The Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) measures the development of children in Australia in their first year of full-time school. AEDC data is collected using an adapted version of the Early Development Instrument, which was developed in Canada.

The AEDC provides important information to communities, governments and schools to support their planning and service provision. The early environments and experiences children are exposed to shape their development. The AEDC is considered to be a measure of how well children and families are supported from conception through to school age.

Research shows that investing time, effort and resources in children’s early years, when their brains are developing rapidly, benefits children and the whole community. Early developmental gains support children through their school years and beyond.

The AEDC helps schools, communities and policy makers understand how children are developing before they start their first year of full-time school, what is being done well and what can be improved.

Data from the AEDC can help identify the types of services, resources or support to meet the needs of communities.

Key findings:

  • With data sets covering four collections (2009, 2012, 2015 and 2018), results from the AEDC can be compared across collections to identify trends in early childhood development across Australia.
  • The percentage of children developmentally on track in the language and cognitive skills (schoolbased) domain has increased significantly from 77.1 per cent in 2009 to 84.4 per cent in 2018.
  • The communication skills and general knowledge domain has seen a continual decrease in the level of vulnerability since 2009, from 9.2 per cent, to 8.2 per cent in 2018.
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