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View the transcripts for the AEDC video stories, part of our resources for educators.
You can also view these transcripts as subtitles/closed captioning on each YouTube video.
Starting the journey
VOICEOVER: Having recently started in the role, the head of the junior school at Swan Christian College has begun to consider how AEDC data can be used to plan for children’s learning.
00:16 AURELIA COLE: “We started focusing more on developing the whole child, not just the academic child. What I did realise that if children are vulnerable in one or more areas, that can really affect their NAPLAN results. So I just wanted to make sure that we really captured as much data as we could and start working with what we could know so that the kids could just have great results by the end of junior school.
00:37 "We know that the general cohort that we have in our school has reasonable good academic results. You know, we come from a reasonably good socio-economic area, but the surprising part of the data was how much kids aren't necessarily developing in the area of social skills. Our AEDC data really highlighted to us that that's a good focus area for us when they come in at Kindy, so we are developing programs that really help with the social and emotional needs of the kids, so that we develop leaders.
01:17 "So another thing that the AEDC data helped me to focus on was the role of the school before children come to school. What do we do when they're 0-4? So I really started investigating things in the local community that can help parents, and just being aware that there are things out there that the school can connect with, that we can have better community links in, and we can support parents. Really, I thought it was a great focus and something I want to continue doing.
01:47 VOICEOVER: Having connected with the AEDC, Swan Christian College is now working to shape its programs to better support children's holistic development.
01:58 In 2011, the principal at Westfield Park Primary School received information about the upcoming AEDC data collection. This promoted him to download the school's previous AEDC school profile, where he recognised the potential of the data to support the school's planning.
02:18 STEPHEN SOAMES: "I was actually unaware of the AEDC, so I located the school's data from 2009, and was pretty shocked at what I saw, you know, the number of children who were developmentally vulnerable. I spent a bit of time sharing the previous data with teachers and talking about the need for us to have accuracy in collection, and that this data would inform what we may end up allocating resources to in school.
02:43 "What the data enabled us to do was to start thinking through strategies of how we could reach out to those parents and families before the children arrived at school, and being very aware that those children would move their way through school, presenting us with challenges in their learning and their higher level of needs.
03:07 "One of the things that the AEDC data enabled us to do was to have an evidence base as to how I was able to allocate school resourcing as a school leader. The AEDC data forms a strong data set that we use in that, so it's actually mentioned in the strategic plan how we have the need to address the concerns and needs of children and families before they reach school. I needed to do a lot of work with staff, educating them around what they were seeing and what they were dealing with, and how we could provide more support to the child.
03:46 VOICEOVER: Connecting with the AEDC data supported Westfield Park Primary School to reflect on how they shape their policies, practices, and approaches to learning to support children within the context of their community.
03:59 NADIA WILSON-ALI: "When I attended the community workshop about how to use the AEDC data in our service, it really highlighted how there are so many alignments between the AEDC, the EYLF [Early Years Learning Framework] and the National Quality Standard, so I returned back to our service and we started to have some conversations with management and the educators around what we could do with this data to better serve our community.
04:24 "When we did look at the data we decided that we wanted to focus on one area because we thought it would be a lot better to do one thing well than to try and look at lots of different areas. So our focus was on physical wellbeing, looking at children both from a nutritional and health perspective, and also their gross and fine motor skills.
04:43 "We thought about how, if a child has adequate nutrition, that they're going to be able to things like run and climb and jump and do a lot of physical exertion and physical activity, so for us nutrition was where we started.
04:59 VOICEOVER: AEDC data supported the Lockridge Early Learning Centre to plan for children's holistic development and weave this through their centre practices.
05:10 Start your journey. To find out more on how you can use the AEDC to start your journey, visit the Western Australian Department of Education or AEDC website.
Using the data
NADIA WILSON-ALI: When we did unpack the data as management at Child Australia, we looked at how it aligned really, really well with the National Quality Standard and the commitment to quality improvement and an ongoing cycle of improvement. So for us, it wasn't about doing anything extra, it was just around aligning our key priority areas with the areas our community needed support with. And we used both the quantitative and the qualitative data to come up with goals that are going to support learning and development at our Lockridge campus.
