Changing the ECEC system to address disadvantage

The diagram below explains how the Front Project actively works to reduce disadvantage by improving quality and access to early childhood education. 



ECEC has the potential to set children up for life, especially those experiencing disadvantage. It helps build vital social and emotional skills and supports development.

Children who experience disadvantage are being held back by our current system, further entrenching them in cycles of disadvantage, rather than providing them with the learning, development and financial security outcomes they need.

ECEC also has an important role beyond children, supporting parents to work, helping communities to flourish and strengthening the economy.

 The challenge


There are flaws in the design of Australia’s ECEC system that will result in children either not receiving enough or missing out entirely on early learning. In addition, the quality level of early learning services can vary considerably. As a result, one in five children – two in five Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children – experience educational disadvantage by the time they start school.

 Causes of the challenge


There is no one issue in the system that is creating disadvantage, the problem is caused by the intersection of multiple issues at play. And behind every issue, there are different components of the system that need adjusting.

 Addressing the challenge


The most effective way of removing issues across systems is by working towards systemic change. This means tackling the system from multiple angles, to adjust the components that create issues and change the outcomes that the system produces.

 How the Front Project changes the system


The Front Project works across the entire early learning system, connecting with people who work in and on the system, to iteratively shift the issues that cause disadvantage.

Our work involves publishing research and policy advice, advocating for change, building relationships with government, the ECEC sector, businesses and communities, supporting ECEC educators to enhance their skills and become teachers, and equipping people to become champions for change.



As we identify and shift the issues across the system, we can realise the full potential of ECEC and reduce disadvantage