This program aims to help all vulnerable children and young adult catch up in terms of literacy and opportunities.
Research has demonstrated that children who attend quality early childhood programs and start out with optimal literacy foundational skills tend to thrive and grow academically, while students with fewer opportunities for early learning tend to get left behind.
Too many children start school without the range of skills they need. Across the country in 2013 only a half of all children reached a good level of development by the age of five. For some children the picture was much worse. In over 50 local authorities less than a third of children reached this level. Children who are known to be eligible for free school meals lagged 19 percentage points behind their peers. This gap has not has not altered significantly in the last four years. This has serious implications. Too few who start school behind their peers catch up by the time they leave education.
The quality of a child’s early experience is vital for their future success. It is shaped by many interrelated factors, notably the effects of socio-economic status, the impact of high-quality early education and care, and the influence of ‘good parenting’. What parents and carers do on a daily basis with their children is important. Providers who forge strong partnerships with parents and carers, and work in partnership to develop the home learning environment, help them to improve their child’s progress and make a better start at school.