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Student Services > Learning and Disability Support > Education for children with a disability - a guide for parents > Phases of learning >

Importance of early childhood education

While this guide focuses on your child's education at school, it is important to recognise that high quality education early in life gives children the best start.

All Queensland children are eligible to attend Year 1 if they attain the age of 6 years by 30 June in the year they propose to enrol in Year 1. This is considered compulsory schooling.

Before this time there are many options:

Early childhood education and care

For young children, care and education cannot be separated. Young children learn through play and learn best when receiving quality care.

The benefits of quality early childhood education and care are listed below:

There is a range of early childhood education and care services for young children, including licensed and unlicensed, centre-based and home-based services. The government gives assistance for services to support children with disability. Talk to individual providers to find out about how they may cater for your child.

It is important to consider the full range of early education and care options available to your child, and place your child's name on waiting lists if necessary.

The Queensland Government Office for Early Childhood Education and Care provides families with up-to-date information about licensed early childhood education and care services in their local area and has parent tip sheets on a range of topics including:

To access the latest information, refer to the early childhood website or telephone 1800 637 711.

Playgroups

Playgroups are established and run by parents and carers. In a playgroup, parents and carers stay and play with their children and also help them to play with other children. Children choose from a range of activities set up by the parents.

For more information about playgroups, contact Playgroup Queensland on telephone 1800 171 882.

Childcare, creche, and kindergarten

There is a wide variety of childcare, creche and kindergarten services for young children, and a large number of providers. The government gives assistance for services to support children with disability. Talk to the individual providers to find out about how they may cater for your child.

The Queensland Department of Communities - Disability and Community Care Services provide information about childcare and early education services.

To find out about the services near you call the Child Care Information Service on (07) 3224 4225 or 1800 637 711 for callers outside Brisbane or visit the Department of Communities - Disability and Community Care Services website External Link.

Early Childhood Development Programs and Services and Early Childhood Intervention

There is a range of programs and services that support children/students with disability who haven't yet started school. These programs and services are offered by:

A child may access a range of programs and services at the same time.

If you're investigating these programs and services for your child, note that DET calls them 'Early Childhood Development Programs and Services', whereas many other organisations use the term 'Early Childhood Intervention'.

Early Childhood Development Program (ECDP) and Services begin in infancy and involve parents/carers in partnership with professionals. Eligible children attend playgroup sessions with their parents/carers and families may receive specialist outreach support provided in the home environment. Ongoing parent/carer and family support is an essential component of Early Childhood Development Program and Services.

Program and Services consist of two phases. The first phase is primarily aimed at delivering direct family support to enhance the family's ability to support and maximise the development of their child from birth to three years. This phase may also encompass an educational component for families as they learn about their child's disability and the potential impact it may have on their child and family. The second phase of Early Childhood Development Program and Services is for children three to five and the focus is on a child-centred method of support. For more information about ECDP contact your local regional office or your child's teacher.

To find out about what might be available for your child, talk to:

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