A new foundation for more consistent and united education for child protection, health, education and other early childhood services will help to bridge widening gaps in Australia.
The Interdisciplinary Education for Early Years framework, led by Flinders University, is a catalyst for creating uniform educational standards across the multiple professions involved in early childhood (birth to five years old) services.
“We hope that the research-based resources will be used across many disciplines, by educators, lecturers, tutors, and program leaders, as a tool for embedding shared outcomes for children,” says Flinders University Associate Professor Julian Grant, who says the early years in a child’s life largely determines future outcomes.
“The recent Child Protection Systems Royal Commission in South Australia shines the light on the need for more efficient and connected provision of services to children, particularly in the vulnerable early years,” says Associate Professor Grant from Flinders School of Nursing and Midwifery.
“These new resources aim to set uniform national standards and curriculum guidelines for all professions, from child-care workers and teachers through the medical and social services.”
The first two of three resources are now freely available online for use in practical and theoretical course components to improve interdisciplinary practice standards.
Research from the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth has called for major reforms in early childhood care and education to help close the widening gap between Australia’s highest and lowest performing students; a gap wider than in many other wealthy OECD nations.
The National Early Childhood Development Strategy says a highly educated early childhood multidisciplinary workforce is essential to improve health, education and welfare outcomes for Australia’s children.
Feedback is being sought on the third and final resource package, which covers interdisciplinary standards for working with children from birth to five years. To participate go to the link here.
The new resources, developed over the past 18 months with input from all the professions involved, as well as workers and families, create Australia’s first set of standards incorporating all professions which work with children in the early years.
A self-evaluation tool for educators will help assess their integration of interdisciplinary concepts and materials into their programs.
A series of workshops for educators will be held across partner states in July and August.
The project was funded by the Federal Government’s former Office for Learning and Teaching.