00:35 When we did look at the data we decided that we wanted to focus on one area, because we thought it would be a lot better to do one thing well than to try and look at lots of different areas. So our focus was on physical wellbeing, looking at children both from a nutritional and health perspective and also their gross and fine motor skills.
00:54 From employing Claire as our nutritionist at the campus, we then looked at our environments and thought about whether or not they were conducive to healthy eating and having a positive approach to healthy eating, so we revamped our children's cafe and made it more inviting and pleasing for the children. So, using our children to create posters around healthy eating and physical activity, putting plants on the tables, and also encouraging the children to try a lot of new foods that they may not have tried before. She also not only educated the children but educated the families and the educators around healthy eating and physical activity.
01:34 AMBER LEE: We're using the AEDC data to make some informed decisions about our program and planning for the children. One of the things that we're really keen to explore is sitting down and mapping what the AEDC results mean for the community, and identifying the areas that we can, at a service level, actually be able to support the children and families in. For example, if there was an area that we discovered that the children were vulnerable in, so perhaps the social and emotional domain, we might together sit down and think about how we can use that information to really plan and make some informed decisions for the children. So, we might look at implementing a program like Happy Feet, which not only looks at their physical development, but also encourages that social play.
02:27 Another way that we're intending to use the AEDC results is, it can actually support us in applying for funding applications for the children and the community in this area. So by looking and analysing the information from the AEDC, we can actually see if there's any gaps existing here in the services that we're providing for the children, and that helps us and supports us putting forward a really strong case in a funding application.
02:58 CRAIG SKINNER: We know that the children in our community come from sometimes difficult family backgrounds, but the AEDC enabled us to quantify where the vulnerabilities lie and break it down into the different domains. So having that information enables us to better cater for them whence they start here. We know that some of the vulnerabilities of our students lay around the physical health and wellbeing, so we've put a number of things in place to address those vulnerabilities. So we have lots of opportunities for them to do play-based activities which focus specifically on their physical strength and building those core strengths within them. We also have lots of health programs, so we have specific health and physical education with our early years, we have breakfast club and health and nutrition activities that the students get involved with.
03:57 We've analysed the data round the AEDC, so staff are really well aware of where our students are coming from, and some of the difficulties that they might face. We've done some understanding poverty PD (professional development), and staff have a really strong focus on health and wellbeing and social and emotional wellbeing of our students. Staff are very compassionate, spend a lot of time building relationships with both students and with the parents and families, and that's lead to significant improvements in our student's health and wellbeing.
04:34 We also look at the AEDC data with the community partners, in particular the Child and Parent Centre that's located on site here. Additionally, we share the data across the schools in the area, so there's a network of principals who meet on a regular basis, and one of the areas we look at is the AEDC data and look for commonalities and differences across the community, and we've also started to look at changes in the community over a period of time.
05:06 VOICEOVER: To find out more on how you can use the AEDC data to inform your planning, visit the Western Australian Department of Education or AEDC website.
Enhancing community partnerships
VOICEOVER: Building community partnerships can assist early learning and care centres and schools to provide holistic support for children's development. The AEDC provides educators and leaders with an evidence base, connecting them with the right support for children and families.
00:20 NADIA WILSON-ALI: As part of the National Quality Standard we aim to build and sustain positive relationships, positive working relationships, with the community. We noticed that a lot of our families do come from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, so when we were employing educators to work with our children, we thought about the strengths that we would need such as being able to speak two or three languages fluently, and we now have 14 languages spoken fluently across the campus, which means we are able to support a lot of our community members that do come from those culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
00:54 We were quite surprised when we did look at our community profile, because we saw that we had quite a high level of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families living within our region, however we weren't seeing that reflected in our enrolment numbers at the Lockridge campus. So we began to think about the ways that we could help our families or future potential families feel supported in their parenting roles. The journey of reconciliation through a reconciliation action plan was around the small things we could do to make families feel safe and included in our environments, so we started with our foyer where we made sure that we had small symbols of a welcoming space available to families.
