Early Start Research

Early Start Research is a research strength of the University of Wollongong and a part of the Early Start initiative. We work with the Abbott Foundation, the World Health Organization, NSW Health, Goodstart Early Learning, the Australian Government Departments of Health and Education, ACECQA, and various other organisations collaborating on research into overcoming disadvantage and effecting real social change.

A focus on promoting learning, development and health for all children

Since its creation in 2014 as one of the University of Wollongong’s research strengths, Early Start Research has been working to overcome disadvantage and impact the lives of children, youth, and families through its world class research.

Early Start's Research primary business is to conduct world class, evidence-based research that drives government policy, and assists industry professionals and the broader public in making informed educational decisions for policy and practice.

Early Start Research members are internationally recognised for their expertise in education, cognition, health, and physical activity.

Impacting policy and practice

Early Start Research is focused on impacting policy and practice, not only in the communities with which our researchers work, but nationally and internationally. Early Start Research has recently worked to impact policy and practice through:

  • Involvement in the development of the World Health Organization guidelines on physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and sleep for children under 5 years of age; and leading the development of the World Health Organization global standards for healthy eating and movement behaviours in the early years.
  • Development and validation of the Early Years Toolbox, a collection of game-like iPad-based assessments that provide early childhood educators and researchers with information about children’s progress in foundational areas of learning and development. The EYT assessments have been accessed by more than 11,000 users, across more than 50 countries and 5 continents, and have now been translated into more than a dozen languages. In the Australian context, the EYT is currently being piloted by Australia’s largest early childhood education and care (ECEC) provider and by education providers in highly disadvantaged and regional/remote areas.
  • Leading an international study of movement behaviours in the early years, bringing together over 35 low, middle, and high income countries across the globe.
  • Exploration of the 5 C’s (collaboration, creativity, confidence, can-do attitude, and curiosity) among children attending the Early Start Discovery Space.
  • Development of partnerships and collaborations with leading researchers and industry experts.
  • Partnering with Early Education and Care Centres and organisations throughout NSW (Early Start Engagement Centres, Good Start Early Learning, NSW Department of Education) and Victoria (Our Place) to engage in collaborative research and support educators professional development and influence child outcomes.

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