The Victorian Government's establishment of the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development will integrate early childhood services and schools across Victoria. Three discussion papers are available to provide an overview of this process, to examine early childhood development and school reform. The discussion papers, An Overview, Early Childhood Development, and School Reform, outline the government's proposed strategic directions, possible actions and targets to ensure the education and early childhood service systems are best placed to meet the needs of children, young people and families into the future.
The Early Childhood Development Discussion paper outlines proposed priorities and actions for early childhood services from birth to eight years of age and provides a series of questions for comment.
A key focus proposed in the discussion paper is to develop a high-quality, coordinated service system with children aged 0-8 years of age at its centre. For Victorian families, the objectives are to ensure that:
- all children make steady and continuous progress along a learning and development pathway understood by parents
- parents in all locations can access coordinated early childhood learning, care and health services for their child
- children experiencing disadvantage, disability or developmental delay are provided additional and specialist support when required, with parents centrally involved in decision-making
- all children receive learning, care and health services delivered by a high-quality workforce
- parents receive information and support to ensure their child grows up in a healthy and nurturing environment that encourages continued development and learning
- parents have greater opportunities to participate in work or study.
To achieve these objectives the next phase of reform will concentrate on three areas:
system development and reform
parent and community partnerships