As an early childhood sector leader, ECMS is committed to influencing positive change for children, families and communities.
We know the early years of life are crucial to shaping a person's future. In fact, 90 per cent of brain development occurs before the age of five.
Participating in a quality early learning program is a proven way to amplify children's learning and development. It helps children build the physical, emotional, social, language and cognitive skills they need to start school well. And research confirms the longer children spend in a quality early learning environment, the better their outcomes at school and beyond.
Currently, public funding for early childhood education in Australia is low compared with other OECD countries. This means many families simply cannot afford to enrol their child in a quality early learning or care service. In fact, our enrolments in early childhood education programs are well below the OECD average. Consequently, one in five Australian children is starting school without the skills they need. Many of these are vulnerable and at-risk children who are the most likely to miss out on vital early learning experiences. And evidence shows, children who start school behind, stay behind.
Investing more in the early years will not only allow the children accessing these services to reach their full potential. It will also support a more prosperous future for all Australians. A 2014 study conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) estimated cumulative benefits of almost $30 billion to the Australian economy by continuing to lift quality standards and increase participation in early childhood education, especially among children who are vulnerable and at-risk.
Our advocacy goals
As early childhood sector leaders, we're in a position to campaign to our governments for changes that will improve outcomes for children, families and our nation. We are urging our governments to:
- develop initiatives that educate the community on the importance of early childhood education for children’s development and Australia’s future prosperity
- empower families with the knowledge, tools, and support to fully embrace their child’s entitlement to early learning opportunities
- provide all Australian children with access to two years of funded kindergarten in the years immediately before school
- provide additional financial support for vulnerable families and families with a child with high care needs to access quality early learning
- move to a simplified, means-tested subsidy for families accessing childcare
- invest more in professional development, career progression and remuneration for early childhood professionals.
Our advocacy partnerships
Our ability to influence governments is amplified when we unite with others who share our vision for children and families. That is why we've partnered with sector peers on advocacy campaigns and associations. These include:
Early Learning and Care Council of Australia (ELACCA)
We're members of ELACCA, an association of large providers of early learning and care services across Australia. Member organisations now operate more than 1400 early childhood centres nationally. ELACCA promotes the value of quality early learning and care as an integral part of Australia’s education system.
Early Learning - Everyone Benefits
ECMS is a sponsor and active contributor in the national cross-sector Early Learning - Everyone Benefits campaign. The campaign is designed to shift public perception on the value of early learning in driving Australia’s future prosperity.
Early childhood education research
The Mitchell Institute report -Two years are better than one
Released in October 2016, this report highlights the need for Australia to invest in the future of all children with two years of quality early learning before school.
McKell Institute's report - No Mind Left Behind
Released in November 2016, this report also highlights the benefits to children of attending two years of quality early learning before school and makes a number of recommendations to government.
Our submissions to governments
Below are some submissions we have made to governments around important policy statements and consultations.