Release type: Media Release


Ensuring First Nations children are school ready


The Hon Dr Anne Aly MP
Minister for Early Childhood Education
Minister for Youth

The Australian Government is delivering for First Nations children, with an Australian first pilot program designed to set children up for success in school and throughout life. 

The $1.9 million Early Learning Teaching Pilot will be delivered in three early childhood education services across the country, boosting school readiness of up to 200 First Nations children, through improved literacy and numeracy outcomes.

The innovative pilot has been developed in consultation and delivered in partnership with First Nations early childhood education experts and communities, ensuring the program is culturally safe and tailored to community needs based on local expertise.

Designed to complement play-based learning for children in the year before school, the pilot focuses on improving outcomes for children through strengthened professional development, mentoring and feedback support for educators.

The pilot will play an important role in the Government’s ongoing work on Closing the Gap measures including lifting participation in quality early childhood education and care to boost school readiness and developmental outcomes.

This week, Minister for Early Childhood Education Dr Anne Aly visited the first pilot service in Thornbury, Victoria with Federal Member for Cooper Ged Kearney and Victorian Senator Jana Stewart.

Dr Aly said the pilot would help build our understanding of how to best set First Nations children up for success at school and beyond.

“All Australian children deserve access the transformative benefits of high-quality early childhood education and care,” Dr Aly said.

“Early learning is one of the most powerful tools we have at our disposal in Closing the Gap, with this pilot representing a positive step towards improving school readiness outcomes for First Nations children.

“We know that children who participate in high-quality early learning programs have better educational outcomes, including improved literacy and numeracy skills, greater school retention and higher graduation rates.

“We will look closely at the results of this one-year pilot to see if this measure can be used to benefit even more First Nations children.”

The first kind to be undertaken in Australia for children under the age of five, the pilot will occur across 2023, with evaluation activities to continue through the children’s first year of school.

The Government has partnered with the University of Melbourne to deliver and evaluate the pilot at three services, the first is Yappera Children’s Service in Thornbury Victoria, with the remaining sites yet to be announced.

The pilot complements other Closing the Gap measures, including $81.8 million for the expansion of the Connected Beginnings Program to 50 sites by 2025 and the establishment of the Early Childhood Care and Development Policy Partnership.

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