Early learning refers to educational 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. It supports their ongoing development. 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.
Early learning programs, such as Working Together, help children develop a love for learning.
The early years of life are the period of greatest brain development. Building a strong, healthy brain in the early years is important.
Research shows children involved in early learning have improved educational and life outcomes. A recent report highlight 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.
Children who have participated in high-quality child care perform better academically than their peers, and children who are socially disadvantaged show the most benefit. Early childhood education and care therefore has great potential to close academic performance and attainment gaps between children from different socioeconomic backgrounds.
(Elliott 2006; Moore et al. 2012; Moore 2006).
There is also a link to better health and employment prospects for those who take part in early learning. These benefits are even greater for vulnerable and disadvantaged children.
Investment in early learning results in economic benefits too. For every dollar invested by governments, there will be gains of two dollars to the economy.