A new report indicates that a significant number of early childhood education services do not meet minimum standards and that over 60,000 children start school with poor social skills and emotional wellbeing.
The document, entitled ‘Quality Early Education for All: Fostering creative, entrepreneurial, resilient and capable learners’, was published this month by the Mitchell Institute.
Drawing on a broad variety of research, including the latest ABS statistics on preschool education, the authors highlight the ‘unacceptable divide in both opportunity and outcome between the poorest and wealthiest communities, between cities and very remote towns, and between children from different cultural backgrounds’.
Perhaps most interesting is the statistic that one in three Australian children aren’t attending early education for the hours required to make a difference.
According to the authors of the report:
There are substantial differences between the way education experts and Australian families understand child development and early learning.
In particular, while experts see early education as a critical site of development and learning, families often see child care primarily as a place where children are looked after safely while they work or study.
A national campaign is needed to highlight just how important quality early education is for kids, not only for helping parents to work.