“What will Australia’s ECEC system look like after COVID-19?”
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“What will Australia’s ECEC system look like after COVID-19?”

by Jason Roberts

May 19, 2020

The Front Project, the independent national enterprise that commissioned Australia’s first economic analysis of universal early childhood education in the year before school has, in light of the unprecedented challenges brought to bear by COVID-19, confirmed a shift in focus towards understanding the impact of COVID-19 on the sector, including what Australia’s early childhood education and care (ECEC) system might look like after the outbreak has passed and the conditions and practices needed to ensure a sustainable, high-quality and high-impact early childhood education system prevails.


Commenting Jane Hunt, CEO of The Front Project said “The outbreak of COVID-19 has highlighted both the strengths and limitations of our ECEC systems in Australia. It is essential for us to better understand the changes this pandemic will inevitably bring so we are able to support the delivery of a post COVID-19 ECEC system that maximises the quality, equity and accessibility of early childhood education and care for all children.”


As an initial focus The Front Project will consider the potential impacts of the current social and economic landscape on the ECEC sector by commissioning modeling that will aid understanding how COVID-19 has impacted ECEC and what policy measures may be required to amplify positive outcomes and mitigate negative ones. 


In addition, The Front Project team has launched a survey of teachers and educators who are currently working in the sector to understand the direct experiences they are having and their ideas for improvement. 


The survey is part of The Front Project’s wide-ranging collaboration with people who have direct and indirect experience with Australia’s ECEC sector, from educators to operators, to policymakers and more, to better understand what their aspirations are for the future in light of their lived experience through COVID-19 and commitment to a better future. 


Ms Hunt notes that “We know that system issues can only be improved if we understand the multiple experiences and thoughts of those who encounter, work in and work on the early learning system and we are well-placed to bring together all of the important ideas from across the sector as well as from employers and businesses.” 


The combination of economic modeling and stakeholder responses when combined will create an invaluable snapshot of multiple possible futures for the ECEC sector in Australia which in turn will facilitate the design of recommendations to inform policies that will ultimately support better outcomes for all children in Australia. 


“We are bringing together all of these insights and preparing pragmatic solutions for governments to be able to provide the support the sector needs now and as we move out of COVID-19” Ms Hunt said. 


Call to action – Participate in The Front Project ECT and Educator survey now

The ECT and educator survey is a key part of the collaborative work being undertaken by The Front Project team. They are conducting this survey to ensure the voices of early childhood teachers (ECTs) and educators are at the forefront of their work to achieve a better system for ECEC after COVID-19. 


The survey asks ECTs and educators what they see as the strengths of the sector, as well as where they would like to have more support or see improvement and is completely anonymous.  


The Front Project will publish the final results online.


The survey is now live and the team will start analysing responses immediately, so they can raise ideas from ECTs and Educators when they have opportunities to connect with the Government. 


To participate in the survey please click here


To learn more about how The Front Project is supporting the ECEC sector during COVID-19, please click here

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