Early learning refers to education and care programs for children in the early years. These programs play an important role in children’s development. Qualified early childhood educators deliver early learning programs.
Offering quality early learning environments for children to play and learn is important. Quality early learning isn’t just about the toys and displays in the room. It includes the rich, trusting relationships between children and educators. Early childhood educators work in partnership with families. This allows them to get to know each child and to create opportunities for them to take part.
Quality early learning supports children’s health and wellbeing now and through their life. Safe, fun and child focussed spaces create opportunities for children to:
- make new friends
- build confidence
- develop their language and social skills
Visit the Starting Blocks website for more information on early learning in Australia.
Why is early learning important?
Children are natural learners and their education begins at birth. Parents and family are the first and most influential teachers for children.
The early years of life are the period of greatest brain development. Building a strong, healthy brain in the early years sets a child up for life. Respectful and trusting relationships between children and caregivers help to give children the foundations they need to grow strong, healthy brains. Together with children’s parents and families, early childhood educators can create rich early learning opportunities for children.
When children do not receive the support they need, this can put their health and development at risk.
Targeted early learning programs, such as Working Together, help children who may otherwise miss out on the support they need, to thrive. Working Together tailors support for each child and family, based on their needs.
Research shows children involved in early learning have improved educational and life outcomes. A recent Australian report highlights this. It shows that involvement in quality early learning leads to improved school results. These children are:
- Less likely to need extra support in school
- More likely to complete Year 12