25 Jun 2020

The importance of school readiness education post-COVID-19


Australia has experienced unprecedented disruptions to everyday life as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, not least of which has been the disruption to children’s education. For many educators and governments this has provided sharp focus to the importance of the educational experiences of our children in the vital time before they commence primary school.

Research continues to provide evidence that the education your child receives in the years before they commence primary school is the most important education they will receive. Children who have access to high quality early learning programs that are focussed on developing key social, emotional and academic foundation for children are an essential ingredient to a successful beginning in primary school.

In fact, Australian Naplan results and research continue to indicate that children who have at least one year of access to a high quality early learning program do better than their peers who have not had access to such a program. Interestingly the most recent research also shows that children who have two years access to a high quality early learning program do better than those children who have had one year of a high quality early learning program as well as those who have had no access. Most importantly the evidence reinforces that children who start school ahead, tend to stay in front, right throughout their primary schooling years (Fox & Gettes, 2016; Heckman 2005).
 
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Against this evidence, it is so important that children between the ages of 3 and 5 have access to a high quality early learning program, delivered by qualified teachers and educators. These teachers must be skilled in teaching children foundational social and academic skills, stretching their thinking and developing the right dispositions for learning they will need for their future.

We have a significant focus in our Lifelong Learning Centres to make these outcomes our teaching priority for our children in our 3-5-year-old rooms. We have increased this focus during the COVID19 disruption to ensure that as children re-engage with their early learning programs, we are zeroing in on making sure the disruptions that have occurred do not have a detrimental impact on their outcomes and overall learning development.

Across our network, we are encouraging families to maintain their child's early education, and increase attendance if possible, to ensure that their child is making the most of everyday to develop their foundational learning, and set themselves up for success in the schooling years to come.

Learn more about our high quality Kindergarten and Preschool programs that prepare our children for school.

Article written by Dr Lesley Jones, Senior Pedagogy and Practice, Affinity Education Group.

References:
Fox, S and Geddes, M. (2016). Preschool - Two Years are Better Than One: Developing a Preschool Program for Australian 3 Year Olds – Evidence, Policy and Implementation, Mitchell Institute Policy Paper No. 03/2016. Mitchell Institute, Melbourne. Available from: www.mitchellinstitute.org.au
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Supporting families in response to COVID-19 Coronavirus

Updated 14 July 2020: Across Australia, our child care centres remain open and operating in line with our COVID-19 Step Down Plan and have implemented extensive health and hygiene practices.