An investment in our children is a commitment to the future of our country and the long term health of our economy. That is why the Australian Government invests so significantly in the early years. To ensure this investment is directed to the areas of need, strong evidence is required to guide decisions on policy. One source of that evidence comes from the data collected by the Australian Early Development Census (AEDC). Governments at all levels and community organisations have been using this data to inform early childhood development policy and practice.
The AEDC is a census - or data collection - examining how young Australian children have developed by the time they start school. The Australian Government works with state and territory governments, schools and parents to collect this important information. The AEDC is collected every three years in schools across Australia. The data collection was completed in 2009, 2012, 2015, 2018 and 2021. The AEDC community results for these collections are publicly available.
The AEDC reports on the percentage of developmentally vulnerable, at risk and on track children across five key developmental areas for communities across Australia so that communities, parents, schools and governments can pinpoint the services, resources and support children need to help shape the future and wellbeing of Australian children.
AEDC results are shaping the design and application of early childhood programs and policies with the aim of making sure children are offered a safe, nurturing and learning environment where they can grow and thrive.
The Australian Government and state and territory governments are committed to conducting all AEDC data collections in an effective, open, transparent and ethical way. The conduct of the AEDC will also aim to minimise the administrative burden on schools, teachers, children and parents.
All Australian governments recognise the importance of ensuring:
AEDC data is collected, stored and used in line with strict guidelines to protect the privacy of all children and teachers
ethical, privacy and other appropriate consents are obtained for each AEDC data collection
procedures and practices are reviewed every three year data cycle so future AEDC data collections continue to be implemented to high standards.