The quality of early childhood education and care services in Australia

Collette Tayler
Karin Ishimine
Dan Cloney
University of Melbourne

Gordon Cleveland
University of Toronto

Karen Thorpe
Queensland University of Technology

This paper reports conclusions about the quality of early childhood education and care (ECEC) services from E4Kids, a large-scale longitudinal study of three types of ECEC services in two Australian states. A little more than 250 preschool classrooms had complete data in 2010; two measures of ECEC quality were applied—the CLASS and selected subscales of the ECERS-R. Overall, Australian ECEC averaged in the medium range on most measured components of quality, with the exception of personal care routines and instructional support. We found evidence that average quality in ECEC in the E4Kids study varies systematically across the type of service, with kindergartens having significantly higher quality than long day care centres. Australian ECEC quality was found to be broadly similar to that in the United States and United Kingdom: slightly weaker in terms of the developmental appropriateness of classroom practices assessed through ECERS-R, slightly stronger than the United States in the areas of classroom organisation and instructional support.

Australasian Journal of Early Childhood—Volume 38 No 2 June 2013
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