Tasmanian children are benefitting from innovative schemes introduced as a result of the Gillard Government’s Australian Early Development Index (AEDI), Minister for Early Childhood Peter Garrett said today.
Mr Garrett was in the Hobart to visit the Oceana Health and Fitness Centre to celebrate the success of the Early Years Water Awareness Program which was implemented as a result of Tasmania’s 2009 AEDI results.
“The AEDI is the world’s most comprehensive collection of information about the development of children, and the second national data collection is currently underway in classrooms right across Australia,” Mr Garrett said.
“Thousands of schools have already submitted their data which will help governments and communities better understand the overall education, health and wellbeing of Australia’s children.
“The data collection results can help schools, communities and governments to find out how children are developing, so they can make decisions which make a real difference to the lives of young children and their families.
“For example, the Early Years Water Awareness Program was created after the 2009 AEDI data showed that there were a higher proportion of Tasmanian children developmentally vulnerable on the physical health and wellbeing domain as compared with the national average.
“This play-based program is a fun and clever opportunity which boosts the confidence and social skills of children by teaching families how to keep their children safe around water.
“In all areas of society we are seeing a range of exciting and innovative ideas being developed in direct response to the AEDI.
“Following the success of the first national data collection in 2009, there have been a range of initiatives developed in direct response to the AEDI, from a Reading Bug project in the Logan-Beaudesert region of Queensland to the Early Links to Learning Playgroup in the Australian Capital Territory.”
The Australian Government will invest more than $22.3 billion, nationally, in early childhood education and care over the next four years, more than triple the investment made during the last four years of the previous Government.
Member for Franklin Julie Collins said the state was benefitting from this record investment.
“The Gillard Government is providing $20.4 million over five years to assist the Tasmanian Government in the delivery of fifteen hours of preschool or kindergarten for every child by 2013,” Ms Collins said.
“We’re building Children and Family Centres and two new Early Learning and Care Centres to support Tasmanian families during the earliest years of their child’s life.
“And Tasmanian parents have received $68.5 million through the Child Care Rebate and the Child Care Benefit, helping keep child care costs affordable for families.
“The Gillard Government is committed to giving every Tasmanian child the best start in life.”
The 2012 AEDI data collection will be completed by 31 July, with results expected to be announced in early 2013.
For more information on the AEDI, visit: www.aedi.org.au.