Children's early learning advocate joins Goodstart
Ensuring quality early learning programs are available to all children of all backgrounds is a passion for Goodstart Early Learning’s Yvonne Ries.
The not-for-profit organisation’s national social policy manager, who has stepped in to the shoes of Myra Geddes while she on paternity leave, believes early learning is essential.
“I believe that the early education of children is critical on an economical and moral basis,” Ms Ries said.
“The investment in to the wellbeing of children is the greatest investment anyone can ever make and it makes sense both economically and socially. Investment in the early years yields the greatest returns and benefits accrue far beyond the current generation,” Ms Ries said.
She has joined Goodstart from the Queensland Government’s Department of Education and Training where she was involved in the development of the National Law and led the development of the state-based legislation for those services excluded from the National Law.
She has played key roles in negotiating and finalising the National Partnership Agreements on the National Quality Agenda and Universal Access. She has also been involved in analysing the Jobs for Families legislation and identifying what the proposed changes mean for Queensland families.
“I was fortunate to have been granted 12 months leave from the government because they saw the benefit of me coming to work with one of our key stakeholders and in turn, taking the knowledge back,” Ms Ries said.
Studies show one in five Australian school children start school developmentally vulnerable in at least one area such as communication, cognitive skills or language. Studies also show children who fail to develop adequate learning skills early on can struggle to learn in the classroom in later years.
“The most critical development time for children is in the early years,” Ms Ries said. “It really does set children up for the future and means less interventions are required down the track.
“However, lower socio economic groups are more vulnerable and disadvantaged children benefit the most from participation in an early learning program.
“These are often the areas in our society who can’t afford early learning and my goal is to see guaranteed universal free access to an early learning program for all children aged four and above.”
Ms Ries said she would also like to see three-year-old children offered a free quality early learning program, and for there to be more recognition of the rapid brain development in zero to three year olds.
Ms Ries, who studied law and commerce at university, is a mum of four children aged 14, 12, 10 and five years old and spends most weekends running them around to their different sporting activities and catching up with friends and family.
“I am truly excited to be here,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity to see things from the largest service provider perspective, particularly when the organisations values are so closely aligned to my own.”