A child’s first five years last a lifetime

Investing in the first five years of a child’s life has a huge impact on their later learning and life outcomes. In these early years, 80 per cent of a child’s brain development occurs.
At Goodstart, we invest in research to fund the discovery of what works best for children and their learning, development and wellbeing – both in the short and long-term.
It’s important work. According to the 2015 Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) one in five of Australia’s children are starting school developmentally vulnerable.

Around one third of the children in our Goodstart centres come from low income families who are most at risk of being developmentally vulnerable.
Of the children starting school vulnerable, they are behind in at least one area of their development, including communication skills and general knowledge, social competence, language and cognitive skills, emotional maturity and/or physical health and wellbeing.

Research shows that children who start school behind are often left behind, making their first five years their most important years to set them up to succeed at school and life.
Our research and evaluation activity is driven by our vision, for Australia’s children to have the best possible start in life, and purpose to ensure children have the learning, development and wellbeing outcomes they need for school and life.

Research at Goodstart

We commission and collaborate in research to advance national and international research into early childhood education.

Our research goals are:

  • To create better early childhood education environments for children and families through evidence-informed practice
  • For Goodstart educators to benefit from meaningful participation in research and evaluation
  • To generate and disseminate evidence that leads to better practice and policy throughout the sector.

Our priority research areas seek positive outcomes for:

  • Speech and language development
  • Social/emotional wellbeing and thinking skills.

These vital areas of child development are enabled by family partnerships and community connections.

Goodstart Thought Leaders Program

Our Goodstart Thought Leaders Advisory Group (TLAG) is designed to fully engage the organisation with the best early learning research and thinking around the world.
The TLAG comprises leading national and international academics and sector leaders. Each year the group is engaged around best-available evidence and how it can be most effectively adopted into Goodstart services and how evidence can engage the sector, business and government to drive policy change for the betterment of children and families.

Members of the group are consulted year-round on key Goodstart initiatives.

International early childhood expert, Professor Jane Bertrand, a member of the TLAG, was the lead author of The Goodstart Practice Guide. The guide contains evidence-informed practices proven to achieve positive outcomes for children’s language development, thinking skills, and social-emotional and physical wellbeing. It is a resource used by our educators to plan, deliver and evaluate our early learning and care programs.

View our discussion papers 
Our TLAG commissioned several discussion papers that inform Goodstart’s research focus on key outcomes areas for optimal child development.


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+61 449 950 800