Early learning

The early years are a critical window for building the foundations that enable all children to become creative, entrepreneurial, resilient and capable learners. Yet current early learning policy is not meeting the needs of the children who stand to benefit the most. A third of children are not attending preschool or kindergarten for the hours needed to make a difference. Nearly a quarter of children arrive at school with significant developmental vulnerabilities.

The gap between the most advantaged and least advantaged children is growing, with children in poorer communities often lacking access to high quality early education. Australia is falling behind many OECD countries that already offer at least two years of preschool and have high participation rates. Improved early childhood policy could boost Australia’s social and economic prosperity into the future.