A Charles Sturt University (CSU) academic has been awarded a research fellowship with a leading national organisation to improve high quality early childhood education and care for all children.
Dr Sandie Wong (pictured), a senior lecturer in the CSU School of Teacher Education and researcher at the CSU Research Institute for Professional Practice, Learning and Education (RIPPLE), has accepted a three-year Research Fellowship with Goodstart Early Learning, Australia's largest not-for-profit provider of early learning, operating in every state and territory.
"High quality early childhood education and care is important for all children, but especially those from marginalised and/or vulnerable backgrounds," Dr Wong said.
"It has positive effects on children's social, emotional and cognitive development and has the potential to address inequity.
"But this needs a highly skilled workforce with knowledge about child development, pedagogy, and how to build respectful relationships with children, families and communities to provide effective and nurturing learning environments, as well as professional reflection skills that enable effective as well as innovative practice."
Dr Wong said Goodstart Early Learning is in a unique position as a social enterprise formed by four Australian organisations – Social Ventures Australia, Mission Australia, The Benevolent Society, and the Brotherhood of St Laurence.
"Goodstart is committed to providing high quality early childhood education and care through its 644 centres, and it advocates for universal quality provision so that all Australian children can get the best possible start in life," Dr Wong said.
"My role will be to work with the organisation to support quality provision of early childhood education and care through researching practices and supporting practitioner enquiry, to ensure on-going quality improvement within Goodstart and evidence for the broader field."
Dr Wong will be an integral part of the organisation's leadership team, assisting them to translate multidisciplinary national and international evidence into best practice in early learning and care across their network of centres. She will help build the capacity of Goodstart educators to use evidence-informed practice as well as support them to work as co-researchers in their centres.
"I will also focus on developing external national and international relationships with academics and researchers in early childhood education, government agencies and industry organisations," Dr Wong said.
"These responsibilities will contribute to high quality early learning practice in Goodstart centres, and also improve the quality of experience for children and families."
Dr Wong began her role as Goodstart Research Fellow (National Lead Practice Research) on Monday 13 June and will devote three days a week to Goodstart and two days to a RIPPLE Fellowship.