The Early Learning Strategy – 10 Year Plan: Growing our Learners

Please join us for this HDA forum held in conjunction with our partner organisation the Department for Education. 

The Early Learning Strategy aligns with the Child Development Council’s How are they faring? - South Australia’s 2020 Report Card for children and young people and forms part of the Department for Education broader reform to achieve world-class education in South Australia by 2028.

The vision of the strategy is: all young children thriving and learning, and the strategy goals are:

  • Strong partnerships across government and non-government sectors to increase the proportion of children developmentally on track, regardless of background or location with additional specific support for Aboriginal children and children in complex situations
  • Well supported parents highly engaged with their children enabling them to learn and reach their potential
  • High-quality educational preschool programs supported by excellence in teaching and learning

This forum will explore the imperative for the strategy and what research and evidence tells us are the best whole of government and non-government systemic levers for improved child development, children’s wellbeing, governance and partnerships. Together we can make a difference, optimise our resources, respond purposefully to the needs of children and families and improve the current trajectories for children in our state.


Caroline Croser-Barlow, Executive Director, Early Years and Child Development Division, Department for Education

The Department for Education Early Learning Strategy – all young children thriving and learning.

Caroline has experience in the public service across a range of policy areas, including education, climate change, environment, and social policy. Her current role involves leading a division that oversee a range of policies, programs and services for the participation, engagement and learning achievement for all children and young people, in particular those experiencing challenges to their inclusion.

Professor Sally Brinkman, Program Head, International Child Development / Team Head, Child Health Development and Education, Telethon Kids Institute.

How are children developing in South Australia? Changes over time and in comparison to other jurisdictions.

Sally Brinkman is a social epidemiologist with the majority of her research focusing on societies' impact on child development in multiple countries. Sally is also the Co-Director of the Fraser Mustard Centre, an innovative initiative between Telethon Kids and the South Australian Department for Education aimed to improve research translation. Further, Sally holds an Adjunct Professor position with the University of Adelaide. Sally is well known for spearheading the Australian Early Development Census (AEDC), being the first to pilot the underlying instrument outside of Canada. Sally continues to work across the country with communities, service providers and governments to help facilitate their use of the AEDC data. Internationally, Sally works with governments and donor organisations, such as the World Bank, UNICEF, and UNESCO, on various measures of child development for monitoring and evaluation purposes, with her primary focus in Pacific island countries and South East Asia. Sally has over 160 publications and brings internationally recognised epidemiological skills, particularly in relation to population monitoring of child development. Recent highlights include being awarded the top ranked Career Development Fellowship from the NHMRC and being appointed to the South Australian Child Development Council, recognising Sally’s commitment to practical, pragmatic, and translatable research.  

Dr Anne Glover AO, Presiding Member of the SA Child Development Council / Adjunct Senior Research Fellow, UniSA Education Futures, University of South Australia

Thriving and learning: population-level monitoring and reporting of South Australia’s young children.

Anne Glover has spent much of the past twenty-five years working in the Asia Pacific region designing, implementing and evaluating development programs. She has been an advisor and consultant to the New Zealand and Australian bilateral aid programs and international agencies including UNICEF, Asian Development Bank and the World Bank. Her work has focused on supporting partner countries to progress their development goals and reform agendas, while also providing policy and technical advice. Anne’s professional interest is early childhood education, and she has a long involvement in the early childhood care and education sector. Anne is actively engaged in various organisations concerned with children’s well-being.

Dr Rhiannon Pilkington, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, BetterStart Child Health and Development Research Group, School of Public Health, University of Adelaide

Information systems and linked data to inform evidence-based interventions to improve population health and wellbeing. 

Rhiannon Pilkington is an epidemiologist with expertise in translational research, data analytics, and linked administrative data. Her research focusses on improving the evidence that informs how we can ensure every child and young person receives the support they need to have the best start in life. Rhiannon works with government and non-government organisations in SA, Victoria, and NSW, using their data to bring a public health perspective to service design and delivery with the aim of achieving better outcomes for populations experiencing different forms of disadvantage. 

Michael Edgecomb, Lead Consultant/Facilitator, Doing Life Together

Social innovation, change labs, and outcomes measurement: Tools to deepen our understanding, draw us closer to the heart of community, and to develop interdependent communities where children and families can grow and thrive.

Michael travels around Australia facilitating practical and engaging professional development in topics including social innovation, outcomes measurement, change labs, and community engagement. He is also involved in providing backbone support to multiple place-based social change initiatives in both regional and metropolitan contexts. Michael understands that the evidence is clear, there are significant complex challenges being faced by people experiencing vulnerability in our communities. A collective and innovative new way of working needs to be found to transform our communities and begin providing new opportunities for all people. Social innovation, change labs, and outcomes measurement are critical. It is not about money; it is about ensuring that our systems and strategies develop communities of interdependence that encourage people to thrive.


Professor Carol Maher (HDA Co-Convenor), Professor of Population and Digital Health, Medical Research Future Fund Investigator / Deputy Director of the Alliance for Research in Exercise, Nutrition and Activity (ARENA), University of South Australia

The recording can be viewed here:

Tagged in learning, #parenting #family #children, education