Researching education: 5 further readings on data and improvement in early childhood education and care

Welcome to this month's edition of Researching education: 5 further readings. In this series, we take a look at some further readings available on a particular topic, including open access research papers from various online databases, and Teacher archive content you might not have come across yet.

Quality improvement in early childhood education and care (ECEC) starts with robust data collection. But how data is analysed and utilised in education is crucial to achieving meaningful improvement through evidence-based practice. In this edition of Researching education: 5 further readings, we’re sharing 5 readings on the topic of data and improvement in ECEC from researchers in Australia.

  1. Early childhood data in Australia. Published by the Australian Education Research Organisation, this report explores how ECEC data can better be used to communicate to key stakeholders what is still needed to improve ECEC in Australia. The report outlines a number of opportunities for improved data use, listing where each relevant data set can be located, which questions should be addressed and the challenges and opportunities involved in implementing each recommendation.
  2. 2021 Early Childhood Education and Care National Workforce Census report. Last month the Social Research Centre in Australia published a new report presenting data from the latest cycle of the Early Childhood Education and Care National Workforce Census. The census data comprise responses from child care services on staff, service usage, children with additional needs and access to preschool programs. Designed to address information gaps in administrative data sources, the census findings will inform government policies and initiatives in responding to areas for improvement in Australia’s ECEC settings.
  3. Early childhood educators’ well-being, work environments and ‘quality’: Possibilities for changing policy and practice. In this journal article, researchers from Charles Sturt University and Macquarie University in Australia argue the need to redefine what comprises a ‘high quality’ workforce in ECEC settings, and how it is shaped not only by workers’ competencies and skills but also by their wellbeing. The authors emphasise the need to look to evidence-based research to inform quality improvement in ECEC.
  4. Starting now: The first steps to delivering the best early childhood system for Australia. The Centre for Policy Development has published a new report highlighting the key areas of need in improving the quality of ECEC in Australia through a 12-month roadmap for system-level change. The paper recommends action in 3 key areas: the availability and affordability of ECEC for parents and carers; the quality of jobs for early childhood carers and educators; and the appointment of a reform task force and productivity commissioner to undertake a national mission to establish a universal early childhood system.
  5. Securing children’s future: Nordic-style investment needed in early years learning. A new report from the Australia Institute’s Nordic Policy Centre analyses the state of ECEC services in Australia compared to other OECD countries, looking to successful programs in Switzerland, Denmark and Norway as exemplars. The report makes key recommendations for an upcoming federal review of Australia’s ECEC sector to include proportional price caps for childcare, government divestment in private providers and reinvestment in non-for-profit providers, and targeted salary support to attract and retain ECEC staff.

Some of the resources featured in this article can be found through Cunningham Library Catalogue and EdResearch Online. At the links below, you can search for more resources on the topic of data and improvement in ECEC in these 2 online databases.

You can also browse other topics at this page.

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