The Strategy builds on Investing in the Early Years - A National Early Childhood Development Strategy, which was endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) in July 2009. The vision of the Early Childhood Development (EDC) Strategy captured the aspirations of governments that by 2020 all children will have the best start in life to create a better future for themselves and for the nation.
The Strategy focuses on immediate priorities for the ECEC workforce and complements existing Australian Government and state and territory government measures, while setting a long-term strategy that focuses on supporting more integrated ways of working across the ECD sector.
What will the Strategy do?
The Strategy addresses five key areas relevant to early childhood education and care:
- Providing a professional early childhood education and care workforce through:
- Supporting professional development and leadership opportunities
- Promoting the professionalism of the ECEC workforce to the wider community
- Recognising professional practice
- Ensuring a growing workforce to continue to meet community demand by:
- Promoting early childhood careers
- Promoting existing training programmes and pathways
- Supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to build careers in ECEC
- Aiding early childhood educators to gain the qualifications and skills the workforce needs to continue to provide high quality care by:
- Facilitating greater uptake of existing training initiatives
- Supporting the higher education and training sector to continue to deliver high quality, relevant and flexible training to the ECEC sector
- Reviewing training initiatives
- Fostering the creation of a responsive workforce, one which can address the needs of all children through:
- Enhancing the capability of educators to meet the needs of children from diverse social and cultural backgrounds
- Developing the capability of ECEC educators to further develop skills in working with children with diverse needs and connecting them with appropriate support services
- Facilitate collaboration amongst members of the broader early childhood development workforce by:
- Supporting qualifications that enhance the skills of ECEC educators to work effectively with other ECD professionals
- Promoting evidence-based integrated service practice
- Improve the Australian evidence base on ECD.
Why do we need a Strategy?
The Strategy will help build a highly-skilled and capable workforce, which is essential in fostering high-quality services and achieving the best outcomes for children. There is increasing recognition that the work of caring for and educating young children is complex and requires enhanced qualifications and ongoing professional development. Programmes delivered by qualified educators are particularly effective in improving outcomes for vulnerable children. The Strategy provides the first commitment by all governments to an agreed vision and long-term framework for the early childhood education and child care workforce. It will be used to develop immediate areas of action and longer term policy options.