Reforming Australian early childhood education and care provision (2009–2015)

Collette Tayler
The University of Melbourne

In 2007, Australia commenced a national, systems-wide change to governing the quality of its early childhood education and care (ECEC) provision. The federal, state and territory levels of government agreed on a national vision for early childhood, a new learning framework, a national quality standard and a collective governance process for all childcare services, preschool-kinder programs and outside school hours care services that receive funding from governments. As with other federated countries, the context of ECEC in Australia is complex and varied both within and across localities, and inevitably, researchers, policy-makers and practitioners are required to consider and provide some account of children’s learning environments prior to school. As a point of reference, this paper provides an overview of the context of ECEC provision in Australia, a summary of core components of the National Quality Framework (NQF) and argument about the necessity of these reforms. Raising the quality of children’s early learning and development experiences is challenging, and systems change-fatigue becomes part of the landscape.

Australasian Journal of Early Childhood—Volume 41 Number 2 June 2016

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