Identifying how to build a strong foundation for our youngest learners
The upcoming Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) is an ideal opportunity for Prep teachers to share knowledge about their students with communities and government.
From Monday 3 May to Friday 30 July, the fifth national AEDC data collection will collect information from Prep teachers to build a comprehensive picture of how well children are faring as they start school.
This data can help schools and communities identify areas of strength and vulnerability and implement suitable programs and interventions as early as possible.
Turning data into action
One example of how AEDC data proved crucial is the story of a rural Victorian principal who had concerns about the oral language skills of students entering Prep.
The AEDC data for the local area revealed the problems facing these children and their families were far more complex than oral language skills alone.
Poverty and lack of access to services in the area meant children were disadvantaged across multiple domains, in addition to struggling with oral language.
The principal reached out to a range of community services and organisations - including council early years, health, education, and family support services to determine the best way forward.
With evidence the problems were starting far earlier than school, a playgroup was set up so early relationships could be established with families. The school was then better able to anticipate student needs as they transitioned into Prep.
The playgroup currently has up to 60 children attending.
The playgroup also provided an opportunity to encourage families to attend services such as the Maternal and Child Health Service checks, so early interventions could be made where necessary.
The school was also able to use its equity funding to employ an occupational therapist and a speech therapist for its students.
About the AEDC
The AEDC measures children's development across five developmental domains known to be good predictors of adult health, education and social outcomes:
- physical health and wellbeing
- social competence
- emotional maturity
- language and cognitive skills (school-based)
- communication skills and general knowledge.
The fifth national AEDC data collection will take place from Monday 3 May to Friday 30 July 2021.
In April, teachers will receive an information pack with instructions on how to participate.
Find out more
For more information, please contact the Department's AEDC Coordinator, Cathie Nolan: