Why do we need an Australian Declaration for Young Children?
Early childhood development and learning is a broad-ranging and complex field. It is therefore critical that we are all clear about what is known and can be trusted as good quality evidence to underpin policy and practice.
In 2017 more than 100 leading Australian early childhood researchers, policymakers and practitioners were invited to contribute to the development of a Declaration (of evidence) for Young Children. A specialised research technique called the Delphi Process was used by CoLab to engage these stakeholders in a consensus process to collate and consolidate key research findings and recommended actions. The outcome of this process is The Australian Declaration for Young Children which outlines the robust evidence expert researchers have repeatedly shown about early childhood, and the actions needed to improve children’s outcomes in the early years.
The Declaration pledges a long term commitment to significantly improve young children’s development and learning by jointly advancing the agenda for early childhood policy and practice, particularly for families experiencing adversity.
Of the 100 invited, 78 stakeholders contributed to the content of the Declaration. CoLab was able to establish broad agreement and expert validation on the key understandings and critical actions.
Organisations including ARACY, Child Australia, the Commissioner for Children and Young People WA, Playgroup WA, the Mitchell Institute, the Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Speech Pathology Australia, Valuing Children Initiative and WACOSS have pledged their support for the Declaration.
The Declaration will inform a report that CoLab is preparing that will describe the current gaps in early childhood research and what policy and practice areas need support. This will guide CoLab in its future work.
Read the Declaration and Evidence for Action in full.