Good quality Indigenous early learning and care can ameliorate the significant health, social, economic and political disadvantages experienced by Indigenous people in Australia.
Successful programs and services include those which emphasise the importance of Indigenous history and culture, Indigenous community control, and respectful supportive relationships between Indigenous and non- Indigenous people in order to provide quality, holistic early learning and care programs and services.
While all quality, inclusive early learning and care, should meet the needs of all the children it serves, most Indigenous and many non-Indigenous education professionals suggest that currently Indigenous specific services are best able to deliver culturally safe and strong care and learning environments. There is some evidence of promising practice among mainstream early intervention programs adapted for Indigenous children and families in different parts of Australia, Rigorous evaluation of both types of programs are required to determine their relative efficacy.
Written by Teresa Hutchins, Karen Martin, Sherry Saggers and Margaret Sims, Centre for Social Research, Edith Cowan University, Western Australia