Life Course Centre Seminar Series: What matters for each Australian child’s lifetime learning? Early education and care as an intervention in early life

Presented by Prof Karen Thorpe, The University of Queensland and hosted by the Life Course Centre

This regularly held series presents research findings, and provides a forum for discussions on a broad range of topics relating to life course studies.

About this event

Experiences in the first five years of life shape the neural pathways that provide the foundation for lifetime trajectories of learning, health and social inclusion. Three key policies are employed to target optimal experiences in the first five years: antenatal care, parenting supports and early childhood education and care (ECEC) programs. Since the OECD report Starting Strong 2001-2017 ECEC has been a key strategy to support optimal development in the first five years and research has focused on identifying the qualities of ECEC that have enduring effects on child outcomes.  In this presentation I focus on 4 Australian data sets  to examine  the effectiveness of ECEC programs and  propose key policy and practice actions necessary to  increase effectiveness  and equity of ECEC programs.

Event speakers

Karen Thorpe is a Chief Investigator in the Life Course Centre based at the Institute for Social Science Research. Her research examines the effects of children’s early life experiences on social, learning and health trajectories across the lifespan. Her particular interest is early childcare and education environments including parenting, parent work, quality of care and education, and the early years workforce. She was Foundation Psychologist on the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children at the University of Bristol, UK; led the evaluation of the Preparing School Trial for Queensland Government; led the Queensland team of the E4Kids study of quality in Australian Early Education and Care and; in partnership with Queensland Government, Goodstart Early Learning and the Creche and Kindergarten Association, led a study of the Australian ECEC workforce (ARC Linkage). In 2013 and again in 2019 she was named by the Australian Financial Review as among Australia’s 100 Women of Influence for the impacts of her research on educational and family policy. Karen chairs the Australian Early Years Reference Council, whose remit is to build a strong evidence base for translation into policy and practice in early childhood education and care.

Date & Time

Thu, 18 November, 2021

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm (AEDT)




Life Course Centre