Why is Early Childhood Education at Child Care so important?
Research shows quality education and care early in life leads to better health, education and employment outcomes later in life. The early years are critical for establishing self-esteem, resilience, healthy growth and capacity to learn. Quality education and care shapes every child’s future and lays the foundation for development and learning.
Early moments matter in a child’s life, more than many of us realise. The first 1,000 days in a child’s life have a profound effect on their health, development, ability to learn – and even on their lifetime earnings. We know if children fall behind in the first five years of life, this ‘lost education’ is incredibly difficult for them to catch up.
It has become critical that young children from all backgrounds should have access to high-quality child care and early education. Early childhood services represent much more than a drop-off location for working parents but play an important role in child development by giving children an opportunity to engage in a range of educational and social activities.
This article covers:-
- How Kids College provides the highest quality care
- Importance of quality child care
- Australia’s National Quality Framework
- How the Australian Government are helping families by making child care more affordable, accessible and flexible
Kids College provides the highest quality early childhood education and care
The team at Kids College are very proud to be rated as Exceeding the National Quality Standards and are excited to celebrate our excellence in our delivery of education and care by continually improving our standards, going above and beyond, to set us apart as the very best quality early childhood education childcare centre.
We are one of the very few who have achieved this prestigious rating.
This rating was awarded to us by the Australian government after our assessment and ratings process in 2015 and again in 2019 on the new revised quality standards.
We promote and reinforce the value of early childhood education and are proud advocates for the importance of early years education. But why does all of this really matter?
The importance of child care quality is one of the most robust findings in developmental psychology today
Results from a large number of studies demonstrate that child care quality matters. In fact, the importance of child care quality is one of the most robust findings in developmental psychology. Children who experience high-quality child care have higher scores on achievement and language tests, show better social skills and fewer behavioural problems. Child care can also function as an intervention for children from at-risk families. Children from families with fewer economic resources who attend quality programs begin school with skills that can increase their chances of academic success.
The positive linkages between child care quality and a variety of positive outcomes are among the most pervasive findings in developmental science. Higher-quality child care (in the form of responsive and stimulating care) is associated with better cognitive and language development, positive peer relations, compliance with adults, fewer behaviour problems, and better mother–child relations. While there have been fewer consistent relations to different types of child care experiences, centre-based care appears to be beneficial to children’s cognitive development,
Recent research has consistently documented the enduring and positive effects of high-quality child care. Much research evidence exists to show that high quality early education provides a solid foundation for school readiness and academic achievement. Learning experiences in ECEC can also help children develop democratic values as well as social skills. A close bond with a care provider is also an index of the quality of future relationships. A caring environment is particularly valuable for children reducing the risk of behavioural problems, serving as a protective factor and by providing opportunities for improved cognitive and language development.
Early childhood care has an important role in children’s development
Increasingly common, early childhood care plays an important role in children’s development and provides a valuable support to families with young children. It is therefore important to understand the impact of these services and to ensure their quality and accessibility.
High quality child care can have a positive influence on children’s development and school readiness by providing valuable educational and social experiences. High quality child care is characterized as having well-qualified, well-paid, stable staff, low child-adult ratios, and efficient management and offers a program that covers all aspects of child development (physical, motor, emotional, social, language and cognitive development).
With respect to developmental research, findings from many large-scale research studies of child care influences are highlighting the complex, multidimensional influences that guide socioemotional and cognitive development in the early years.
Positive child care experiences enhances later educational opportunities
Do children in child care develop differently from those without child care experiences? Many scholars were initially worried that nonparental child care might be risky for children and thus sought to determine whether children in child care were as well adapted psychologically and behaviourally as children cared for exclusively at home. Later researchers began to explore the advantages of good-quality care and its potential benefits for children. In particular, they noted that child care offers opportunities for more extensive social contacts with peers and adults, and thus may open extended social worlds for children. Positive child care experiences may also enhance later educational opportunities, such that those experiencing early nonparental care are better able to benefit from education, adjust to routines, and resist conflicts.