01:34 Using the community profile from the AEDC really helped us to facilitate conversations with the community, and when we did meet with agencies, we had a common language in which we were able to share key messages about our children, and how we could further support their learning and development.
01:53 STEPHEN SOAMES: We very much wanted to place our self at the heart of the community. Schools are a very expensive resource, and I believe they should be open for many more points of access for community members. We attempt to have the school open pretty much from six in the morning til six in the evening, through a mix of external agencies and external providers, and we look at the school as being a place where families can start to reach out or be referred to additional services that may be of support to them.
02:33 Establishing relationships with external providers can sometimes be a bit of a difficulty. We tried to challenge that and provide reasons and opportunities for other agencies to work alongside us. I believe that data sharing is probably the best way to do that, where I can demonstrate that our data and their data are actually seeking to achieve the same outcomes, then external agencies or service providers are usually willing to jump in with us. By using the AEDC data and sharing it with other agencies, it's the quickest way to ensure that that happens.
03:12 We became aware of a local agency that was providing a resource to new migrant families who had low levels of English within the wider community. They effectively lost their resource base and place to operate from. As soon as I heard this, I was on the phone, contacted them, let them now that I had a place they could use for free. So we ended up with a supported multicultural playgroup. The benefit to us was that we were able to reach out to families from our CALD community in a way that we just wouldn't have been able to do before. As an additional benefit, this resource brought into school translators every three or four weeks. So, where my teachers may have a child from that language background that they were having some troubles around, or maybe some difficulties communicating with the family, we suddenly had access to an interpreter who could support that process.
04:16 VOICEOVER: Having seen the developmental vulnerability of the children, the school employed school counsellor, who could reach out to families and support parents, and begin to build a sense of trust.
04:27 STEPHEN SOAMES: One of the things that the AEDC data enabled us to do was to have an evidence base as to how I was able to allocate school resourcing as a school leader. Having seen how developmentally vulnerable the children were, I decided that by employing a community development worker who would be able to reach out to families and support parents in establishing playgroups, what we found with this approach is that parents are becoming a lot more empowered in their role.
04:57 MARYTERESA HIGGINS: A big part of my role is actually building relationships, and through those activities, very simple activities like breakfast club programs, where you would be there with the children, however parents might come in and drop them off, and you slowly, gradually build the relationship with the families, and they were more than likely to come and see me in a counselling role or a social work role after getting to know me and trusting me.
05:21 VOICEOVER: Westfield Park Primary School has seen the benefits of engaging with families in the early years through decreases in children arriving in school developmentally vulnerable.
05:31 Caralee Community School is working with their community partners to support children's learning. The school has shared their AEDC data with their partners to support children's holistic development across the community.
05:44 JASON SHAPCOTT: We're very fortunate, Caralee Community School, to be part of the Southwest Metropolitan Partnership Forum, which is a group of philanthropic groups, not-for-profit groups, and three schools, as well as the City of Melville and the City of Cockburn. As schools and as a partnership we share data, including the AEDC data and other data sets including attendance and behaviour. So the AEDC data confirmed what we knew, that a significant number of our kids come from challenging backgrounds.
06:12 Although our core business happens between 9 and 3, we realise that as an organisation we can help the literacy needs of kids before and after school. We realised there was a challenge in the Willagee Library, and the kids were not engaging in the library appropriately, they weren't necessarily behaving the way they do normally at school, so we took the decision to meet the needs of our community and temporarily move an education assistant there two afternoons a week to help the kids. The results were fantastic and we saw attendance rise, we saw behaviour improve in the library, and we now work with our partner organisations, the City of Melville and the Fremantle Foundation, and they now fund that position after school.
06:54 VOICEOVER: To find out more on how you can use the AEDC to build partnerships in your community, visit the Western Australian Department of Education or AEDC website.
