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Home >  News & advice > Early learning - Our best investment

Early learning - Our best investment


Posted by Goodstart
30 November 2015

Children around the world are now reaping the benefits of a growing understanding that investing today in high quality early learning for very young children can pay huge dividends as they grow. At the moment Australia ranks a lowly 20th out of the 40 countries in the OECD on spending on early learning and 25th out of 40 on the percentage of 3-5 year olds enrolled in early learning. We know that an investment now in our youngest learners is an investment in our economy and in the future of our nation. This short info-graphic highlights some of the research showing the value of quality early learning for all children …


Early learning
helps make children school ready

Helps make children school ready

Children who start school behind often stay behind.

Children who attend early learning are one third less likely to start school behind.

Chart 1

Quality early learning gives children the skills to set them up for the best possible start to school.

Source: AEDC:


Early learning
helps right through the school years

Helps right through the school years

A European Longitudinal Study showed that 16 year-olds scored 51 points higher in final exams if they attended a quality preschool.

That's the difference between B grades rather than C grades.

Success at school
Success at school
Success at school

Source: EPPE project:


Qualified early learning educators make a difference

Qualified early learning teachers make a difference

A recent study showed children who had a qualified educator scored 15-30 points higher in year 3 NAPLAN tests.

Chart 3

Year 3 NAPLAN Score by Preschool Teacher Qualification (Means)

Source: Warren D & Haisken–DeNew, 2013


Starting early makes a difference too

More early learning = better outcomes

Studies show children in Year 4 who attended three or more years of early learning score 40-50 points higher than those with no early learning, and 20-30 points higher than those with just one year.

Chart 4

Number of years of attendance in pre–primary education and average achievement levels in international testing, Year 4 students in Australia, 2011.

Source: COAG Reform Council, Education in Australia 2012


Early learning
improves a child's development

Improves a child's development

Research shows that quality early learning can advance a child’s development in these areas by as much as 6-7 months above average.

Chart 5

Source: Education Endowment Foundation Early Years Toolkit


Early learning
is simply a great investment

Is simply a great investment

Nobel Prize winning economist James Heckman says investing in early learning is one of the most cost-effective investments a nation can make.

The first five years of life is when most of a child's brain development occurs.

Chart 6

Return per dollar invested in children and young people aged birth to 18+ years

Source: Pedro Carneiro, James Heckman, Human Capital Policy, 2003.


Put your hand up for affordable, quality early learning

The Federal Government is promising to spend billions of extra dollars on childcare and early learning. But there is a risk it could get caught up in political fighting and horse-trading. Let’s make sure it gets through.

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