Benefits that flow on to families and the wider community
Studies in Australia and internationally demonstrate the significant benefits children experience from attending quality ECEC services, which in turn flows on to their family and the wider community. These benefits include better intellectual development and higher levels of concentration, sociability and independence.
Children who enjoy quality ECEC are likely to be well socialised, confident, inquisitive about the world, accepting of diversity, resilient to manage challenges and also to be life-long learners.
For example, a Melbourne University study exploring the relationship between preschool/kindergarten experiences and Year 3 NAPLAN scores found that children who attend a high quality early learning program in the year before school are up to 40% ahead of their peers by the time they reach Year 3.
Social safety net that child care provides
Understanding child care experience as a network of developmental influences that can buffer or exacerbate other influences in a young child’s life is a useful orienting approach to the next generation of research.
Early childhood learning is a vital component in a child’s development and an important support network for family wellbeing. Early childhood centres provide a social safety net of immense importance to families particularly if they are struggling or where children are at risk. It prepares children for school, and provides opportunities for socialisation, as well as health screening for nutrition, immunisation, vision, speech, and hearing. Access to early childhood education for families, also provides many benefits for parents, whose wellbeing is critical to the wellbeing of the child.
Child care and education is a public responsibility and requires investment
Governments that see care and education as a public responsibility increasingly integrate their care and education systems and are able, in consequence, to ensure better regulation, more equitable access and provide higher quality services to all children.
Fortunately, with widespread recognition of the importance of early childhood development for later school achievement (fostered by advances in brain development research and studies of the long-term benefits of high quality early child care), public discourse concerning child care quality is increasingly regarding child care as an important developmental influence warranting public investment.
Government support for child care in Australia
Improving the child care system is highly dependent on government support. Concrete actions by policy makers, providing adequate public funding and developing tax policies that allow parents to make appropriate child-rearing choices, paying greater attention to children from poor or diverse backgrounds; integrating child care and early education under one ministry or agency and thereby enhancing quality, qualification requirements, accessibility and affordability.
Australia’s National Quality Framework (NQF)
The Australian Government has the National Quality Framework in place for early child care and has invested significantly in making early childhood care and education accessible to all children.
Children learn more during the first five years than at any other time in life. The National Quality Framework (NQF) aims to improve the educational and developmental outcomes for children attending education and care services, and promote continuous improvement in service quality
The National Quality Framework (NQF) provides a national approach to regulation, assessment and quality improvement for early childhood education and care and outside school hours care services across Australia.
The objectives of the NQF are to:
- Ensure the safety, health and wellbeing of children attending education and care services
- Improve the educational and developmental outcomes for children attending education and care services
- Promote continuous improvement in the provision of quality education and care
- Establish a system of national integration and shared responsibility between participating jurisdictions and the Commonwealth in the administration of the National Quality of education and care services
- Improve public knowledge, and access to information, about the quality of education and care services
- reduce the regulatory and administrative burden for education and care services by enabling information to be shared between participating jurisdictions and the Commonwealth.
The NQF aims to raise quality and drive continuous improvement and consistency in children’s education and care services through:
The National Law and National Regulations. The law and regulations detail the operational and legal requirements for an education and care service.
The National Quality Standard. The NQS sets a national benchmark for the quality of education and care services and includes seven quality areas that are important to outcomes for children
Assessment and quality rating process. Services are assessed and rated by their regulatory authority against the NQS, and given a rating for each of the seven quality areas and an overall rating based on these results.
National approved learning frameworks. The NQS is linked to approved learning frameworks that recognise children learn from birth. Services are required to base their educational program on an approved learning framework
Regulatory authority. The regulatory authority in each state and territory responsible for the approval, monitoring and quality assessment of services in their state or territory
National body – ACECQA. Guides the implementation of the NQF and works with regulatory authorities.
The major benefits of our National Quality Framework for parents and children includes:
- improved educator to child ratios, ensuring children have greater individual care and attention for children
- educators with increased skills and qualifications
- better support for children’s learning and development through approved learning frameworks
- consistent, transparent information on educators, providers and services in the national registers.
