Government must keep promises on early learning, childcare
Last month, Goodstart Early Learning had the pleasure of hosting leading early-learning academics from around the world. They reported on the growing evidence base regarding the impact early learning has on children’s later educational and life outcomes and how this influences public policy.
Professor Steven Barnett told the story of the Abbott project in New Jersey, in the US, where giving 50,000 poor and disadvantaged children access to two years of quality preschool pushed their later school results up above the national average for all children. Professor Edward Melhuish reported on a long-running study of English schoolchildren, which has found that even at age 16, access to two years of quality preschool from age 3 influenced Year 10 examination results – the difference between getting five B’s and five C’s.
But another message was also clear – early learning has to be both quality and affordable. In Australia, we are in the final stages of a decade-long national quality reform agenda, the beneficiaries of which are the 1.2 million children in early learning and care. But quality is not free. If we are to ensure that the children who benefit most from access to early learning are able to access it, then we need to make access to early learning more affordable.
Read More: Early Learning Review