UOW Early Start secures funding to undertake Early Learning @ Home project

by Freya Lucas

August 13, 2020

The University of Wollongong (UOW) Early Start program, along with key partners in Early Childhood Australia and Playgroup Australia, has been successful with its application to the Ian Potter Foundation for $190,0000 over two years to undertake the Early Learning @ Home project.

 

The project will be led by Associate Professor Jane Herbert , Leanne Gibbs and Professor Marc de Rosnay from the University, who will work closely with Dr Kate Highfield from Early Childhood Australia and Nadeen Lee from Playgroup Australia.

 

Early Learning @ Home will be an online platform to support families with their young children’s (birth to five years) learning in the home environment. The home environment was chosen,  Professor de Rosnay said because “home is the first and most important environment for a young child’s learning, development and wellbeing, but with the extra pressure families and early childhood education centres are under at the moment, support is needed.” 

 

Early Learning @ Home will be an online platform to support families with their children’s learning in the home environment, with a focus on the years from birth to five. 

 

With a focus on play-based learning and the family’s role in early development, the platform will include:

 

  • High quality, evidence-based content encompassing experiences across all developmental domains aligned with the Australian Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) and World Health Organisation (WHO) Guidelines for Physical Activity.
  • Content that takes into account the needs of families from Aboriginal and other cultural backgrounds, and those experiencing economic and geographic vulnerability.
  • Multimodal content that respects family education, culture and ability.

 

The content will be free for families, and for those who work with young children, including early childhood education and playgroup programs, Early Start CEO Anita Kumar said.

 

“This,” she continued, “is so important as it means all families and centres, no matter their circumstances, will have access to quality learn-from-home materials.”

 

Early Learning @ Home will amplify the impact of information already shared with families, while also creating new content and enhancing the capacity of the early childhood education and playgroup sector to support the home learning environment.

 

Ms Kumar said she was excited by the potential reach of the project, which has the potential to help families in regional and remote areas access high quality learning, overcoming the greater challenges they face in accessing high-quality early childhood education and resources. The COVID-19 pandemic has compounded these challenges and the sustainability of services is under threat in many communities.

 

An advisory committee will work alongside project leaders to ensure the content is appropriate and inclusive. Committee members will include representatives from AbSec, Evidence for Learning (Social Ventures Australia), Raising Children Network and First Steps Count Taree as well as others as the project progresses.

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