South Australian children behind the national average for development 

The Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) is a national collection of data which occurs every three years. Teachers of children in their first year of school complete a questionnaire, the Australian version of the Early Development Instrument, that assesses how children have developed by the time they start their formal education.  

The AEDC measures five key areas of development that have been shown to predict future health, wellbeing, and academic outcomes. These include: 

  • Physical health and wellbeing 
  • Social competence 
  • Emotional maturity 
  • Language and cognitive skills (school-based) 
  • Communication skills and general knowledge 

The 2021 collection indicated that almost 24% of South Australian children are not meeting their developmental potential, considered ‘vulnerable’ in one or more of the five domains – this is greater than the national average sitting at 22%.  

One thing is clear: we need to start laying the foundation for children’s development well before they start school. Words Grow Minds aims to equip families with information and resources that support them in their role as a child’s first teacher.   

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