Early Childhood Australia (ECA) and SNAICC – National Voice for our Children (SNAICC) are passionate about seeing all children, in particular Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, empowered so that they are able to determine their own future and realise their potential.
Currently in Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are more than twice as likely as all other children to be developmentally vulnerable when they start school. Further, there has been no movement towards equality in developmental outcomes in recent years. Children who are developmentally vulnerable on school entry are less likely to do well at school, are more likely to leave school early and have poorer life outcomes. Reducing the rates of developmental vulnerability will increase the number of children who make a successful transition into school and go on to experience positive educational and lifelong outcomes.
Two strategies hold the greatest potential for improving educational outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. First, there is compelling evidence showing that high-quality early education can make a difference by amplifying children’s development and enhancing their lifelong social and emotional wellbeing. This is particularly true for children who experience disadvantage early in life.
Secondly, evidence also suggests that integrated, family-focused support programs that impact the home learning environment can improve outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, particularly when implemented with a focus on essential principles such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community ownership and leadership; embedding culture; sustainability; and a holistic approach that is responsive to need. Importantly, these principles also redress the major barriers to early education and care access and participation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
SOURCE: Emma Sydenham. “Ensuring Equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children in the Early years – Early Childhood Australia, February 2019.
Produced by the librarians at the Brotherhood of St Laurence in Melbourne, Australia