The Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) has introduced a new measure of early childhood development to complement its current suite of indicators. Developed by the Telethon Kids Institute, the Multiple Strength Indicator (MSI), is a strength based measure that provides information on children’s developmental strengths as they commence full-time school.
Australia is the first country in the world to use the MSI and it marks an important step in fostering a more inclusive and positive dialogue around early childhood development. By highlighting what is going well for children, the measure enables communities, schools, and policy makers to seek a solution driven approach that builds on children’s existing capabilities.
Assoc Prof Sally Brinkman from The Telethon Kids Institute said that ‘the Resilience Factor’ came through strongly in the AEDC data.
“We’ve always known that many Australian communities have a diverse range of children living within them, and that some communities that show a high proportion of children with developmental vulnerabilities, can also have a lot of children who are showing strengths in development. By providing communities with crucial information on how their children are going helps us to work out what is working well to support children and what might not be,” Brinkman said.
The AEDC data identified communities across Australia with large proportions of children with high developmental vulnerabilities as well as high developmental strengths.
“We will work with communities, educators and researchers across the country to ensure these results are acted upon because these insights can help make all the difference in the world to how our children are supported through some of their most important years of development.”
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