Investment in Early learning for future economic success
For governments, an investment in early learning is fundamental to the future economic success of the nation; it increases availability of skilled workers across almost all industries by allowing more parents, particularly mothers, to re-enter the workforce and hence boost the productivity of the entire economy.
More importantly an investment in quality early learning can provide a safeguard against future, even greater government spending on societal costs for disadvantaged children as they mature. Research indicates that when children from disadvantaged backgrounds have access to quality ECEC services, they are less likely to grow up relying on government-funded services.
A 2019 study by the Front Project and PWC calculated participation of children in quality, early learning delivers a return on investment of 2:1 to the economy.
How the Australian Government are helping families by making child care more affordable, accessible and flexible
- Key elements of the Government’s child care system include the Child Care Subsidy and the $1.2 billion Child Care Safety Net. The Child Care Subsidy is a single, means tested payment. The Child Care Subsidy commenced in July 2018 and provides more access to subsidised child care to the families who work the most hours, and higher levels of financial support to the families who earn the least.
- Child Care Subsidy helps families with the cost of approved child care. Government pays this subsidy directly to child care providers to reduce the fees you pay. The amount you may be eligible for depends on: your family income, hourly rate cap on the type of service you use, your child’s age and the hours of recognised activities you and your partner do. Example:- Families earning around $65,000 (in 2017 terms) or less will receive the maximum subsidy rate of 85 per cent of the actual fee charged, or of the relevant hourly rate cap (whichever is lower). A family earning $60,000, whose child care centre charges $100 per day, will only pay around $15 per day for child care.
- Families will benefit from an increased annual cap of $10,000 per year per child.
- The government have Child Care Subsidy hourly rate caps, which are the maximum hourly rate the Government will subsidise for each service type.
- The Child Care Safety Net provides targeted assistance for disadvantaged communities and vulnerable children and their families to address barriers in accessing child care.
- The Government recognises that children from disadvantaged backgrounds benefit most from quality early childhood education and care. This is why, for example, under the Child Care Safety Net, families earning around $65,000 or less (in 2017 terms) who do not meet the activity test will have access to 24 hours of subsidised early learning per fortnight. That is equivalent to two weekly six-hour sessions, and will be subsidised at the rate of 85 per cent.
- Information technology system provides a simple and easy user interface for families and child care services; simplify, streamline and automate administration of child care payments and programs; and ensure more effective compliance.
Information for this article was taken from the following website.
Quote from Kids College Philosophy
‘Kids College has a profound passion and dedication to our part in raising our children. We believe that each child has the right to a happy, safe, secure and educationally focused childhood. We provide loving care to our children as well as a commitment to providing the best quality educational experiences.’
‘We believe in advocating for the importance of early childhood education, researching and experimenting with new ideas to inspire and create better outcomes for all children.
We are aiming for continuous improvement with comprehensive plans for sustaining our commitment to excellence moving with the changing needs of our families and the greater climate of early childhood education.’
National Quality Standards
1.1.1 Approved Learning framework. Curriculum decision-making contributes to each child’s learning and development outcomes in relation to their identity, connection with community, wellbeing, confidence as learners and effectiveness as communicators.
4.2.2 Professional standards. Professional standards guide practice, interactions and relationships.
7.1.1 Service philosophy and purpose. A statement of philosophy guides all aspects of the services’ operations
7.2.1 Continuous improvement. There is an effective self-assessment and quality improvement process.
Kids College family
At Kids College we work each day embedding our values and philosophy into each facet of what we do. We continually improve our practices by critically reflecting and engaging in meaningful relationships with our community and for this we need your support and input. Make sure to follow Kids College Childcare on facebook, watch for our regular emails and keep an eye on our Kids College website. Join our Kids College family community and share in our vision of creating the very best childcare where children experience love, laughter and learning every day. You can reach us on [email protected]
With love, laugher and learning from your friends
in the ‘village it takes to raise a child’
Teacher Jen and the Kids College Childcare family