Australian Early Development Census (AEDC)
The AEDC is a census that helps create a snapshot of early childhood development in Australia. This census takes place every 3 years and the next one will happen in 2018.
The AEDC was first completed nationwide in 2009 and is conducted every three years. 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.
Teachers complete a checklist for children in their first year of full-time school. The checklist measures five key areas:
- physical health and wellbeing – whether a child is healthy, independent, ready for school each day
- social competence – how a child plays, gets along with others and shares, is self-confident
- emotional maturity – whether a child can concentrate, help others, is patient, not aggressive or angry
- language and cognitive skills (school-based) – whether a child is interested in reading and writing, can count and recognise numbers and shapes
- communication skills and general knowledge – whether a child can tell a story, talk with adults and children and explain themselves.
The AEDC is most suited to mapping patterns of relative need, particularly geographical comparisons and providing communities with a picture of their strengths and vulnerabilities. It provides a valuable resource that supports policy, planning and service delivery for children and families.
2015 AEDC Collection
Without the commitment and support of schools, families and the broader community, the AEDC would not be possible. Schools, in particular, play a vital role in the collection of accurate and relevant data that provides the first insight into whether or not children in their early years are on track.
The Community Services Directorate works in partnership with colleagues in government, independent and Catholic schools, the Australian Government Department of Education and Training and The Telethon Kids Institute to administer the AEDC.
The 2015 AEDC Results for the ACT found:
- 100% of schools (government, Catholic and independent) and 99.3% of kindergarten students (5,604 students) participated in the 2015 AEDC in the ACT.
- In 2015, 22.5% of children in the ACT were developmentally vulnerable on one or more domain(s).
- Compared to the national result, the ACT has a lower percentage of children developmentally vulnerable on each of the five domains, except physical health and wellbeing.
- Continuing the trend seen in previous collection years, children in the ACT are most likely to be vulnerable on the physical health and wellbeing domain, and least likely to be vulnerable on the language and cognitive skills domain.
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are almost twice as likely to be developmentally vulnerable on one or more domain(s) (41.9%), compared to non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children (22.0%).
- A higher percentage of children from language backgrounds other than English are developmentally vulnerable on one or more domain(s) (28.0%), compared to children from an English speaking background (20.9%).
- The 2015 AEDC results indicate that Belconnen is the region with the highest percentage of children developmentally vulnerable on one or more domain(s) (25.1%) and North Canberra is the region with the lowest percentage of children developmentally vulnerable (19.4%).
- Consistent with previous years, a higher percentage of boys are developmentally vulnerable on one or more domain(s) (29.4%), compared to girls (15.7%).
The full report of the 2015 Australian Early Development Census Results for the ACT is now available 2015 Australian Early Development Census - Results for the ACT [PDF 5MB] [Word 2MB]