Children thrive when their needs are met by supported families, carers and communities.
We know that the early years (0-8) are a time of tremendous growth and development for children. We also know there are both risk factors and protective factors that affect how a child develops, and that these can be influenced to give a child the best chances in life.
One in five of Australia’s children starts school developmentally vulnerable in one or more areas1. And without intervention, these children may continue to fall behind.
Over nearly ten years, the percentage of children starting behind has improved by less than 2%. We want the next ten years to be different.
We want every child to start school ready to learn and engage. Where they face challenges, we want to make sure they get the support they need to catch up.
The Great to Eight research agenda will help funders make wise investments, and help researchers ensure their programs of work are relevant and make a unique contribution. If you haven't already done so, please register now.
The Great to Eight research agenda represents a genuinely nation building project with the potential to positively influence Australia’s investment in early childhood research on a grand scale.
The first stage of this visionary program is funded by The Ian Potter Foundation, as part of their commitment to improving learning outcomes for children aged 0-8.
Phase 1 of the project is to design a Priority Setting Mechanism (PSM) which will enable consistent and transparent prioritisation of research topics. A description of Phase 1 can be found in the Governance documents.
This is our opportunity to work together across sectors to create the priorities and opportunities for research of all kinds into improving outcomes for children. More than that, we have the opportunity to reconsider how we work together, moving from a climate of competition, duplication and silos to one of joined-up research, partnerships and sharing knowledge – knowledge of who is doing what, what we are discovering, and how we can combine our efforts for better results.
We know there is plenty of work to be done. Join us and help to shape how that work takes place over the next decade.
 Australian Early Development Census, 2018
 Pfost, Maximilian & Hattie, John & Dörfler, Tobias & Artelt, Cordula. (2014). Individual Differences in Reading Development A Review of 25 Years of Empirical Research on Matthew Effects in Reading. Review of Educational Research. 10.3102/0034654313509492. 203-244. 10.3102/0034654313509492.
As Great to Eight develops, we’ll be using ARACY's Engagement Hub to seek feedback on different aspects of the project. You can offer feedback via firstname.lastname@example.org with Great to Eight in the email subject, or by using the Ideas Wall.
As a stay at home parent, it's important for the mental health & wellbeing of adults that they are connected with local community. Various community organisations can take lead in developing events that bring people together over the weekend, in the evenings. These events can be slowly transitioned onto the residents with minimal input from organisations.
When the parents have positive mental health, it'll help them to focus on their parenting role.
Parents can also share the difficulties (of being a parent) and be support to each others. Knowing community members will also help develop a sense of belonging & safety. In case of any emergency, children will also be able to call upon the neighbours to help.
Trauma informed schools and early childhood settings
All schools should be supported to become trauma informed schools in ways that support students, teachers and families. Teachers and educators should receive comprehensive training in TICP and be supported and RESOURCED to implement creative, place based strategies in their schools and early education settings.
With increasing numbers of children being exposed to poverty and / or family and domestic violence, children need to be educated in a way that acknowledges and responds to the impacts of trauma on their capacity for learning. Schools and early education providers also need to be equipped with qualified allied health and other support staff - suitable to meeting the complex needs these children present with. No child, no matter how challenging should be left behind and all children stand to benefit from strategies aligned with TICP.
Evaluated frameworks for whole of community school transition processes to be adopted nationally
Noting that children who experience a strong school transition have better outcomes throughout their schooling, all communities should be supported to implement a place based, whole of community approach to same. We should take note of the work that has been done by the Centre for Community Child Health in the implementation of the Linking Schools and Early Years Framework which supports schools, community members, early years services and community services to work together for improved outcomes for children and families,
Children arrive at school ready to learn and engage and have improved outcomes that are sustained throughout their schooling.
Reflective practice is a foundation of our role as educators yet it is often ineffective and can do more harm than good in embedding negative teaching. Yet, robust reflective practice, done in research-supported ways, can support educators in providing a high quality service appropriate to their specific context. It needs time and space to be allowed to develop and it needs proper training but the benefits are enormous. I am completing my MEd(Res) on this very topic.
Guides professional learning
Guides quality improvement
Strengthens equity and democracy
Improves team collaboration
Improves quality provision
Children whose parents are struggling with mental health, disabilities, disadvantage, low literacy,etc are more likely to receive less stimulus for their development at home and more likely to miss developmental checks. They are over represented in AEDI.
Providing services such as Home-Start Volunteer Home Visitor every week, with an agenda to provide play and development opportunities, and to encourage and support visits with Child and Family Health nurses could improve the number and regularity of screening, and improvement in development across all domains.
* Prevention of deficits in development
* Increased visits to CFHN and increased well child developmental screening
* Extra eyes on the child every week
Parents will engage and trust volunteers even when they are reticent to engage and trust professional and expert services, ensuring these children don't fall through the cracks.
All children are required to have blue( some states other colour) by a qualified child health nurse as they have more time than GP ‘s to enter childcare, preschool, + or - obtain government payments. They are the experts in normal health and development and have time to do extra screening refer to specific services such as speech therapist and physiotherapist, OT. They also refer to NDIS interim providers and GP’s. This way delay or issues are picked up early and true early intervention can start. The majority of parents in Australia are not accessing child and family health nurses once they return to work. They only go to the doctor with a sick child and get an urgent brief appointment and they are not well so Doctors can easily miss development issues.
All children attend mandatory screening with child and family health nurses as set out in state “blue book”.
All issues with development, physical, developmental and psychological health is optimised.