26 September 2023

School development checks for very young

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The Department of Education has launched two 18-month pilot programs aimed at expanding the reach of free checks of child development.

The checks, designed for children aged up to five years across South Australia, make a way to identify any developmental concerns.

In a statement, the Department said that if the concerns were identified early, families could be referred to a service for further support and intervention if necessary.

“In recent years, research on early childhood has made it clear how crucial the years before school are to the rest of a child’s life, with about 90 per cent of the adult brain development and growth occurring in those first five years of life,” the Department said.

“The pilots will test models for the expansion of child development screening,” it said.

“One is with the Caring Futures Institute of Flinders University in collaboration with Goodstart Early Learning; the other is with Playgroup SA.”

It said expanding the delivery of the checks was a key step in ensuring a strong foundation for a child’s future learning and supported the Early Learning Strategy goal of increasing the reach to 80 per cent of South Australian children.

“The pilots are aimed at increasing checks done at the milestone ages of 12 months, 18 months-to-two years, three years and four years,” the Department said.

“The development checks will be delivered at more than 40 playgroups across metropolitan and regional areas and are expected to reach more than 400 children.”

The programs will run until December next year.

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