Creating a vision of the future that ensures all children and families can benefit of quality, equitable and accessible ECEC.
The Front Project makes four recommendations for a National Vision of Early Childhood Education (ECEC) in Australia. We applaud the intention of the National Vision, and we believe it reflects the high-level strategic need for a broad, unifying statement of purpose for ECEC. The current Draft Vision would benefit from more consultation around four core areas.
- First, to consider re-framing much of the Vision to put children at its core. Additional benefits arising from the ECEC reforms, such as increased workforce participation are important, but overemphasised in the current Draft.
- Second, to add greater nuance to how systems stewardship is reflected in the Vision. The desire to adopt a systems stewardship approach in ECEC is very welcome and could yield major gains in achieving the Vision and forthcoming Early Year Strategy. We encourage broadening conceptions of which actors are important stewards in this Vision.
- Third, we would encourage a re-framing of entitlements in the ECEC Vision towards the child. The current focus rests more on the entitlements of parents as key beneficiaries in the ECEC system. While we recognise the multiple beneficiaries in the ECEC system, we believe the Vision should clarify the fundamental importance of putting entitlements to children first.
- Finally, the National Vision for ECEC should be more clearly positioned in relation to the outcomes from the national Early Years Summit. This would make the Vision more strategically relative to the Summit and integrate a high-level national approach to ECEC and the Early Years more broadly. We commend the role of National Cabinet, and the Vision of Federal, State and Territory Education Ministers for their leadership in developing this Vision and offer our support in the shared goal of a thriving ECEC system and a happier present and future for all children.