The Basics Channel

Ms Maree Thompson1

1Department Of Education

The Basics are five evidenced based parenting and care giving principles distilled from research by  the Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard University led by Dr Ron Ferguson. The Basics seeks to promote communication and engagement by all members of our community, through a community health and education message.

We identified a need to communicate the importance of positive interactions between children, families and wider community, particularly in the first three years. The Basics –Channel offers a simple, aligned message that can be adopted and supported by the whole community.

AEDC data demonstrated a significant increase in children that are developmentally vulnerable in one or more domains from 7.5% in 2015 to 19.1%   PIPS aggregated data for the Channel showed a significant increase in the percentage of children who achieved below their expected grade level in reading. Level of early years services in  our Kingborough community indicated increasing numbers of children coming to school not meeting the expected developmental milestones.

A collective community approach driven by a Basics steering committee compromising a wide cross section of community members including local council, child health, child care sector, families, education and the university, was established. The belief held is that all of community can make a difference to the positive development of a child based on the 5 principles of

  • Maximise Love, Manage Stress
  • Talk, Sing and Point
  • Explore Through Movement and Play
  • Count, Group and Compare
  • Read and Discuss Stories

A socio ecological approach has been undertaken to engage, build and support a community network to embed the five principles into our community and build a range of tools to support families and young children. Resources developed including a local website, community videos and instagram have been developed to support the initiative.


Maree Thompson is an early childhood teacher, literacy leader in her local school and a qualified teacher of the deaf.

Kate Slater is an experienced principal of a school with many years experience as well as a qualified early years teacher.

Kate and Maree were both recipients of a Hardie Fellowship in 2018 to Harvard University to study high leverage approaches to literacy and language and family engagement.

They are the leaders of the Basics Channel a local initiative determined to address disadvantage and levels of vulnerability in children in their local community.