What is the AEDC?
The Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) is a nationwide data collection of early childhood development at the time children commence their first year of full-time school. The AEDC highlights what is working well and what needs to be improved or developed to support children and their families by providing evidence to support health, education and community policy and planning.
The AEDC is held every three years, with the 2018 AEDC data collection being the fourth collection.
The census involves teachers of children in their first year of full-time school completing a research tool, the Australian version of the Early Development Instrument. The Instrument consist of about 100 questions and collects data relating to five key areas of early childhood development referred to as ‘domains’, these include:
- Physical health and well being
- Social competence
- Emotional maturity
- Language and cognitive skills (school-based)
- Communication skills and general knowledge
Data is collected for individual children and reported for groups of children at a community, state/territory and national level.
Why is the AEDC important?
The AEDC provides a national measure to monitor Australian children's development.
It provides information for schools, communities and government to pinpoint the services, resources and support needed for children and families to help shape the future and wellbeing of Australian children.
The community that children grow up in, the education or care before school, school and other health services they interact with play a key role in supporting optimal development. When schools, communities and governments invest resources during these early years, it brings life-long benefits to children and the whole community.
With four sets of AEDC national data collected in 2009, 2012, 2015 and 2018, we now have an indication of the national progress towards improving the development of Australian children. With each successive wave of data collected, the AEDC will provide a more comprehensive understanding of the state and progress of early childhood development in Australia.
A series of community and school stories are available to showcase the AEDC in action in schools and communities across Australia.