This evaluation focused on a limited hours childcare service provided by a community organisation that works with diverse families and communities to strengthen family and community life. The evaluation focused on how the childcare service supports parents, children’s early developmental skills, and the role childcare experiences play in supporting children’s transition to Prep. A pre-post design over a four month period was employed to track child development, with current childcare parents reporting on perceived benefits of the centre, and past parents providing narratives of the transition to school experience for their child.
Data for the suburb in which the childcare centre is based, from the Australian Early Development Census (AEDC), shows that 22% of children enter school vulnerable in the communication development domain, compared to 9% of Australian children nationally. The childcare centre has been a highly valued part of the local community with feedback and anecdotal evidence suggesting that it is effective in achieving a number of important outcomes in the area of child development, school readiness, parenting capacity building, along with service and social linkages for families. Recent changes to funding models have brought about uncertainty in regards to future funding for the centre. The evidence produced in this evaluation provides important data upon which the service can build sustainable future funding partnerships.