High quality early education gives children the best start at school and sets them up for the rest of their lives.
Ninety per cent of a child’s brain development occurs in the first five years of their life, making it a critical window for early education as they develop new skills and explore new learning opportunities.
Research shows that children who participate in quality preschool programs are more likely to arrive at school equipped with the social, cognitive and emotional skills they need to engage in learning.
These benefits continue well beyond primary school. Higher levels of educational success, employment and social skills have all been linked to moderate levels of participation in quality early childhood education.
Furthermore, the research suggests that there are continued benefits, which persist over the lifetime, such as improved economic participation, health outcomes and family wellbeing.
Children from disadvantaged backgrounds see the greatest benefits from quality early childhood education. The optimum level of participation in early childhood education will depend on each child’s circumstance as well as the quality of the service.
There is general agreement that access to at least 15 hours per week, or 600 hours per year, of quality preschool in the year before full-time school leads to improved outcomes for children.
Parents and carers can access a range of information about the importance of early education.