Rethinking early childhood workforce sustainability in the context of Australia's early childhood education and care reforms


Early childhood workforce sustainability is an important issue, with implications for children, families and national productivity, as well as for educators themselves. Yet, in many national contexts, workforce challenges continue to undermine efforts to support sustainability.

In this article, we evaluate efforts to address early childhood workforce challenges in the Australian context, where extensive early childhood reforms are underway. We argue that attempts to address workforce challenges in current policy initiatives are limited and may be insufficient for sustaining the early childhood workforce in the long term. Given the critical role that the early childhood workforce plays in Australia’s early childhood reform agenda, we then consider how workforce sustainability could be rethought and other possibilities generated for addressing entrenched workforce challenges. We conclude by arguing that greater attention to the everyday politics of educators’ practice, along with the forces shaping these milieux, may be a way of generating new possibilities for supporting workforce sustainability.

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