The latest report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the OECD, Starting Strong, provides insight into how an early childhood education provides opportunities later in life across the developed world. The report has been drawn upon as a foundation by the Australian Government during development of the Early Years Learning Framework. Policy makers across the world now have a developed understanding about the benefits of a high-quality early childhood education and how it provides lifelong benefits for children. This has led to much investment in early childhood education programs by Governments around the world.
In most countries, 90% of students are enrolled in childhood education by age 5. A similar majority of kids under this age are enrolled in early childhood education programs in two thirds of the countries surveyed in the Starting Strong report.
Australia compares rather well with these averages and enjoys expanded access to early childhood education programs in the year before primary school. Australia has an above average segment of its under-three-year-old population attending a high-quality preschool. It also has one of the highest growth rates in four-year-olds attending a high-quality preschool.
Despite this, Australia is still lagging behind the UK, France, Germany and several Scandinavian countries in these metrics. In these countries, more than 95% of four-year-olds attend ECEC. Australian three-year-olds are enrolled with the lowest representation of the total sample of kids in childcare. Only 15% of Australian three-year-olds are enrolled in childcare.
In terms of expenditure on preschool programs, Australia ranks fourth out of all the OECD countries in the world. Expenditure is largely driven by the desire for low child-student ratios. There are fewer than ten students per teacher in Australia in preschool.
The OECD report has identified that at least two years of preschool as one of the most powerful influences on students results in Program for International Assessment at age 15. Because of this outcome, low levels of Australian preschool enrolment in the three-year-old bracket is slightly worrying.
Despite this, Australia continues to stand out from its international competitors in the early childhood education sector due to our funding model. Australia has a relatively high proportion of non-government ECEC services highly subsidised but not delivered by government. In almost half of OECD countries, 90% of ECEC expenditure comes from Government, while in Australia, 35% comes from families.
If your children are preparing for school and you are looking to help them take advantage of as many opportunities as possible, please call Robyn Taylor Croydon Early Learning Centre to schedule a tour of our premises. We follow the Robyn Taylor Early Learning Framework, which has been developed over 20 years by a child psychologist.
Contact our centre on 02 9705 8309 to ask any questions or to make an enrolment. We are open for business from Monday to Friday, 7:30am to 6:30pm.