Our Projects

Engaging families in the early childhood development story

An increasing body of evidence demonstrates how brain development in the early years can set trajectories for learning and development throughout the child's life. Parents play the most critical role in helping their children's early development, and the COAG Standing Council on School Education and Early Childhood (SCSEEC) has identified that there is an opportunity to better engage parents in understanding early childhood development, to facilitate positive child development.

ARACY has identified that simply providing information to parents does not always translate into supportive parenting practices. Using the best evidence from what has worked in public health social marketing (such as the QUIT, sun-smart and HIV/AIDS behaviour change programs), ARACY has developed a social marketing strategy to encourage positive parenting, based on an understanding of the complexities of attitudes and behaviour and the barriers to parents creating an optimal environment for their young child.

Enabled through funding provided by COAG and led by the SA Government, The Engaging Families in the Early Childhood Story project aims to instigate parental and adult carer behaviour that are conducive to positive child development. The campaign is intended to:

  • inform and reassure parents that their parenting makes a significant difference, particularly in the critical 0-5 period;
  • motivate parents to adopt evidence from the neurosciences and other sciences into their parenting behaviour; and
  • build a common language between parents, service providers and other professionals.

ARACY has worked closely with TNS Social Research on the campaign development research, which involved an environmental audit of current research and thinking, qualitative and quantitative fieldwork to explore attitudes and behaviour, creative concept development and concept testing.

The final report, which includes the detailed social marketing strategy, was endorsed by COAG in December 2013 and can be accessed here. COAG has encouraged ARACY to work with state governments and other potential funders to attract funding to launch the campaign, potentially as a state-based trial.

For more information, contact us.