Early Learning: Everyone Benefits is a positive national campaign which aims to:
- increase public awareness and understanding of the benefits of investing in early learning (birth to five years) for Australia’s future prosperity
- increase access to quality programs that amplify children’s development by securing political commitment to increasing early learning.
Early learning means the vital stages of children’s development from birth to age five, including brain development, cognitive skills, motor skills, social and emotional wellbeing—all of the skills needed for lifelong learning. Early learning occurs in formal settings (early childhood education and care) with educators but also at home and in relationships with family members and caregivers. Our campaign recognises that the main vehicle for children’s learning is play.
Much of children’s early learning experiences occur at home with parents; providing adequate Paid Parental Leave to give new parents time at home with a new baby and investing in programs such as home visiting, playgroup and early literacy support can enhance the home environment.
Participation in early education also provides important opportunities for children especially those who might otherwise be at risk of disadvantage. Services such as, preschools/kindergarten, long day care, family day care, mobile preschools and children’s centres can provide rich early learning environments where children engage in play based activities as part of intentional programs developed and implemented by skilled educators.
Why invest more in early learning?
- One in five Australian children start school vulnerable in their social, emotional or cognitive development and will fail to catch up, according to the Australian Early Development Census. For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children it’s more than two in five who are vulnerable.
- Australian and international research tells us that attending early learning improves children’s educational outcomes at school up to 13 years later.
- Children who attend a high-quality early childhood program in the year before school are up to 40 per cent ahead of their peers by the time they reach Year 3 in primary school.
- By age five, a child’s vocabulary will predict their educational success and outcomes at age 30.
- All children benefit from early learning, and vulnerable children benefit the most.