One of the most important aspects to a dynamic and productive society, one that is able to make progress towards a prosperous and sustainable future, is a focus on healthy child care and development. One of the most efficient paths to this end is to not only expand access to early childhood education but to improve the quality of child care programs.
What are the most critical factors that signify quality early childhood education? Which particular aspects of your child’s care program will have the most positive and lasting impact on their development?
- The first and most important aspect of early child care is the quality of direct interactions between children and educators. Children will consistently learn more when adults in the classroom provide high-quality pedagogical opportunities. These interactions have been repeatedly associated with higher levels of literacy, improved mathematical skill, and healthier social confidence.
- The second most important aspect of early childhood education is the relation between the number of adults and children in a classroom. According to the National Quality Framework by the Australian Children’s Education & Care Quality Authority, there are specific ratio requirements depending on the age of the child to ensure a quality education and childcare experience
|Age of children||Educator to child ratio||Applies|
|Birth to 24 months||1:4||All states and territories|
|Over 24 months and less than 36 months||1:5||All states and territories excluding VIC|
|Over 36 months up to and including preschool age||1:11||ACT, NT, QLD, VIC|
|1:10 for centre-based services other than a preschool|
1:10 for disadvantaged preschools
2:25 for children attending a preschool program
|Over preschool age||1:15||NT, QLD, SA, TAS, VIC, NSW|
(or 1:10 if kindergarten children are in attendance)
- Teacher training and continuing education is the third most important factor in successful early childhood education programs. Educators that are able to stay up to date with the field’s latest strategies and methodologies will be better prepared to cater to each child’s needs.
The implementation and persistent monitoring of these factors, particularly in education centres that cater to young children, can help lay the foundations for successful and well-adjusted adults; as such they should be at the top of your requirements when deciding on the right education programs for your children.