Working Together evolved from the learnings of the Working Together for 3 Year Olds (WT3) pilot which took place between February and July 2019. The pilot was based on a co-design approach, with families, Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) service partners, community services and the project team working together to develop the initiative.
The pilot’s objective was to create a shared, innovative and effective approach that would address barriers to participation experienced by eligible children, so they can engage in quality, early learning.
Fifty-one children were enrolled in the pilot at 10 early learning centres in Devonport, East Devonport, Newnham, Glenorchy, Moonah, Claremont, New Norfolk, Kingston and Blackmans Bay.
During the pilot 1,742 instances of support were provided to the 51 children and their families (average 34 per child) including referrals to services, transport, food and clothing, parenting skills and regular check-ins.
An early learning consultant, engagement workers and a senior social worker were funded to support ECEC service partners to deliver the initiative and build capacity. Professional learning was also offered, developing ECEC educators’ practice and support networks. As a result, families accessed greater holistic support as children transitioned from home into centre-based care.
What was the outcome of the pilot?
The pilot was evaluated between March to July 2019 by an independent agency. The effectiveness of the WT3 model was measured and assessed, which has been used to inform the implementation plan for WT over 2020-21.
The Findings were:
“Overall, the WT3 program achieved sound and positive results at this relatively early stage of its delivery. There is evidence that WT3 has contributed to changes and early instances of impact for 3 year olds and their families, in line with WT3 focus areas. Despite some challenges, WT3 is considered to have achieved a strong effectiveness rating. For the evaluation period, WT3 has been effective in meeting its delivery targets and pilot goals in terms of the breadth of the outcomes it influences across community and service partner cohorts, and extent of change evidenced for individuals and small cohorts of families.”
The co-design approach was a key enabler to the success of the pilot, with real-time data collected from those involved in WT3 to ensure accurate information was available to evolve and improve the initiative.
The pilot also identified the need for a name change from WT3 to WT. This followed conversations with families, who indicated that some were confused about whether they would need to withdraw their children from WT3 when they turned four. The name change reflects that the offering is for children in the year before they begin kindergarten. The tagline ‘supporting early learning’ also seeks to address misunderstandings arising from the previously used term ‘pre-school’. For more detailed information about the WT3 pilot, see the independent pilot evaluation summary or full report by Clear Horizon and the overview of pilot and implementation for 2020-21.