Early Childhood Education Analysis

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The quality of early childhood education and care provision has been the subject of ongoing debate in Australia for many years, with an increased focus on early childhood policy and provision (Brennan, 2007; Dahlberg, Moss, & Pence, 2007; Elliott, 2006; Fenech, Robertson, Sumsion, & Goodfellow, 2007; Howes, Phillips, & Whitebook, 1992). Brought about in part by the fragmented nature of childcare provision in Australia (Elliott, 2006), which was historically the responsibility of the respective state and territorial governments, with no clear curricula framework or licensing regulations across the various jurisdictions (Lee, 2007).

Despite the acknowledged importance of early childhood education and care for children’s development, the quality
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High-quality early childhood education experiences have the potential to improve young children’s early academic skills and learning-related behaviours, especially for children from disadvantaged backgrounds (Burchinal et al., 2015).

In an effort to address these issues and formally incorporate the early childhood sector into Australia’s educational system, the Commonwealth Government has, in recent years, introduced sweeping reforms designed to ‘professionalize’ early childhood education and care provision (DEEWR, 2014). These reforms were designed to replace the disparate licensing and regularity system previously administered by state and territory governments, which had impacted negatively on the overall structure of early childhood service provision in Australia (DEEWR,
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the implementation of an integrated and seamless system of licensing, regulation and accreditation within a national quality framework for early childhood education and care services;

b. the development of options for quality standards which could be applied in early childhood education and care settings; and

c. approach for the development of a quality rating system for early childhood education and care services (Stokes, 2012).

These initiatives included the introduction of the National Quality Framework (NQF) for early childhood education, which was implemented from January 2012, heralding a shift in the historic divide between ‘care’ and ‘education’ for children attending early childhood services in Australia, offering a more integrated system which combines both education and care (Durry, Miller & Campbell, 2013), under a structured, efficient and accountable system. In so doing, taking the first steps to formally recognizing the early childhood sector as an integral part of the educational system in Australia.

The primary objectives behind the introduction of the NQF is to ensure;

a. Health, wellbeing the safety of children attending education and care services;

b. Improved educational and developmental outcomes of children attending education and care
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