Connecting early learning and care centres and schools
VOICEOVER: The AEDC provides an impetus for early learning centres and schools to connect strategically around a common understanding of the skills and capacities that support children as they transition to school. The AEDC provided a shared outcome measure for Ashdale Early Learning Centre and Ashdale Primary School, and set them about working together to identify what works best to support the holistic development of children in the community.
00:30 BROOKE DRAPER: The community here is a pretty evolving community, it has been particularly over the last five or six years, and, so, the YMCA, as part of the early learning centre process here, is really looking to have a strong community connection with all schools and partners in the area, to try and support children to have the best transition into their education, and really that's what we're focused on at the moment.
00:52 VOICEOVER: Just recently, the YMCA and Ashdale Primary School have connected again.
00:58 BROOKE DRAPER: We see this as an opportunity to support children right from zero, right the way through into education, so with the partnership with the school, we're looking at being able to develop mechanisms to support measuring outcomes for our children, and ensuring those outcomes are being able to be transitioned right the way through into the school environment as well.
01:20 ANTHONY WATSON: We've actually recently, over the last four and a half years, have set up some longitudinal data of all of our kids, using on-entry data, PAT testing data and NAPLAN data, and actually connecting it all. When the YMCA contacted me and said "Look, we're actually looking into tracking some of our kids from 0-4 and seeing how, what our practices that affect the students that go to the centre", it seemed that we got a bit of synergy there.
01:52 BROOKE DRAPER: If we can develop this particular pilot to demonstrate how successful children's transition can be in childcare into education, then we'd be able to support that right across the whole community, and hopefully bring in the cluster schools in the area, and again, with the same focus that children have got the best outcome as they're transitioning into their education.
02:18 VOICEOVER: The Child Australia Early learning Centre at Lockridge acts as a hub with their six feeder schools, to help children feel a sense of community, and enable educators to share information about children to support their growth and development. The centre uses the results and the common language of the AEDC to connect with their feeder schools and plan for optimal school transitions.
02:41 NADIA WILSON-ALI: The early years learning framework is for children aged birth to five during their time in our early learning centre, but also through to their transition to school, so as a campus we are really committed to ensuring that transition is as supported as possible between both our site and the schools. So one of the initiatives that we worked on collaboratively with Lockridge Primary School was to develop a transition statement which shared information that was important and contextual to our community from one site to the other.
03:10 ANDREW KNIGHT: Having the transition information available to us at the start of the school year enables us to put things into place that we would normally have to wait a few weeks to access other services. So right from day one, we can deliver the best possible service knowing what the child's position is in their family, any cultural influences, any social and emotional needs, any possible behaviour problems that we might encounter, but it does give our staff the heads up, and enables them to hit the ground running.
03:38 We felt it was important to provide a close link between preschool activity and children starting school. We found in the past that children were arriving at school and they weren't quite ready, and it was bewildering to some of them.
03:57 VOICEOVER: Calista Primary School uses the AEDC data to support their planning and improve transitions for children and families in the community.
04:07 CRAIG SKINNER: At Calista we've got a Child and Parent Centre on site, and the Child and Parent Centre offers programs for children in the ages zero to eight years, and the idea is that those programs will help families to better prepare themselves and their children for schooling when they get to school age. They use the AEDC data to not only work out where the vulnerabilities lie and plan their programs, but also to evaluate their programs to see how effective they've been in addressing the needs of our community.
04:42 One of the things we do with the Child and Parent Centre is a transition to Kindergarten. The transition program involves the children involving in some activities that will prepare them and make them familiar with the Kindergarten environment, but while that's running, the Child and Parent Centre run workshops for parents, and the workshops are specifically designed around the needs of the family, and how the family can best support their children to be ready for school when they start school. So an advantage of running a transition program is we get to see the children quite a lot before they start Kindergarten, and that enables us to identify any particular needs they have, we can discuss those with parents, and if we find that they need extra speech support or other types of support, we can provide an early intervention.
05:31 VOICEOVER: To find our more on how you can use the AEDC to build partnerships and support children as they transition to school, visit the Western Australian Department of Education, or AEDC website.