Our national survey of nearly 3000 parents found overwhelmingly high recognition of the many benefits to their children’s social, emotional and cognitive development, but high levels of difficulty accessing services.
The Early Learning Everyone Benefits campaign conducted a national survey in August 2017 with nearly 3000 responses by parents whose children attend a range of early learning services including playgroup, family day care, long day care and preschool or kindergarten. The survey found overwhelmingly high recognition of the many benefits to their children’s social, emotional and cognitive development, but high levels of difficulty accessing services.
Ninety-six percent of parents agreed or strongly agreed that their child had experienced positive experiences and developed skills from their participation in early childhood education and care. Some parents said their children initially had difficulties adjusting to a program and they needed to try a few services before they found the right place for their child.
Campaign spokesperson Samantha Page, ECA CEO said:
'The survey results show that parents who are using a range of early childhood services overwhelmingly recognise the benefits their children receive - more than 90 percent of parents said their children had improved their social skills, confidence and emotional capacity as a result of attending early learning, and they had observed improvements in their thinking, speaking and listening skills, and their willingness to contribute and participate.”
Parents also commented on their children’s engagement in creative projects and that they had seen them benefit from building relationships with children and educators.
My son’s early learning centre focuses on creative and critical thinking. The teachers know exactly where he is as a whole child and where to move him next. They have formed positive relationships between home and the centre which has helped us as parents to support our child.
More than a third of parents (37%) had difficulty finding a place in an early learning service. Of those thousand parents, more than half (57%) had difficulty finding any place (services were full or they were on waiting lists for over a year) and 37 percent found cost a problem. 39 percent overall had concerns about quality, with the highest percentages demonstrated in VIC, WA and QLD (11-12%). Not finding a place on the days or during the hours that parents needed them was another big concern – more than a third (35%) said they had difficulties with wrong or insufficient days of early learning and a fifth needed childcare outside of 9-5 working hours.
The majority of families used 2 to 3 days of preschool (or kindergarten), long day care or family day care and 86 percent said they were happy with this amount. Of the 400 parents who needed more access to early learning, 56 percent said one parent had reduce their working hours whilst 44 percent said that grandparents or others helped with childcare.
Our childcare centre is amazing however for a year my husband and I had to work from home to take care of her as couldn't get an extra day.
'The biggest issue is how many children are still missing out entirely on access to early learning when we know how strong the benefits are," said Ms Page. 'We need to see better collaboration between Federal and State governments and a more concerted bipartisan effort to develop policy and funding that will deliver better access to those children who are currently missing out.'