Home-based early childhood education (ECE) is provided by an educator to groups of up to four children aged from birth to five years in either an educator’s home or the child’s home. Each educator must belong to a licensed home-based service, which provides support through a coordinator who is a qualified and registered ECE teacher with a current practicing certificate. Educators are not required to hold qualifications.
The purpose of the Review of Home-based ECE is to consider what is and is not working in home-based ECE. The Review is evaluating the current rules and guidelines to determine what might need to change. The aim is to better support quality education outcomes for children and to assure parents with children in homebased ECE that their children are receiving quality education and care.
This discussion document outlines two broad goals of the Review, with proposed options for change grouped under each goal:
1. supporting quality in home-based ECE
2. ensuring Government investment is directed towards education and care.
The home-based ECE sector has changed significantly since it was first regulated in the early 1990s. At that time it was small and community-based. Home-based ECE is the fastest growing part of the early learning sector, and there are now a number of large homebased ECE providers with a variety of operating models. Many of the regulatory settings have remained unchanged since this time, despite the sector now looking very different. So now is the right time to consider whether funding and regulations are still fit for purpose.
Research strongly suggests that the benefits of ECE depend on the quality of the service. Not much is known about how effective homebased ECE is in delivering quality education outcomes for children. And there also isn’t a lot of research that specifically looks at education and care delivered in a home setting.