The first two research reports “Changing the life trajectories of Australia’s most vulnerable children”of the Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT) of Kids First’s Early Years Education Program (EYEP) have been released.
The EYEP is a model of early years care and education targeted to meet the specific needs of children exposed to significant family stress and social disadvantage. Children who participate in EYEP receive three years of care and education featuring high staff/child ratios, qualified educators, staff supervision support and training, family services wrap around support and a rigorously developed curriculum. In addition, a relationship-based pedagogy is used to ensure that children are more available for learning.
The first report provides a detailed analysis of the characteristics and family backgrounds of children in the program compared with representative samples of children from all households and low socio-economic status (SES) households in Australia. The trial includes 145 children (from 99 families) who were recruited when they were aged between zero and three years and assessed as having two or more risk factors as defined in the Department of Human Services 2007 Best Interest Case Practice Model. There are 72 children in the intervention group and 73 in the control group, comprising 64 girls and 81 boys. The findings highlighted that even relative to those living in low SES households, children participating in this trial are highly disadvantaged.
The second report presents initial findings on the effects of twelve months in the EYEP on children and their primary caregivers. The main findings indicate a large estimated impact of EYEP on boys’ IQ. . The absence of significant impact on other outcomes appears consistent with evidence on initial impact from previous early years program trials. At this early stage it would be appropriate to interpret the results thus far as encouraging but not conclusive.
The EYEP has been made possible by funding from Kids First, Commonwealth and State Governments, Philanthropic organisations, individual donors and the Australian Research Council. CPS thanks them for investing in this Australia-first research which aims to transform early education and care services for vulnerable children and families.
We hope the reports prove informative and Kids First eagerly awaits the next report containing findings on outcomes for children after 24 months in the EYEP.
EYEP Report No 2.pdf