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Early Childhood Education and care’s ever-increasing value to families

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The Front Project’s latest survey of over 1000 parents and carers highlights how COVID-19 has reinforced the value of early childhood education and care in families’ minds.

The latest survey results show that 80% of respondents say early childhood education and care is very important to their family.

Parents commented on the challenges of juggling full-time work from home and caregiving, with half of the respondents valuing early childhood education to enable them to work or study.

Importantly, the educational value of early childhood education and care was also recognised by parents, who noted how challenging it was to provide children with learning experiences. Over sixty percent of survey respondents replied that children’s learning and development is the thing they value most from early childhood education.

Around half of the families surveyed had no change to employment, whilst nearly half were looking for a new job or changing employment.

Survey also puts a spotlight on the sector’s economic impact on families

Parents are impacted in a variety of ways by the cost of ECEC, with the survey highlighting impacts across a range of indicators.

The study reveals the impact that the cost of early childhood education and care has on the spending choices of parents and carers, with more than half of all families citing that it affects their social spending and spending on groceries. Half of all families said the cost of fees impacts on their decision around work, with low-income families more likely to indicate they are mindful about fees when making decisions around hours and days of work.

The research confirms that availability and affordability factor into families’ decisions as to where to live, with many low and medium-income families indicating they consider the impact of fees when choosing suburbs to live in.

This data supports other research and modelling conducted by the Front Project to inform the design of a post-COVID-19 ECEC system that can meet the needs of children, families and educators.

As a result of the study, the Front Project recommends that Government update funding of ECEC to:

  • Make ECEC more affordable
  • Prioritise support for vulnerable children
  • Ensure our ECEC sector is sustainable and high-quality

For more information visit the website https://www.thefrontproject.org.au/the-front-project-families-survey


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