SA Education Department outlines broad strokes of new Early Learning Strategy
Representatives from the South Australian Department for Education have outlined the broad strokes of the State Government’s new $50.1 million Early Learning Strategy, which centres around greater access to child development professionals, easier connections for parents with increased support for playgroups and a significant investment in South Australia’s nation leading preschool system.
At the centrepiece of the strategy is a $35.1 million investment to expand the reach, frequency and number of child development checks, based on findings that approximately a quarter of the state’s children begin schooling developmentally vulnerable.
Currently South Australian families are offered a universal home visit for their baby from the Child and Family Health Service (CaFHS) soon after birth, with milestone checks offered at 6-9 months, 18-24 months and at preschool. Unfortunately, many parents are not aware of or do not take up the opportunity to utilise these checks.
The extra child development checks aim to make sure children are developmentally on track when they start school by identifying any issues early so families can receive support as soon as they need it.
The schedule will be widened to include additional checks at 12 months and three years of age. Increased monitoring of children’s developmental milestones from birth to school age will reduce undiagnosed developmental delays in children entering the education system, the Department said.
As well as the expanded reach and frequency of child development checks, this new investment will allow the Department to:
- give parents easy access to tips and resources to support their child’s development;
- provide teachers with new resources to build on the high-quality learning and development in every public preschool; and,
- provide strategic vision and direction across the early years system through a new Office for the Early Years in the Department for Education.
The Early Learning Strategy accounts for flexibility and growth as it moves through its 10-year life to suit the needs of an ever-changing community, a spokesperson said.
For more information on the work of the Department please see here.