Early learning vital for addressing development divide and ensuring children start formal education on equal par: Thrive By Five
11 May 2022 – New data analysis released today by The Front Project has found the percentage of children experiencing developmental vulnerability before they start school is significantly higher in remote and outer regional areas than in cities.
This new analysis of the Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) data, Supporting All Children to Thrive, also shows:
- The further you move from the city, the more likely you will be at risk of developmental vulnerability.
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, children who are not proficient in English, and children in lower socio-economic communities, also experience higher rates of developmental vulnerability.
- By Grade 3 developmentally vulnerable children are a year behind their peers on NAPLAN. By Grade 5 they are on average two years behind their peers on NAPLAN.
Thrive by Five Director Jay Weatherill said, “The evidence is overwhelming on the impact of good quality early learning in fuelling children’s development and giving them a great start in life.
“We know the first five years of life are crucial for development. The size of a child’s brain reaches 90 per cent of an adult’s by the age of five.
“Early learning can be a great equaliser for children, helping them start formal learning on an equal par with other children.
“High-quality early learning has a big impact on children from disadvantaged backgrounds as the education they receive provides the stimulation and development trigger that may not be readily available at home or surrounds.
“Evidence suggests children who start school behind their peers, will usually stay behind
“However, this new data analysis from The Front Project highlights great inequality in child development across postcodes and family backgrounds.
“The rising cost of living and increasing cost of childcare is squeezing family budgets, with too many children – particularly vulnerable children – at risk of missing out on early learning.
“Women, children and families in regional, rural and remote areas should not be disadvantaged in their access to high-quality early learning and support,” Mr Weatherill said.