Today I called on Minister Berry to implement the Early Learning Framework in our Koori Preschools. With our indigenous children on average 2 years behind throughout their education journey, it is not right that they do not get the same start as non-indigenous children.
Minister Berry has consistently stated that the Koori Preschools are giving our indigenous children a great start in life. But a recently released evaluation study, conducted by the University of New South Wales, showed that there was no evidence to support her claim.
The research team at UNSW found that whilst the Koori Preschools were resourced with culturally relevant resource materials, it recommended that the Koori Preschools needed clearer objectives and key performance indicators to inform the ongoing effectiveness of the program.
These must extend beyond academic targets, though they should include them! We need to be clear about what Koori Preschools are for. What the educational outcomes are that students should achieve when they attend their local Koori Preschool. And know how they will achieve them. And what the developmental milestones are they must reach to show progress.
The Act government needs to make a commitment NOW to implement the objectives of the National Partnership Agreement on the National Quality Agenda for Early Childhood Education and Care.
Early childhood education is an important start in life, and this is never more true then for those who are from disadvantaged backgrounds - as is the case for some of our indigenous children. Committing to implementing what we already know works, is important if we are going to close the gap in achievement, and help all our children have the same equality of opportunity.