Today I launched Set up for success: An Early Childhood Strategy for the ACT to ensure that all children in our community are set up for success with the early learning and development they need.
Well established research has shown that the period from birth through to eight years—especially the first three years—sets the foundation for every child’s social, physical, emotional and cognitive development.
High quality early childhood education plays a critical role in supporting children to learn. For children experiencing vulnerabilities or disadvantage, this early education plays an even more significant role in tackling inequality.
The Strategy focuses on the importance of early learning for every child and that early childhood educators are critical to delivering quality early childhood education and care.
The ACT Government values the important role of early childhood educators, significant influencers on the learning and development outcomes of children. This strategy will build on the expertise of this sector through a range of workforce development initiatives that will raise the profile of early childhood educators, further their work as a profession and ensure they are supported in their roles.
Not unlike teachers in schools, early childhood educators work in partnership with parents, schools and a range of community and health services to nurture each child’s learning and development. This Strategy aims to support this collaborative approach to ensure a child’s needs are understood and in place as they enter school.
Set up for Success was developed following extensive consultation with community stakeholders and the education and care sector during 2018 and 2019. It is based on four foundations:
A fair start for every child focuses on providing fair access to quality early childhood education for all children so that disadvantaged children aren’t left behind.
Valuing educators, values children elevates the expertise of educators and their importance in the early years, fulfilling such an important role in the brain development of young children.
Every child has a story acknowledges that each child has a unique background and circumstances resulting in individual needs that can be better supported by collaborative relationships between early childhood settings and schools.
Working together for children reflects the need for service providers within government and the community sector to work together to ensure that children and families experience best practice in early childhood education and care.
Within the first one to two years, some of the actions that will be undertaken to better value educators include:
- working with the sector to develop educator professional standards to attract, develop, support and retain a high-quality workforce
- providing training for children affected by trauma, the National Quality Framework as well as improving coaching and mentorship opportunities
- reform the Early Childhood Degree Scholarships Program to increase take-up and completion rates
The ACT Government is continuing to improve access to early childhood education in Canberra, expanding the number of places available to three year old children most in need to access 15 hours per week, 600 hours per year of free, quality early childhood education from 300 to 500.
The ACT Government is also funding two full-time Early Childhood Community Coordinators to support eligible families in accessing free, quality early childhood education.
The Strategy further demonstrates the ACT Government’s strong commitment to supporting children and young people to learn.