Title: Submission to the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Childcare and Early Childhood Learning
Author: Parenting Research Centre
We focus our efforts on supporting the work of governments, organisations and practitioners to design and effectively implement evidence-informed policy, programs and practices in parenting and family support. The Parenting Research Centre made a submission to the Australian Government Productivity Commission Inquiry into Childcare and Early Childhood Learning, addressing the growing need to support parents and the services that help them.
There is a significant body of evidence pointing to the formative nature of the early years in children’s lifelong development and wellbeing, and the critical role played by high quality early childhood services in interrupting negative developmental trajectories.
Given that we know that parents are their children’s first and most important teachers, we argue that outcomes for children could be significantly improved by an early childhood sector that also extends a positive influence to the early home-learning environment and engages and supports parents more effectively. This is important as research has shown that it is the impact of the home-learning environment and the quality of parent-child relationships that exert the strongest and most durable effects on child development.
We believe that early childhood services could be more effective in how they support the development of strong parent-child relationships and positive parent-child interaction, and strengthen parental wellbeing; this kind of support enhances parental coping and reduces negative stress on family relationships.
Our submission made six recommendations:
- building the capacity of parenting support workers
- engaging parents
- increasing the positive impact of services on the home-learning environment
- embedding online information into early childhood services
- increasing workplace flexibility and access to affordable high quality childcare
- accessing parent views on childcare from the Raising Children Network website forum.