What works and why? Early childhood professionals' perspectives on effective early childhood education and care services for Indigenous families
Leske, Rachel, Sarmardin, Dixie, Woods, Annette, & Thorpe, Karen (2015) What works and why? Early childhood professionals' perspectives on effective early childhood education and care services for Indigenous families. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 40(1), pp. 109-118.
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Investment in early childhood education and care (ECEC) programs is a cornerstone policy of the Australian Government directed toward increasing the educational opportunities and life chances made available to Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Indigenous) children. Yet, ECEC programs are not always effective in supporting sustained attendance of Indigenous families. A site-case analysis of Mount Isa, Queensland was conducted to identify program features that engage and support attendance of Indigenous families. This first study, reports the perspectives of early childhood professionals from across the entire range of group-based licensed (kindergarten and long day care) and non-licensed (playgroups, parent-child education) programs (n=19). Early childhood professionals reported that Indigenous families preferred non-licensed over licensed programs. Reasons suggested for this choice were that non-licensed services provided integration with family supports, were responsive to family circumstance and had a stronger focus on relationship building. Implications for policy and service provision are discussed.
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