The Front Project is committed to addressing disadvantage by:
- making sure every child can access early learning, and
- improving the quality of the care and education they receive.
Early childhood education sets children up for life by building social and emotional skills and supporting brain development when their minds are growing the most. It also helps parents work and continue careers, which supports families to be healthy and safe, communities to flourish and economies to be strong.
Every year, over 60,000 Australian children – one in five – start school with significant vulnerabilities. These children miss out the foundational abilities that early learning develops, such as stabilising emotions, communicating and forming relationships with teachers and other children, and foundational literacy and maths skills like recognising patterns and understanding stories. Some children are at higher risk of being vulnerable, particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, children in low income households and children in regional and remote communities.
Children who attend quality early learning are much less likely to be developmentally vulnerable when they start school. For children experiencing disadvantage, this can mean developing the foundational social, cognitive and self-regulation skills to succeed in school, find steady work and break a cycle of generational disadvantage. This also prevents downstream costs of children not getting a good start in life, like the current $15.2 billion cost of children’s intensive and crisis services, and the lifetime costs of poor health and mental health, and low education.
More than one in six children in Australia live in poverty and one of the most effective ways to reduce child poverty is by helping women to work. Providing all families with equal access to quality care and education for their children will help more parents and carers to work, and reduce child poverty in Australia.
Increasing the number of children who start school on-track to learn, with the capabilities to understand instructions, think about information in new ways and form relationships with teachers and other students, is one of our best strategies to boost educational achievement and change a child’s life trajectory. When more individuals contribute to communities, whole societies and nations benefit from their success – including a double dividend on investment.