Sharing our learnings to help shape the future of Australian children
Our Place recently shared our evidence and experience in a submission to the Early Years Strategy being developed by the Australian Government.
WHAT IS THE EARLY YEARS STRATEGY?
The Australian Government is developing an Early Years Strategy to shape its vision for the future of Australia’s children and their families. Recognising how critical the early years are for children’s development and continued success over their lifetime, the Strategy aims to deliver the best possible outcomes for Australian children.
The Strategy will help the Commonwealth create a more integrated, holistic approach to the early years and better support the education, wellbeing and development of Australia’s children. It will seek to support improving coordination between Commonwealth programs, funding and frameworks impacting early childhood development.
OUR PLACE’S SUBMISSION
Our Place is encouraged by the commitment to developing a Commonwealth Early Years Strategy that creates a new, integrated approach to the early years and prioritise the wellbeing, education and development of Australia’s children. The following is a summary of our submission in response to questions outlined in the Discussion Paper. Click on the following link to view Our Place’s submission in its entirety.
What vision should our nation have for Australia’s youngest children?
Recommendation: The vision for Early Years must be about delivering positive outcomes for all children and families, regardless of postcode. It should be a shared vision with an ambitious agenda that reflects family and community aspirations.
What mix of outcomes are the most important to include in the Strategy?
Recommendation: We encourage a focus on outcomes that make a significant difference to the lives of vulnerable children and families experiencing disadvantage and complex life circumstances and for whom the universal service system is not meeting their needs.
What specific areas/policy priorities should be included in the Strategy and why?
Recommendation: It is critical that the Early Years Strategy takes a broader view of its policy priorities to include a focus on:
• High-quality early learning, health and development
• Engagement and enrichment activities for children and families, including adult education
• Wrap-around health and wellbeing services
What could the Commonwealth do to improve outcomes for children—particularly those who are born or raised in more vulnerable and/or disadvantaged circumstances?
Recommendation: At a time of unprecedented focus on and investment in the early years space for 3-5 year olds, we recommend an extension of this appetite to focus on 0-3 year olds.
What areas do you think the Commonwealth could focus on to improve coordination and collaboration in developing policies for children and families?
Recommendation: Focus coordination and collaboration efforts on delivering improved continuities of learning, care and connection across system boundaries. This requires policy alignment and reform as well as the resourcing of the processes, expertise and relationships that enable a joined-up approach for the education, health and development of all children and families in disadvantaged communities.
What principles should be included in the Strategy?
Recommendation: There is a need to focus on principles for ‘ways of working’ to strengthen implementation of the strategic vision and enable the aspiration for transformation to translate in to powerful and sustained action.
ALIGNING WITH THE OUR PLACE APPROACH
This is an example of the Our Place evidence based element High quality early learning, health and development. This element is crucial to the Our Place approach as the evidence indicates that access to high-quality early learning in early childhood education and care settings, together with strong early years services and supports, predicts later academic success, particularly for children experiencing disadvantage. To learn more about this element or the Our Place Approach click here