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EYEP Early Years Centre West Heidelberg

About the Centre

The Kids First Child and Family Centre is a new model early education and child care service that has been set up to target children aged 0 – 5 years old who are experiencing significant family stress and social disadvantage.  The aim is to ensure that these children arrive at school developmentally and educationally equal to their peers.

There is no other centre like this in Australia. The aim of the program is to support children to reach their full potential and arrive at school developmentally and educationally equal to their peers. Kids First has designed the model to address both the lack of access to early education by vulnerable children, with a strong evidence base of the benefits of intensive high quality early education and childcare for those children.

Children who participate in this service receive five days per week of high‐quality early education and childcare totalling at least 25 hours per week.

Particular features of the program are: high staff/child ratios, diploma qualified staff, enriched care giving, high quality curriculum based education based on the new National Early Year Learning Frameworks, integration with Family Support/Child Protection services and a strong focus on building partnerships with parents to sustain their child’s participation in the program. Participation in the program lasts for a minimum of three years or until a child reaches school age.

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The Centre itself has twice been awarded the coveted ‘Excellent’ rating by the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA), most recently in June 2017. This is the first and only early learning service in Victoria to be re-awarded the benchmark and one of only 52 services across Australia (out of 13,500 rated centres). Only seven of the 52 have been re-awarded by ACECQA.

Randomised Controlled Trial

The Kids First Early Years Education Program (EYEP) is an Australian-first randomised control trial, co-designed with early childhood experts and Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. 

The Australian Research Council (ARC) funded the Melbourne University Department of Economics to undertake this three-year study to provide insights into the developmental and social outcomes from providing high quality intensive early education and care to vulnerable children.

 The following research reports will be released shortly:

“Changing the Life Trajectories of Australia’s Most Vulnerable Children”

  • Report no. 1: “Participants in the Trial of the Early Years Education Program” (2017), which describes the characteristics and backgrounds of child participants.
  • Report no. 2: “The first twelve months in the Early Years Education Program: An initial assessment of the impact on children and their primary caregivers”

Watch this space for their imminent release.

Qualitative Study

Charles Sturt University was engaged by Kids First to undertake a qualitative research study of the relationship pedagogy of Kids First pioneering EYEP.

The purpose of the ethnographic study was to examine the relationships and lived experiences of all EYEP participants (children, parents and staff), as well as describe, translate and disseminate the day to day activities of the education and care model. 

The final report was released in 2016;

Research Report
Kids First Executive Summary
Literature Review