Ms Madeline Hagon1, Ms Giselle Olive2
1Queensland Department Of Education, Brisbane, Australia, 2Children’s Health Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
It has long been widely recognised that supporting families to provide the optimal conditions for their children’s early development is a positive investment in their future wellbeing and therefore in the future of the state (Shonkoff & Phillips 2000, p.2). Conversely, reversing the effects of adverse experiences becomes increasingly difficult and costly, after the first 1000 days of a child’s life (Moore et al 2017, p.70).
Building an understanding of early child development is proven to be an effective way to engage families, however it requires clear strategies and consistent messaging. Research highlights that moving from a parenting effectiveness frame to a child development narrative is better received by families and is where efforts should be focused (L’Hote et al 2018, p.1).
Queensland’s Early Childhood Development Core Story has a focus on parent and family engagement, with specific emphasis on clearly and simply articulating the science of early childhood development. The story aims to, ‘cut through the noise’ of a raft of messages parents may feel overwhelmed by, equipping sectors and services with messaging that is informative, engaging, locally relevant, consistent and aligned with parent engagement research of what works best.
The story and accompanying materials are the culmination of over 12 months work by a dedicated statewide partnership, bringing a range of professional, cultural and community perspectives to its design. The partnership drew on relevant research and the work of other jurisdictions, including generous sharing of learnings from the Tasmanian Government’s B4 Coalition, to inform the resulting five key messages about what children need to grow and develop well in the early years in a Queensland context.
Madeline Hagon is Queensland’s Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) State and Territory Coordinator, with responsibility for supporting the use of AEDC by schools, early childhood services and communities to improve outcomes for children. Madeline has taught in a range of education settings, including early years services, schools and tertiary institutes.
Giselle Olive has extensive experience in the early childhood and public health fields. Giselle has led and managed projects, programs and teams across both government and non-government organisations. Giselle works in partnership with communities to address health inequities applying evidence-based principles to facilitate novel approaches to complex issues.