In their early years, children have the ability to accurately produce all sounds of all languages, to mimic a near-perfect accent, which makes it an optimal time for learning a second language.
Learning languages early makes multilingualism “normal” in classrooms and playgrounds, and builds curiosity and even modest mastery.
While it’s important to recognise the gains we have made, there is also more that needs to be done to have an effective ECEC system.
Overall, we've seen huge improvements, particularly for children aged three to five years, but now we need a universal approach to quality education and care for our youngest children.
Australia still lags behind comparable OECD countries in the participation of younger children – particularly three year olds.
Despite good progress in recent years, there is still more to do, including improving access to early childhood education for three-year-olds.
Simon Birmingham said the Turnbull government has ‘already had great success in terms of reducing the rate of price growth’.
The education minister says that under Labor there were child care price spikes of up to 14% over a 12 month period, but under the Coalition those have fallen to "around 6% on average". Is that right?
A pre-school class in Nairobi, Kenya.
Kenyans need to be wary of early learning centres that pressure children with academic drills.
How much screen time should kids get?
Yan Chi Vinci Chow
Research shows that preschool children take characters from popular television shows and movies and blend them together to create complex oral stories.
Children need more than one day per week of preschool education to feel secure, build relationships and support learning.
Under new legislation, children from low-income families will receive just 12 hours of early learning support a week, adding to the risk of these children falling behind their peers at school.
What children learn in their first 2000 days of life is the most vital, so early learning shouldn’t be dismissed as babysitting.
The reorganisation of federal ministerial portfolios this week moved early childhood education and care from social services to education. This is a good thing.
Children need to get involved in classroom decisions that affect them, rather than just answering questions when prompted to do so.
Thomas Mukoya /Reuters
At its simplest, participation is about allowing children to get involved in making decisions that affect their own lives and their own learning experiences.
Cuts to funding in education and research shows a lack of planning for the future.
You could be forgiven for thinking that education was left largely untouched in Tuesday’s federal budget. But the tinkerings to last year's education budget still mean a "fail" for education funding.
Declining test scores, dwindling participation in maths and science, and too few in early learning: just three of the ways Australia is failing in education.
Australia's facing a slow decline in most educational standards and few are aware just how bad the situation is getting.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has pointed to Canada as the best model of early learning, but he doesn’t understand the full benefit.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has pointed to Canada as the best model of early learning, but he doesn't understand the full benefit.
A combination of education and care makes Sweden’s early childhood education so much better than Australia’s.
Most people have heard that Finland leads the world in education, but fewer have heard that Finland’s neighbour, Sweden, is the international leader in early childhood education and care.
The Productivity Commission’s focus is less on quality early learning and more about where to put the kids while the folks are at work.
The long-awaited report to government by the Productivity Commission on Childcare and Early Childhood Learning is a disappointment for the sector. The report ignored what leading experts in education and…
The government has foreshadowed they’ll announce a “families package” next year, what form should it take?
There are a lot of babies around, and the numbers are increasing. However, Australia does not have coherent policies that recognise the effect of parenting on workforce participation and vice versa. Parenting…
Research shows children in early learning benefit from having a stable relationship with one teacher, but with 180 qualified early learning teachers leaving every week, that can be difficult to maintain.
Last year in an open letter to the prime minister and the leader of the opposition, early childhood employers and peak bodies joined forces to ask for a commitment to early learning. They warned the political…
Means-testing the child care rebate means some families are paying twice since their taxes already support education.
Recent media reports suggest that the Productivity Commission into Child Care and Early Childhood Learning will recommend that the simplified single-payment child-care rebate is means-tested. This is not…
The Productivity Commission contains many positive measures for Early Childhood Learning, but are they implementable?
The recommendations of the Productivity Commission into Childcare and Early Learning appear to be a win for early childhood learning. However, as with many reports such as this, the devil is in the detail…
iPads are fun but can distract.
Adults and youngsters are willing to queue overnight to get their hands on the latest product release from Apple and children appear to be drawn to iPads because of the immediate feedback they get when…
Dinosaurs are real, believe me.
Mother with baby/Shutterstock
Mass media such as books, TV, and the internet are key sources of information, allowing us to increase our knowledge by learning indirectly about things we’ve never directly experienced. Is this true for…