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Five first five videos

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First five

Back when the National Quality Framework was new and the world was young, there was a buzz in government and sector circles around one particular project being developed to help parents understand why quality education and care mattered so much to Australia’s children.  It went by various names over a two or three year, evidence based development period, but it was often shortened to ‘First Five‘. The idea was to share a national television and social media video advertising campaign, with an educational website to back it up, which would help families to understand the enormous benefits of focusing more on children’s first five years of life.

It would include meaningful analogies for brain development like connecting galaxies of stars, or turning on strings of lights. It would boost the confidence of parents, educators and other adults that banal engagement with children was actually vital engagement. It would model ‘ball toss’ verbal scaffolding, and other simple strategies for helping children get the best possible start in life.

Best laid plans

Alas, like many well considered, beautifully executed projects, this one fell down at the last hurdle – money.  The high cost of the proposed campaign – at a best practice delivery level – splintered what had been national support and the campaign never ran as it was intended.

Unlike a lot of similar stories this one has positive results, too. Since the research and development had been publicly funded, the findings were available to many agencies regardless of the project’s demise, and you can now see First Five style campaigns in many Australian jurisdictions. It’s even possible that this NQF inspired work was an influence in other countries – certainly it took from the best of what was available overseas at the time.

First five years videos and information are an excellent medium for early years professionals to share the value of their work with their communities. We’ve curated a shortlist of five First Five themed videos below and present them in no particular order of merit.

Each might be used in a different context as part of your Quality Improvement Plan, your outreach marketing, your personal or peer-reflected development goals, or just to help a friend or family member understand why what you do is much more than ‘just play with children all day’.

Got a favourite video that’s not on the below list? Share a link in the comments or get in touch with Amplify here to let us know.

The learning gap

This video from the American ‘ready for kindergarten’ site could as easily represent Australian children’s learning gaps. In fact, Australia’s Universal Access campaign is based on the same kind of research: the evidence being clear that children who start school behind their peers are likely to stay behind, for a lifetime.

How would you use it?

You could share this video to help boost families’ confidence in the role they play at home, every day and night, and how that complements the time their child spends with you at the service.  You could stop the video at the 1:41 mark if you want to skip the promotion for American support services, leaving you with quick and meaningful summary of learning from birth, not just preschool.

More information on this video

Head to Ready for Kindergarten, funded by The Children’s Reading Foundation in the USA.

Confronting poverty

This next video is also from America and shares a dismal picture of the reality for many vulnerable children and their parents. While some Australians might feel children could not experience these situations, many educators know this is not true. You know that the most disadvantaged children in Australia are most in need of quality early education programs, yet are often least able to afford them or the home support that could break poverty cycles and change their lives.


How would you use it?

This video’s before and after structure helps show how early interventions and family support can change children’s lives. At four minutes long, it’s still a nice length for sharing with parent groups but, as it leads up to the ‘anyone feel like investing’ message at the end, it could be a useful tool to introduce a grant request to a local government meeting, or to share with your state or federal Member of Parliament on their next visit to your service.

More information on this video

The First Five Years fund is a bipartisan group in America. Find more here

Raising happy, healthy children

You don’t have to be a Goodstart service to benefit from the extensive investment Australia’s largest not-for-profit provider has made into educating the community about the first five years of life. This video is an example. It was drawn from the First Five Years website, which aims to recreate the ‘village’ atmosphere of child raising.

How would you use it?

Definitely a good one for Australian parents of young children! This neutral video empathises with busy, tired families and uses an engaging graphic style to support parents and other adults who are responsible for children in their first five years.

More information on the First Five Years

The First Five Years is a site developed by Goodstart Early Learning to support families. If it isn’t in conflict with your service’s policies, you could share many of these topical articles on your newsletter, as printouts at your reception area, or in your social media timeline.

You can see other examples of Goodstart’s efforts to communicate the neuroscience of the first five years in clear, engaging ways, in this Amplify article.

First 5 Forever

The Queensland Government’s First Five Forever site features a neuroscientist who is also the father of young children, who brings an unusually well-informed perspective to the topic (and no, you don’t need to be a Queenslander to get the benefit!)

How would you use it?

It’s often difficult to find fathers and other connected male adults in resources about children’s first five years. This video is not only a beautifully prepared description of the neuroscience of those years, but also a relatively rare video of a father engaging with young children. Got a community of dads and other male carers at your service? Of course you do!

More information on First 5 Forever

This video is from the First 5 Forever website, which is a joint initiative of the Queensland Government and the State Library of Queensland

A great start

The final video on this short list is a longer piece – at 18 minutes – in which a … psychologist from the South Australian Department of Education and Child Development, was filmed speaking at an expo in Adelaide in 2014. At the time, there was a campaign underway in South Australia called Great Start, which used evidence and resources from the earlier national study on the first five years.

How would you use it?

This video is particularly good for new parents so it might be a useful one to run at an orientation day, especially if you want to set up the video in one room for a group to watch while you are speaking with another group in a different room (but don’t forget you need to get back to them in 18 minutes!)

More information on this Great Start video

The website shown on the banner in this video no longer exists, but if you followed that link you’d find the SA Government has not lost the valuable material it was developing, and it hasn’t abandoned the concept of a great start. Head to this page of the SA education website for more information.

But wait, there’s more!

Of course there is. The point of this article isn’t to say there are only a handful of useful videos out there to share, it’s to say that the value of early childhood education, and early years parenting, are becoming easier to explain with each passing year. When you share material like this, which is generally short, colourful and memorable, you make a contribution to your whole profession in terms of the respect and value the community will place on your work.  Go on and post extra videos and other parent and community-friendly resources in the comments below – there are more out there than you might imagine.




Bec Lloyd is the founder and managing director of Bec & Call Communication, providing professional writing, editing and strategy services to the school and early childhood education sector since 2014. In 2018 she launched UnYucky mindset and menus for happier family mealtimes. Formerly the communications lead at ACECQA and BOS (now NESA), Bec is a journo and mother of three who produces Amplify for us at Community Early Learning Australia.

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