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A great start for all children

The department is committed to ensuring the next generation of Queenslanders has a great start by providing strong early learning foundations to support a lifetime of success.

Evidence tells us a person's early childhood experiences directly affect their health, wellbeing and life outcomes. Every child's needs are unique, and all children and families need access to high-quality, inclusive early childhood education and care services, regardless of their circumstances.

By ensuring our early childhood programs and services provide the building blocks for learning in later life, we are supporting all children to successfully transition to school and make a great start.

In 2018–19, we took action to give all children a great start through:

Early learning opportunities for every child

Early Years Places

The first 5-years of a child's brain development are the most critical. We continue to invest in the operation of Early Years Places (EYPs) in more than 50 communities across Queensland. Service delivery by EYPs is highly flexible and based on evidence that shows providing support where and when families need it will reduce developmental vulnerability and improve education, health and wellbeing outcomes.

Each year, EYPs provide over 10,000 parents/caregivers and 14,000 children with early years learning and development activities such as playgroup, access to services, referrals to specialist services such as child and maternal health services, and family and parenting support.

Kindergarten for all Queensland children

We continue to support universal access to kindergarten for all children as an important step to help improve wellbeing prior to school. Investment through the Queensland Kindergarten Funding Scheme to approved long day care and kindergarten services helps to reduce out-of-pocket costs for families.

We are committed to ensuring children have access to culturally responsive programs and resources that support their readiness for school. Under the Refugee and Asylum Seeker Early Childhood Pilot, we are delivering daily playgroups in community hubs, allowing children and families to play and learn alongside each other in safe, supportive environments. The pilot supports families to find and access kindergarten services, subsidies and bicultural support so that both children and their families are confident and connected to early learning. Through the pilot, professional development and coaching is available to kindergarten services to help them build their partnerships with refugee and asylum seeker families. The pilot has led to the enrolment of more than 230 children from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds in kindergarten programs, supporting improved transitions to school.

We have ensured children receiving medical treatment at the Queensland Children's Hospital have access to a kindergarten program delivered by an early childhood teacher. In 2018-19, 148 children benefited from the program providing much-needed place-based learning that improves not only education outcomes but distraction and diversion providing much-needed from the challenges of hospitalisation.

Enrolments in an early childhood education program in 2018

 
 
 
 

*Note: Participation rates can exceed 100% because (a) five-year-olds are included in the enrolments (numerator) but excluded from population estimates (denominator) and (b) there may be some duplication of state and national enrolment counts when the datasets are combined.

Remote kindergartens

Access to early childhood education and care continues to be a challenge in remote communities. Expanding the Remote Kindergarten program into 30 additional schools over the next 2 years (68 schools to deliver in Term 1, 2020), means we are ensuring more children have access to quality kindergarten in remote areas. The expansion of the Remote Kindergarten program complements eKindy and kindergarten in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. It provides rural and remote families with a range of flexible options for their children to have a great start to their education, regardless of where they live.

Collaborating for successful transitions to school

Starting school is an important milestone in a child's life, and a positive transition for every child is a key priority. We are focusing on enhanced continuity of learning and development for young children through a coordinated, strategic approach to the alignment of priorities for kindergarten through to Year 2.

Working with families, early childhood stakeholders, parent groups and schools, we are improving access and promoting the value of transition statements for a great start to school. In 2018, 55% of kindergarten transition statements were received by schools. In 2019 that number has risen to 67.8%. Transition statements contain important information about a child's learning and development at kindergarten, and provide valuable information to assist the school to plan with families to welcome their children.

Evidence-based approaches linked to outcomes

The Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) provides crucial evidence to guide decision-making and planning to target resources and services towards supporting the wellbeing of children and families across Queensland. By providing common ground, AEDC data empowers communities and schools to collaborate to improve the wellbeing of all children. AEDC measures and trend data inform tailored approaches across the 5 early childhood development domains. By delivering holistic early learning experiences and building resilience, we are contributing to the Queensland Government's target to reduce the percentage of children developmentally vulnerable in one or more AEDC domains to 22% by 2025. A reduction in developmental vulnerability requires partnership from the system to the family, intersecting research, policy and practice. We are working across sectors, regions and communities using the common language of the AEDC and are supporting communities to use their data to inform practice.

Families engaged in their child's learning across the early years

Supporting families to be active in the early years

We know children are more likely to have a great start when their wellbeing is nurtured, and that learning begins at home. This is why we are committed to make The Early Years Count, and support the vital role parents and families play as first teachers. We are ensuring that all children and families have access to quality early learning experiences by providing information and activities—based on age, relationship, location and activity preference at Early Years Count.

