Early Childhood Education

Publication Date



Unpublished paper presented at the National Education Forum Conference, Brisbane, June 24th, 2006.


At no time in the recent past has there been such keen interest in early childhood education. Finally, the decades of research showing the benefits of strong, rich early childhood programs on children's development and learning have captured community attention. Quality early childhood programs help children reach key developmental milestones and close learning gaps. At some point though, discussion on benefits and values must translate into vision, policy and action. This presentation is intended to highlight key issues facing early childhood education, to stress the importance getting the right mix of early childhood services, and to foreshadow some policy directions for the future. It flags the important role of schools and other segments of the education market in the early childhood 'debate' and in shaping early childhood policy and practice.