Every three years data is collected on children’s development in their first year of school. This is called the Australian Early Development Census (AEDC). This year a new data collection is taking place, providing an up-to-date snapshot of children’s progress against five key areas, or domains, of child development:
- physical health and wellbeing
- social competence
- emotional maturity
- language and cognitive skills
- communication skills and general knowledge
Early childhood education and care services have a particularly important influence on children’s developmental outcomes, as most children attend these services during these first five years. Therefore early childhood services can use the data as evidence to help support young children’s individual development and to optimise their outcomes by the time they reach school age.
By providing a common ground on which people can work together, the AEDC data can help to build and strengthen communities to give children the best start in life.
Together with other demographic and community data, the AEDC provides a rich source of information and a powerful tool for influencing decisions about programs and planning to support early childhood development.
The AEDC and the National Quality Framework
There are clear links between the AEDC and the National Quality Standard (NQS) and the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) Learning Outcomes.
Early childhood education and care services can use the AEDC data to help identify areas of strength and areas for improvement in Quality Improvement Plans (QIP). For example, early childhood services may want to include strategies to address any community vulnerabilities demonstrated by the AEDC data in their QIP.
As there is a strong link between the AEDC domains and the EYLF Learning Outcomes in practical terms, when educators plan for the EYLF outcomes they are also responding to the AEDC domains.
With each successive AEDC data collection there is an opportunity to consider how children are developing in each community.
The data is provided at a community level, as a ‘whole of community’ approach is known to improve children’s outcomes.
While parents and families have a significant influence on children’s development, other factors such as peers, early childhood education and care services, school and community environments also influence children’s outcomes.
The AEDC data provides a common language for early childhood education and care services to discuss and respond to the strengths and needs of young children with their local schools and communities, particularly in supporting children’s successful transition to school.
Since the AEDC provides such a rich source of data on how children are developing in your community, are you using it to inform your programming, planning and quality improvement?
Early Childhood Australia has worked with the Queensland Government, Department of Education and Training to develop a suite of AEDC resources to support early childhood education and care services to use the AEDC data to inform their curriculum programming, planning and quality improvement.
To access the AEDC resources please visit the Queensland Government’s AEDC resources page or the ECA Educator Resources page.
To access to AEDC data in your community please visit www.aedc.gov.au
The AEDC resources are proudly funded and supported by the Queensland and Australian Governments.