The Australian Early Development Census results are particularly useful for schools interested in tracking how children in their community are faring on early development indicators by the time they reach their first year of full-time school. Schools are able to identify how the AEDC results for children in their community compares to state and national results, helping them establish programs and initiatives that target those areas.
Flinders Park Primary School, located in the Charles Sturt area of western Adelaide, is just one example of how schools use the AEDC data. The 2015 AEDC results showed that, while results from the Charles Sturt community were similar to the national results, the suburb of Flinders Park was falling behind on four out of the five domains. For example, the latest AEDC results from the Charles Sturt community identified 7 per cent of children at the start of their first year of full-time school were vulnerable on the physical health and wellbeing domain, in comparison, 12.5 per cent of children in Flinders Park were identified as being vulnerable on the same domain.
Flinders Park Primary School principal, Judy Anderson says the school has been instrumental in using the latest AEDC results to build stronger partnerships with the local kindergarten, Jean Horan Flinders Park Kindergarten.
They’re looking closely at the community results and identifying the areas children are considered to be most vulnerable. The school utilises their strong partnership with Jean Horan to identify the needs of children and how they can collaboratively address them to improve early development outcomes.
One of the ways Flinders Park Primary School is working to address vulnerability in early development, particularly to assist inquiry learning and oral language, is through morning and afternoon indoor and outdoor play sessions. The school has also developed a nature space known as the Discovery Playground, in an effort to encourage development in inquiry learning and verbal communication.
Stories such as these highlight how important and valuable AEDC results are for local communities and local schools to track how children are progressing on early development indicators by the time they reach their first year of full-time school in comparison to state and national results.