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About the Australian Early Development Census (AEDC)

The Australian Government works with its partners and with state and territory governments to implement the Australian Early Development Census.  The Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) collects information about the development of children in Australia in their first year of full time school. The census takes place every three years and has been conducted in 2009, 2012, 2015, 2018 and 2021.

The 2021 AEDC data will be released in March 2022.

Government, Catholic and Independent schools participate in the collection, providing population level information about children’s early development in communities across Australia.

Policy makers, service providers, governments, communities, education sectors and researchers use AEDC data to inform policy, planning, services and collaborations for children and families.

The 5 domains of early childhood development

AEDC data highlights how children have developed across 5 important areas of early childhood development called domains. These domains support them to engage in learning and connect with peers at school.

Physical health and wellbeing

Children's physical readiness for the school day, physical independence and gross and fine motor skills.

Emotional maturity

Children's pro-social and helping behaviours, and absence of anxious and fearful behaviour, aggressive behaviour, and hyperactivity and inattention.

Language and cognitive skills (school based)

Children's basic literacy, interest in literacy, numeracy and memory, advanced literacy and basic numeracy.

Communication skills and general knowledge

Children's communication skills and general knowledge based on broad development competencies and skills measured in the school context.

AEDC in context

South Australia’s 2018 AEDC results show that while more than 50% of children are developmentally on track, some are developmentally at risk and nearly 1 in 4 children are arriving at school developmentally vulnerable on 1 or more AEDC domains.

Download the SA 2018 AEDC snapshot (PDF 1MB) and SA 2018 AEDC infographic (PDF 823KB).

The AEDC data can help governments, communities and schools improve our understanding of how to best support children and families.

The South Australian Outcomes Framework for Children and Young People aims to help our youngest citizens to start well, grow strong and experience a good life. One measure of our progress in the framework is the proportion of children developmentally vulnerable on one or more domains under the Australia Early Development Census (AEDC) when they enter school.

A range of factors impact children’s life outcomes. The AEDC can help us understand the environments children are growing up in, what might be supporting or getting in the way of their development and wellbeing, how families are supported in the early years, and where to focus our efforts to make a difference.

Research has shown that investing time, effort and resources in the early years of a child’s life has a significant impact on their behaviour, learning, health and wellbeing, as they transition from childhood to adulthood.

Children with a positive early childhood experience are more likely to achieve higher educational attainment as well as demonstrate high self-esteem and social development, and fewer social and health problems.

Learn how to use AEDC data

Access the AEDC professional learning program on PLINK, the Department for Education's professional learning platform.

This program will give you a deeper understanding of the AEDC. It demonstrates how to use the data to support children’s development in your programs, policies, planning, partnerships.

This program will help you:

  • understand how to access and use AEDC data
  • reflect on what is driving or obstructing children’s development and learning
  • analyse AEDC data for change and improved outcomes for children
  • identify strategic partners
  • plan for programs, transitions and partnerships
  • identify issues, opportunities and key actions to inform improvement planning and policy
  • monitor and measure progress.

Real examples of practice explicitly connect AEDC data to quality (NQS and AITSL) and curriculum planning (EYLF and Australian Curriculum) to support improved development and learning outcomes for children.

The program is approximately 1.5 hours long, and made up of 4 modules.

SA AEDC State Coordinator

Email: Education.AEDCTeam [at] sa.gov.au