How can we change our mindsets about the value and importance of early childhood development and care?

What’s the Problem?

When Early Childhood Development and Care (ECDC) is discussed both in the media and in policy circles, we often observe a heavier emphasis on the last word of the term – care. In reality, what is more important to society as a whole are all the aspects of the development of children, which include health and wellbeing, mental health, social functioning and cognitive development, all of which significantly impact children’s long-term outcomes.

There is clear evidence from Australia and overseas that the early years of a child’s life have a profound impact on their future health, development, learning and wellbeing. Preschool education has led to higher educational levels, better job outcomes and income later in life, reduce socio-economic inequalities (with children from less advantaged backgrounds benefitting more) and improved intergenerational education mobility

Research also shows that investing in resources to support children in their early years of life is an essential part of the infrastructure for a successful society. It helps in optimising the global wellbeing of populations and brings long-term benefits to the entire community. Investment in childhood education has also been proven to be a good economic decision that reaps high returns for society.

With so many benefits, it is concerning that many still view service providers as child minding centres with the main purpose of getting parents back to the workforce. Despite the fact that the productive and healthy future of our society is dependent upon the care and education we give our children, our childcare providers are often viewed as babysitters. Instead, centres should be seen as important institutes of learning and development. Early education should be recognised as one of the most significant investments in education and productivity that governments can make.

What are your ideas on how mindsets can change about the value of early childhood development and care?

Key Facts

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