The Early Childhood roundtable event held today at our Subiaco office provided an excellent opportunity to hear experiences of working collaboratively in the area of early childhood education and care.
I was delighted to welcome Honorary Research Fellow at the Department of Education at University of Oxford Naomi Eisenstadt to my office to lead this discussion, which was co-hosted by Child Australia.
Naomi is a leading expert in the field. As the first Director of the United Kingdom’s Sure Start Unit, she was responsible for delivering the government’s commitment to education for three and four year-olds and national child care strategy, along with extended services for families of school aged children aimed at reducing the gap in outcomes for children living in disadvantaged areas.
Naomi spoke of her work and learning in the UK and their relevance to some of the early childhood initiatives underway in WA that are based on collaborative and holistic service delivery models to better support vulnerable children and their families. A particular focus of the discussion was on the importance of relationships at all levels, the challenges in achieving vertical integration in organisations, reducing silos and supporting more collaborative and integrated approaches.
Early childhood remains an ongoing area of work for my office as it is difficult to overstate the importance in establishing, during the first five years of life, a sound foundation for lifelong health and wellbeing.
Last year I released the second edition of The State of Western Australia’s Children and Young People, which provides an overview of how children in Western Australia are faring across a range of measures.
This report is an important tool in providing data and research to help guide program delivery, including in the area of early childhood.
Naomi’s work is a great example of what can be achieved when government and non-government organisations and families focus on the importance of a child’s early years.
Acting Commissioner for Children and Young People