Babies are born ready to learn, with around 90% of brain development occurring in the first five years of life. High quality early education is important, as how your child’s brain grows is strongly influenced by what’s happening in their environment and their interactions with the people around them.

How your child’s brain develops

Your child’s vision and hearing pathways are the first to develop, followed by early language skills and higher cognitive functions. Your child’s vocabulary quadruples between ages two and four. These connections become more complex over time as your child grows, and influencing brain development to create positive learning behaviours from an early age is much easier than rewriting it later.

Enrolling your child in high quality early education is a valuable opportunity to help them explore their world and develop new skills that will stay with them as they grow. Your child’s environment and their experiences in the early years establish the building blocks for learning in the future, including preparing them for school. Early education can help to establish positive foundations and learning patterns from the beginning of your child’s life.

Benefits for your child

Research shows that children who participate in quality preschool programs are more likely to arrive at school equipped with the social, cognitive and emotional skills they need to help them to continue learning. These benefits extend well beyond primary school. Higher levels of educational success, employment and social skills have all been linked to participation in high quality early education.

Early education helps your child by:

  • creating a life-long passion for learning
  • helping them develop social skills
  • encouraging the development of fine motor and sensory skills
  • fostering language development and vocabulary
  • priming your child to be creative
  • equipping them to cope with problem solving.

Australian research found children who attend high quality early education are up to 40% ahead of their peers by the time they reach Year 3.

UK research found children who attend high quality early education had higher grades in school, were better able to manage their behaviour and had lower levels of hyperactivity. The longer they spent in early learning, and the higher the quality, the better their grades.

International research shows that disadvantaged children who attend quality early learning for at least two days per week are:

  • more likely to finish school
  • more likely to find higher paying jobs
  • more likely to own their own homes
  • less likely to be involved in crime as adults
  • less likely to need support with emotional and behavioural problems.

Benefits of early education for the economy

International economic research shows that the most effective time to invest in education, to deliver the greatest return on investment, is at the early learning stage—before children start school.

Australian economic research found that the participation of vulnerable children in quality early learning would add $13.3 billion to our GDP by 2050.