ACER review on ECEC interventions creates future planning map
The Sector > Research > Understanding Children > ACER review on ECEC interventions creates future planning map

ACER review on ECEC interventions creates future planning map

by Jason Roberts

September 10, 2019

The Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) has completed its review of the effectiveness of early childhood education and care (ECEC) interventions in low and middle income families with the aim of deepening their understanding of intervention effectiveness and applicability. 


The ACER’s Centre for Global Education Monitoring reviewed 109 studies from a spread of geographic regions, conducted over a 20 year period, from 1998 to 2017 that had examined the effectiveness of interventions and measured children’s outcomes, including cognitive, socio economical, language and motor development thereafter. 


The key results from the analysis of the studies were as follows:


  1. Doing something is better than doing nothing in ECEC – All types of interventions if of a certain quality can have a positive impact on early childhood development.
  2. Existing resources in communities can be leveraged for impact – Using resources within communities eg: programs that enhance parenting practices can be used to support children’s learning as required and have great impact. 
  3. Income supplementation can address barriers to access – Direct income supplementation interventions can help address barriers to early learning in the home environment.
  4. Whole of community approach is most effective – Integrated programs demonstrated that the most effective support for early learning requires a whole of community approach. 


Overall findings from the review confirm that robust research has been conducted over a breadth of contexts across the six category types of intervention study classification namely; income supplementation, parent focused, child focused education and nurturing care, integrated interventions, quality and comparative and that economically developing nations can learn a great deal from each other by transferring effective interventions and by continuing to adapt relevant interventions and research tools from the developed world. 


Looking forward the ACER – GEM team highlighted six action points going forwards:


  • build  the evidence base on ECEC interventions in the Pacific
  • focus on the measurement of learning outcomes as the evidence of the impact of interventions on children’s learning
  • increase the uptake of robust, cost-effective and fit-for-purpose measures of children’s learning
  • expand the evidence base on the effectiveness of income supplementation programs and the ways in which family income affects learning
  • deepen the evidence base in relation to parent-focused interventions – by identifying specific programs that contribute the most to a program’s effectiveness and can be replicated when scaled up
  • explain how impact occurs in child-focused ECEC interventions and improve understanding of optimal delivery options to meet the needs of diverse communities.


For more information on this study please click here

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