For the first time, G20 countries have agreed to prioritise early childhood development.
At the December 2018 summit in Argentina, twenty of the worlds’ leading economies, including Australia, committed to a declaration on early childhood development (ECD) with a particular focus on low income countries. The policy brief specifies the importance of governments initiating and supporting a systematic approach to education and care:
“We launch the G20 Initiative for early childhood development and stand ready to join all stakeholders in enhancing quality and sustainably financed early childhood programs that consider the multidimensional approach of ECD, as a means of building human capital to break the cycle of intergenerational and structural poverty, and of reducing inequalities, specially where young children are most vulnerable.”
The declaration emphasises the fundamental importance of focusing on the earliest years of a child’s life, the role of parents, caregivers and families, early stimulation, play, responsive care, health and nutrition, and the need for stronger financing streams and multi-sectoral collaboration.
The Minderoo Foundation and its early childhood initiative Thrive by Five recognise the significance of such a holistic approach and welcome the opportunities this commitment presents for children worldwide.
Thrive by Five makes particular effort to collaborate with governments, fellow non-government organisations, local communities, and other stakeholders to influence policy, practice and attitudes related to early childhood. Its programs provide direct support for parents, translate and distribute world-class research and advocate for government, industry and community investment in Australia’s children.
The gap in development outcomes continues to widen between Australia’s most advantaged and disadvantaged children, with one in five already developmentally vulnerable when they start school.
The Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership has recommended the Prime Minister support the establishment of an Australia’s Children Fund, where investment from the philanthropic sector and industry would support effective services and place-based early childhood development.
In 2018, Minderoo and Telethon Kids Institute – through their CoLab partnership – made a ten-year commitment with the West Australian state government to invest in the Early Years Initiative, a program that collaborates with local communities to ensure children receive the necessary support from government services to thrive in their first four years.