Unique features of the EYEP
The EYEP was unique in the Australian early years context. Features included:
• high staff/child ratios
• diploma qualified staff
• enriched care giving
• high quality curriculum based education based on the new National Early Year Learning Frameworks
• integration with Family Support/Child Protection services
• a strong focus on building partnerships with parents to sustain their child’s participation in the program.
Participation in EYEP lasted for a minimum of three years or until a child reached school age.
The Heidelberg West Centre was twice awarded the coveted ‘Excellent’ rating by the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA). At the time, it was the first and only early learning service in Victoria to be re-awarded the benchmark and one of only 52 services across Australia (out of 13,500 rated centres).
While the Centre was closed in 2018, its legacy continues to expand through the streams of research that have been conducted around the EYEP.
Randomised Controlled Trial
An independent randomised control trial, the first of its kind in Australia, was conducted by the University of Melbourne and Murdoch Children’s Research Centre alongside EYEP’s delivery. The Australian Research Council (ARC) funded a three-year study to provide insights into the developmental and social outcomes from providing high quality intensive early education and care to vulnerable children.
Large positive impacts of EYEP were found on children’s cognitive and non-cognitive development – primarily IQ, protective factors related to resilience and social-emotional development. There was also evidence that EYEP improved children’s language skills and lowered the psychological distress of their primary caregivers.
Read the Research reports
The first twelve months in the Early Years Education Program: An initial assessment of the impact on children and their primary caregivers (2018)Download
Charles Sturt University was engaged by Kids First to undertake a qualitative research study of the relationship pedagogy of Kids First pioneering EYEP.
The purpose of the ethnographic study was to examine the relationships and lived experiences of all EYEP participants (children, parents and staff), as well as describe, translate and disseminate the day to day activities of the education and care model.
The final report was released in 2016.