Early childhood education has for a very long time been neglected by educational planners in Australia. Early childhood education is one of the most important stages in pursuit of education given the fact that the foundation children receive in their pre-school years and in early school years goes along way in shaping their prospect careers. Early childhood education in Australia is faced with several challenges key of which include lack of a systematized curriculum covering both private and public sectors.
The other challenge is lack of enough trained teachers in early childhood education which has seen the standards of early childhood education deteriorate in the recent past. Although the Ministry of Education in Australia has on several occasions initiated commissions to offer long lasting solutions to the challenges highlighted above, none of this has to date yielded into success. Failure for recommendations contained in various commissions set up by the Howard government can be attributed to lack of clear policy governing early childhood education provision in Australia.
Early childhood education provision in Australia has traditionally been teacher-centered as opposed to being child-centered. It has lacked impetus in that instead of focusing on the needs of the children the kind of education provided in early stages of schooling has lacked in objectivity. There is therefore a need for a lot more emphasis on children interest from an early age so as to overcome some of the challenges witnessed in latter stages of education such as upper primary and secondary levels.
If children are given enough orientation at the pre-school and early school levels such children are likely to grow up with a clear focus on areas of interest something which can help resolve the low literacy and accounting skills evident amongst high school and primary schools students. Teacher training will play a very significant role in accomplishing the goals of early childhood education. Teachers play a critical role in curriculum interpretation and unless the teachers are able to interpret curriculum effectively efforts to streamline early childhood education in Australia are likely to fail.
To counter such challenges there is a need for the government to offer incentives to early childhood education teachers for instance offering free training programs or alternatively offering government sponsored training programs (MacNaughton, & Williams, 1998). There lacks proper curriculum to guide early childhood education and the one in place has been in use for many decades something which clearly indicates that it could have outlived its use (Margetts, 2003).
Until stakeholders in early childhood education come up with solutions as well as recommendations geared towards streamlining early childhood education to meet modern educational needs then all efforts geared towards achievement of effective early childhood education provision in Australia are likely to be unsuccessful. In conclusion, early childhood education in Australia is in deplorable state. There is a need for the government to include in its educational agenda, policies which will see more funding directed to early childhood education.
The government must take initiative and implement the necessary amendments to the education act which has not served early childhood education properly. There is a need for integration of early childhood education to primary education and secondary education for purposes of achieving transition so that early childhood education is not viewed as a stand alone sector in education. References MacNaughton, G. & Williams, G. (1998.
69-79) Techniques for Teaching Young Children: Choices in theory and practice, Addison Wesley Longman Australia Pty Ltd, Frenchs Forest, NSW. Margetts, K. (2003. pp. 45-65) “Child care arrangements, personal, family and school influences on children’s adjustment to the first year of schooling”, Proceedings of the Australian Early Childhood Association Biennial Conference, Hobart 10–13 July 2003, Australian Early Childhood Association.