About the Project

  • About the project

    The Linking Schools and Early Years project (2006 - 2012) was based on research conducted by the Centre for Community Child Health (CCCH) in 2006. This research explored the potential to refocus community-based services for young children and their families. It found that:

    • Barriers faced by vulnerable children when starting school may be overcome by stronger linkages and partnerships between schools and early years services, families and the community.

    • There was potential t bridge a gap between early years services and primary schools to ensure better planning for the individual needs of children entering school.

    The project recognised that 'school readiness does not reside solely in the child, but reflects the environments in which children find themselves - their families, early childhood settings, schools, neighbourhoods, and communities' (Kagan & Rigby, 2003).

    The project was working towards the long-term outcome of all children arriving at school ready to engage. Being ready to engage at school means that children have the social, emotional and learning skills and attitudes that will enable them to benefit from the school environment. In order for this to occur, a number of things need to take place before they get to school:

    • Participation is high quality early childhood services.

    • Strong relationships between early childhood services, schools and families to support a smooth transition to school for children and families.

    • Families supporting their children's learning and development.

    An  Outcomes Framework was developed for the project to share the research and conceptualisation of the project:

    Outcomes framework


    Goals and outcomes

    The Linking Schools and Early Years project commenced in January 2007 and concluded in December 2012. Within that period, the project sought to contribute to the long-term aim that all children arrive at primary school ready to engage and continue their early learning and development. The project worked towards three specific goals:

    1. Children and families make a smooth transition between early years services and schools
    2. Early years services and schools actively connect with families 
    3. Schools are responsive to the individual learning needs of all children


    The project operated in three Victorian communities. In each community the project worked with local Partnership groups that consist of schools, early years services, child and family community services, local government and state government. The Partnership groups planned, developed, implemented and evaluated locally relevant strategies and activities to develop new models of working collaboratively towards achieving the three project goals. To view a description of community strategies and activities, please select the relevant community icon below.

      Corio/Norlane   Footscray   Hastings

    Advisory group

    A project advisory group was established to oversee the project. The advisory group was made up of experts in education and early childhood development, policy makers and representatives from each of the project communities:

    • Catholic Education Office
    • Centre for Community Child Health (CCCH)
    • Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR), Victorian State branch
    • R.E. Ross Trust
    • Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD)
      • Office for Children & Portfolio Coordination
      • Office for Government Schools
      • Southern Region
      • Barwon Region
      • Western Metropolitan Region
    • University of Melbourne
    • Royal Children's Hospital Education Institute
    • Social Policy Research Centre (SPRC)


    An  external evaluation was built into the project from its inception. The evaluation was conducted by the Social Policy and Research Centre at the University of New South Wales.

    Funding and coordination

    The project was being funded by The  R. E. Ross Trust, and the  Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.

    The project was led by the  Centre for Community Child Health (at The Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne and a key research centre of the  Murdoch Childrens Research Institute)