Community Learning for Parenthood

Roz Walker, Sven Silburn

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


In addition to the obvious benefits of early child development for improving the life-chances of individual children, the promotion of early human development is increasingly recognised as benefiting communities and society through longer-term gains in population health, educational outcomes and opportunities for social, civic and economic participation. Given the strength of research evidence regarding the importance of the early years for children’s subsequent health, learning and behaviour – as well as for their longer-term adult health and wellbeing – there is now an imperative to make sure that this knowledge is widely available to parents and the general community.

The roll-out of new national and state policies and programs for early child development has enabled many communities around the Australia to implement exciting examples of innovative practice. However, the longer-term sustainability of these initiatives will require investment in work-force development, pre- and in-service training to improve understanding of the processes of early child development, and skills training in new ways of working based on evidence of ‘what works’ in strengths focused child and family community development, population health interventions, child-care and education.

The new knowledge of experience-based human development and how gene expression is now understood to be regulated by the environment during the early years of brain development has brought new insights into which experiences and which aspects of children’s family and community environments of child rearing matter most for children’s trajectories of health and competence.

The paper concludes with a discussion of how these new perspectives on early human development can be disseminated and used to increase broader community awareness and understanding of the vital role of parenting, child health, care and education. It considers the range of new strategies needed to support community learning for parenthood, including strategies which are inclusive of the needs of parents and children from Indigenous and other culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationAustralia
PublisherAustralian Research Alliance for Children and Youth
ISBN (Print)9781921352270
Publication statusPublished - 23 Oct 2008

Publication series

NameARACY Topical Paper Series
PublisherAustralian Research Alliance for Children and Youth


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