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Improving the early life outcomes of Indigenous children: implementing early childhood development at the local level

Early childhood education Public health Australia

One of Australia’s greatest challenges is the elimination of the gap between the developmental outcomes of Indigenous and non-Indigenous children in the early years of life. This paper reviews existing research and presents strategies to improve early childhood development among Indigenous Australians.

Aims of this paper

The aims of this paper are to:

  • outline what we know about the size of the gap in early childhood development (ECD) between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, and the social determinants of ECD
  • establish why localised ECD is an effective means to close the gap in the early childhood years
  • describe the conditions under which localised ECD is more likely to be successful and how to put them into practice
  • describe 3 broad strategies to promote physical, social-emotional and language-cognitive domains of development and reduce developmental risk.

To review and synthesise the broad and diverse knowledge relevant to localised ECD, several sources were consulted including peer-reviewed scientific literature, policy documents and reports from governments, international agencies and civil society groups.

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