Kindy is still a Deadly Choice

We continue to work in partnership with the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health, to promote kindergarten participation so that through the successful Deadly Kindies campaign, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are ready for kindy in 24 locations across South East Queensland. This year, in collaboration with Townsville Aboriginal and Islander Health Services, the Deadly Kindies initiative was delivered into regional Queensland for the first time. Since 2016, a total of 849 children have engaged in the Deadly Kindies program.

Ensuring early childhood programs are high quality

Quality early education and care services are effective in supporting children's early development and delivering long-lasting social benefits. Regulation of early childhood services, including the assessment and rating of services, supports the delivery of high-quality programs to children in their early years.

As the Regulatory Authority, we proactively monitor services based on risk and our Regulating for Quality framework. This approach drives the consistency of regulatory practice and continuous quality improvement in early childhood education and care services. In 2018–19, we undertook more than 5,900 visits to services (an average of 1.97 visits per service). In Queensland more than 84% of services is meeting or exceeding the National Quality Standard, compared to 79% nationally.

A skilled and capable early childhood workforce

Passionate and qualified early childhood teachers and educators are vital to achieving our objective to give all children a great start in life. Through the Early Childhood Education and Care Workforce Action Plan 2016–2019 we have fostered a highly skilled and capable workforce and continuing to implement strategies to increase supply of skilled staff in the sector.

Initiatives include providing early childhood teacher scholarships, study support for educators, bridging programs for existing primary teachers and support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander educators in remote communities.

In 2018–19, we continued our Remote Area Teacher Education Program's community-based Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teacher education initiative, which enables educators to undertake early childhood qualifications in their home communities.

Service standards
Early Childhood Education and Care

2018-19

Target /Est

2018-19

Actual

2019-20

Target/Est

Notes

Effectiveness measures
Proportion of Queensland children enrolled in an early childhood education program

95%

 101.4%

 95%

1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Proportion of enrolments in an early childhood education program

1, 2, 3, 4

Indigenous children

95%

93.8%

95%

6

Children who reside in disadvantaged areas

95%

89.9%

95%

7

Proportion of children developmentally on track on four or more (of five) Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) domains65%
65.5%-8, 9
Efficiency measure
10, 11

Government expenditure per child—kindergarten

 $2,700

 $2,659

 $2,700



Notes:

  1. The National Early Childhood Education and Care Census is conducted in the first week of August each year. Data is published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in the Preschool Education Australia publication catalogue 4240.0.
  2. The nationally agreed benchmark established under the National Partnership Agreement (NPA) on Universal Access to Early Childhood Education is 95%. Under the NPA, Queensland is committed to achieving and maintaining access to an early childhood education program for all children in the year before full-time school.
  3. Early childhood education program: a quality play-based program in accordance with the Early Years Learning Framework and the National Quality Standard delivered by a degree-qualified early childhood teacher to children in the year before full-time school.
  4. This service standard represents the proportion of children enrolled from each cohort group as a proportion of the estimated total population for that cohort group in Queensland.
  5. Participation rates can exceed 100% because (a) five-year-olds are included in the enrolments (numerator) but excluded from population estimates (denominator) and (b) there may be some duplication of state and national enrolment counts when the datasets are combined.
  6. Indigenous: a person who identifies at enrolment to be of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin.
  7. Disadvantaged: a person who resides in statistical areas classified by the ABS in the bottom quintile using the Index of Relative Socio-Economic Disadvantage.
  8. The AEDC is a population measure of how children have developed by the time they start school. Data is captured on five domains of early childhood development: physical health and wellbeing, social competence, emotional maturity, language and cognitive skills, and communication skills and general knowledge. It is a national census based on a large population, which tends to change incrementally. There is no 2019–20 Target/Estimate as the census is conducted every three years with the next census to be conducted in 2021. The 2018–19 Estimated Actual is based on the 2018 census results.
  9. Our Future State: Advancing Queensland's Priorities includes a priority target to reduce the percentage of Queensland children developmentally vulnerable in one or more AEDC domains to 22% by 2025 (which is a complementary target, being the reverse to increasing the proportion of children developmentally on track).
  10. This service standard was previously worded "Average cost of service per child – kindergarten" in the 2018–19 Service Delivery Statement. This has been updated for clarity of wording. No change has been made to the calculation methodology.
  11. This service standard is calculated by dividing government real recurrent expenditure on kindergarten (preschool) services by the number of four and five-year-old children enrolled in kindergarten in Queensland. The cost per service does not include fees paid by parents and carers. Funding is provided by both the Queensland Government and the Australian Government.
Licence
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia (CC BY 3.0) (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/au/ )
Last updated
28 October 2019