0.6 Early childhood development

Children's early development has a profound impact on their future health, development, learning and wellbeing.

The Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) is a measure of children's development, based on the scores from a teacher-completed checklist in their first year of formal schooling (the preparatory year prior to Year 1). It is measured across the following five domains:

  • physical health and wellbeing
  • social competence
  • emotional maturity
  • language and cognitive skills
  • communications skills and general knowledge.

For all indicator displays, where all years of data are comparable over time an ‘All’ category will be provided as an option in the ‘Year’ drop down display. If only a selection of specific years are comparable, these years (e.g. 2017 to 2019) will be provided as an option under ‘Year’ and ‘All’ will not be an option. See the footnotes for this indicator in the supplementary tables hyperlink below for further information.

See the supplementary table for this indicator for further information and footnotes about these data.

Indicator technical specifications

The information below provides technical specifications for the summary indicator data presented in the quick reference guide.

National Framework Indicator 0.6 Early childhood development: Proportion of children who are developmentally vulnerable on one or more domains of the Australian Early Development Census
  Definition Data source
Numerator Number of children developmentally vulnerable on one or more domains of the AEDC Australian Early Development Census (AEDC)
Denominator Number of children with valid scores on one or more domains of the AEDC Australian Early Development Census (AEDC)

Explanatory notes

The AEDC is based on the scores from a teacher-completed checklist in the children's first year of full-time schooling - the preparatory year prior to Year 1 (this may be known as kindergarten, prep, pre-primary, reception or transition across jurisdictions).

There are five AEDC developmental domains: physical health and wellbeing; social competence; emotional maturity; language and cognitive skills (school-based); and communication skills and general knowledge.

Results on the AEDC domains group children into the following categories:

  • developmentally vulnerable (below the 10th percentile)
  • developmentally at-risk (between the 10th and 25th percentile)
  • on track (between the 25th and the 50th percentile, and above the 50th percentile).

Results also describe children as developmentally vulnerable on one or more domains, and on two or more domains. These children are considered to be at particularly high risk developmentally.

Home-schooled children are not included in the AEDC as teachers collect these data. However, distance education is included.

In 2014, the Australian Early Development Index (AEDI) was renamed the AEDC.

See the supplementary table for this indicator for further information and footnotes about these data.