Investigating Quality in Early Childhood Education and Care
To develop rich, nuanced and multi-perspective understandings about what constitutes and contributes to high quality early childhood education and care (ECEC).
To play a leading role in establishing and implementing coherent national research agenda aimed at providing the comprehensive range evidence needed for informed and effective policy decision-making in relation to ensuring quality ECEC.
There is an urgent need for national, cross disciplinary research, from multiple perspectives, into the quality of ECEC provision and outcomes for children and communities given the:
- large numbers of children attending ECEC, including many with special needs;
- importance of quality to outcomes for all children and communities, but particularly vulnerable children and communities;
- complexities inherent in understanding what actually constitutes quality and the relatively narrow range of existing tools used to measure quality;
- omission of children's perspectives about what constitutes quality, including the perspectives of vulnerable children;
concerns about the effectiveness of current accreditation processes;
- the development of a mixed economy for ECEC provision dominated by the commercial and corporate sectors, when international research evidence indicates that for-profit provision is likely to be of lower quality than not-for-profit provision;
- lack of large scale and intensive, in-depth Australian research focusing primarily on quality;
- paucity of publicly available, readily accessible and transparent data about quality; and
- consequent inability to gauge the impact of varying levels of quality for children and communities.
We use multi-perspective, 'mosaic' approaches that involve garnering the perspectives of service users (children, parents, the broader community), service providers (employers, staff), policy makers (government, related bodies, NGO's) and other relevant stakeholders (e.g., unions) and piecing together diverse data to provide a comprehensive picture of what we currently know about quality in ECEC and what we need to find out.
We utilise a range of methodologies, including policy analysis; quantitative analysis of data sets held by government organisations that are not readily accessible, as well as publicly available secondary data; and case studies.
We have particular expertise in relation to ECEC provision in rural and regional Australia.
We are keen to build and strengthen alliances with external stakeholders and to foster national and international research collaborations.
- Professor Jennifer Sumsion
- Associate Professor Linda Harrison
- Professor Sharynne McLeod
- Ms Frances Press
- Professor Ben Bradley
- Dr Laura Piazza
- Tamara Cummings
- Tina Stratigos
- Kathryn Bown
- Clare Britt
- Sandra Cheeseman
- Sheena Elwick
- Helen Logan
- Jacqueline Barr
- Kelly-Ann Tribolet
- Kathryn Crowe
- Jane McCormack
- Noelene Hickey