Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Geelong community to monitor their children’s development

An initiative designed to track the progress and development of young children has been launched in Geelong today.

Geelong will participate in the Australian Early Development Index: Building Better Communities for Children (AEDI) Project, a $900,000 project funded under the Howard Government’s Stronger Families and Communities Strategy.

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, today officially launched the project, which will gain information from up to 71 schools and 2,500 children in the City of Greater Geelong.

“The AEDI measures young children’s development based on a teacher-completed checklist on language and cognitive skills, emotional maturity, physical health and wellbeing, communication skills, general knowledge and social competence,” Senator Patterson said.

“It’s an important tool to help communities understand the health, development and wellbeing of their children, identifying areas where children are excelling, as well as those areas in need of additional support.

“A broad range of organisations in Geelong are involved, including the City of Greater Geelong, Deakin University and Barwon Health and the national project is being conducted by the Centre for Community Child Health at the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, in partnership with the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, Perth.

“The project is funded as an initiative of the National Agenda for Early Childhood and is also supported by Shell Australia.

“The Early Development Instrument (EDI) was originally developed in Canada, where it has proven to be a reliable and valid measure of children’s development.

“It has been further adapted and validated for use in Australia, where it will involve 60 communities, and include more than 900 schools and
35,000 children across the country.

“Results from the first 39 communities testing the use of the AEDI will be released later this year.

“The project identifies examples of the ways in which schools, early childhood services, and local agencies can work together to ensure Australian children are able to gain access to services which will better suit their changing needs,” Senator Patterson said.