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Research at Goodstart

Rigorous and robust research is essential. Goodstart's priority research areas are focused on what makes the most positive difference for child outcomes.

Goodstart acknowledges that rigorous and robust research is essential to continuous improvement and the delivery of high-quality early childhood education and care.

Research Priorities

At Goodstart, our purpose is for all children to have the learning, development, and wellbeing outcomes they need for school and life.

Our research goals are:

  • To create better early childhood education environments for children and families through evidence-informed practice;
  • For Goodstart educators to benefit from meaningful participation in research and evaluation; and
  • To generate and disseminate evidence that leads to better policy and practice.

Our priority research areas are focused on what makes the most positive difference for child outcomes.

Information for researchers

Studies on the developing human brain show that a quality early learning experience in the first five years will give a child the best possible start in life. These early learning and positive life experiences can have life-long benefits. Therefore, our organisation’s purpose to ensure children have the learning, development and wellbeing outcomes they need for school and life drives our research and evaluation activities.

The size and scale of our network means that Goodstart is uniquely positioned to commission and collaborate in research and evaluation that will increase knowledge about how best to support and optimise children’s learning, development and wellbeing – improving our national human capital potential well into the future.

Research proposals

All proposals to conduct research with Goodstart are initially considered on an individual basis by the National Research Manager in consultation with the relevant business area.

The initial criteria applied to research proposals includes, but is not limited to:

  • Does the proposed research aim to address Goodstart’s prioritisation of child outcomes; or, support a strategic goal?
  • Does the proposed research meet Goodstart’s principles and standards for research partnership?
  • What is the likely impact of research outcomes for early learning policy and the broader sector?
  • Is there organisational capacity to support the research?

Prospective researchers who would like to work with us are advised to contact the National Research Manager in the first instance.

COVID-19 Update for prospective researchers

Goodstart Early Learning acknowledges that the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to impact the children, families and educators across our centre communities for some time. 

For further information about research at Goodstart and/or advice about the eligibility of prospective research proposals, please contact

Evidence and Insights

As the largest provider of Early Childhood Education and Care in Australia, with services in every state and territory, we are uniquely placed to share our evidence and insights about what works best for which cohorts of children.

Goodstart commissions and collaborates in research to advance national and international research into early childhood education. We collaborate on research projects that will add to the early learning and care body of evidence, including but not limited to the following activities.

Goodstart Thought Leaders

Our Goodstart Thought Leaders Advisory Group is designed to fully engage the organisation with the best early learning research and thinking around the world.

Our Thought Leaders Advisory Group comprises leading national and international academics and sector leaders. Each year, group members engage with us around best-available evidence and how it can be most effectively inform Goodstart programs and services and how evidence can engage the sector, business and government to drive policy change that supports child development.

Goodstart Industry Fellowship

The Goodstart Research Fellowship is an innovative and unique position within Australian early childhood organisations. The inaugural position has been held by Professor Sandie Wong, Macquarie University, since 2016.

Working with Goodstart’s National Research Manager, Sandie conducts collaborative, applied and impactful research, that addresses current issues in early childhood education. This work includes research and evaluations of practices and programs within Goodstart, designed to improve the quality of experiences for children and families.

The Fellowship also contributes to research and dissemination of findings on the impact of ECEC on children’s learning, development and well-being, as well as research on the early childhood workforce, including educator well-being.

Evidence and Insights

The research we support and collaborate in reflects our investment in developing the quality of our data and in building our relationships with early childhood practitioners, Thought Leaders and other research experts so we can answer questions about what matters most in improving child outcomes. View further information on publications, projects and selected papers.

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