Childcare, day care, kindergarten, preschool, early education and early learning are all used to describe early childhood education and care – or ECEC – in Australia.

Early childhood education and care (ECEC) supports children aged 0-6 to learn how to think, build foundational skills for life, have greater well-being and broaden their worlds.

Accounting for over $8.5 billion in wages spent in the 2019–20 financial year and with an annual growth of 3.7 per cent (2015–20), the ECEC sector has great significance for Australia’s economy, and for the families and communities of the estimated 1 million children who attend early learning in Australia.


Understanding ECEC

It is important to understand how the ECEC system operates so we can optimise its potential.


Effective ECEC

We have determined eight vital components that together enable a high-quality, high-impact ECEC system.


History in Australia

Australia’s ECEC system has a long history of contributing to improving outcomes for children, families and our nation.