Ms Danielle Toon1, Dr Sandra Cheeseman2
1Evidence for Learning, Melbourne, Australia, 2C&K (The Creche and Kindergarten Association), Brisbane, Australia
Thoughtful use of evidence is a key part of delivering best practice and quality outcomes for children and families in early childhood education. Many Australian early childhood and care services that are rated as ‘excellent’ use research and data to identify and deliver exceptional practice. However, busy educational leaders face many challenges in how to take research and data from sources such as the AEDC and turn it into practical strategies to increase the quality of educators’ interactions with young children.
Evidence for Learning (E4L) is an Australian not-for-profit with a mission to help educators increase learning by improving the quality, availability and use of evidence. Over the last year, E4L has worked with early learning provider C&K to share and mobilise evidence to support the professional practice of C&K’s educators.
E4L’s resources use rigorous global and Australasian evidence syntheses and are aligned with the AEDC domains. Evidence summaries, such as the Early Childhood Education Toolkit, help educational leaders consider costs, learning impacts and evidence security alongside data sources like the AEDC in order to make decisions about the best approaches to adopt and adapt for children. Practical resources, such as tip sheets on oral language development, help educators consider how to try and reflect upon evidence-informed strategies related to specific AEDC domains such as language and cognitive skills.
In partnership with E4L, C&K has used E4L’s evidence-based resources to build educator knowledge and understanding and support critical reflection as part of responding to AEDC data and implementing quality practice across its network of kindergartens and childcare centres across Queensland.
This presentation describes E4L’s evidence resources, explores how C&K uses these resources to build educator knowledge and practice, and describes the impacts on C&K educators of taking a research and data informed view to improving outcomes across the AEDC domains.
Danielle Toon leads Evidence for Learning’s early childhood education work and manages research projects on evidence mobilisation in schools. Danielle has over 15 years’ experience in policy, research, design and implementation projects for schools, early learning providers, education systems and large organisations.
Dr Sandra Cheeseman is the Chief Operating Officer of C&K and an Adjunct Fellow at Macquarie University’s Department of Educational Studies. With over 35 years’ experience in the early education space, Sandra has been an early childhood teacher, director, senior executive and senior university lecturer.