding than this.

Future Tracks is currently offered in Victoria, NSW and Queensland, with plans to expand across Australia in the coming year. Places are limited, so get moving and spread the word to young people who can apply now to avoid disappointment.