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Early development data released

Parents will now have access to data that details how young children in their community are faring in key developmental areas.

The Australian Early Development Index, released by the government on Tuesday, will also allow national comparisons to be made.

About 97 per cent of five-year-olds around the country were covered by the data, collected by kindergarten teachers in the first half of 2009.

The teachers looked at five areas – health, social and communication skills, emotional maturity, language and general knowledge.

The snapshot, released late last year, showed almost a quarter of children around the country were struggling with at least one aspect of development.

Kids living in very remote areas, from low socio-economic backgrounds and indigenous Australians, tended to perform far worse than others.

The detailed data breaks down the information into community groups, allowing parents to see how their youngsters are progressing.

Early Childhood Education Minister Kate Ellis said the information allows the government and communities to see where they need to do more.

“This rich source of information will help determine what services and actions are needed,” she said, releasing the data in Adelaide.

“And it will help early childhood professionals and service providers to plan and target their resources to where they are most needed.”

The government also set down more than $2.5 million to pay for mentors to help parents and communities interpret the data.

The index is available at www.aedi.org.au

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