Australian Early Development Census


The Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) occurs across Australia every three years in schools with kindergarten students. The census gathers information about how young children have developed prior to their first year of full time school. In the 2018 census, NSW had a participation rate of 98.2% for government schools and 95.2% across all school sectors.

What is the AEDC?

The Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) is a population-based measure of how children in Australia have developed by the time they start their first year of full-time school. Schools with kindergarten students participate in the census. Teachers complete a research tool, the Australian version of the Early Development Instrument, based on observations of the children in their class. The AEDC involves the collection of data across five developmental domains:

  • Physical Health and Wellbeing
  • Social Competence
  • Emotional Maturity
  • Language and Cognitive Skills (school-based)
  • Communication Skills and General Knowledge

Each of the five domains has a corresponding set of questions. Data is collected for individual children and then reported for a group of children at a community, state/territory and national level. The information is used by schools, early childhood educators, health services, local council community groups and governments to help plan and allocate the right type of services and support for their community. Further information is available on the National AEDC website.

Results for 2018 show that in NSW, 1 in 5 children (19.9%) enter Kindergarten developmentally vulnerable on one or more domains.

How is the AEDC data reported?

Community level AEDC results and other useful demographic information are reported publicly as data tables, maps and community profiles that can be freely accessed through the AEDC Data Explorer. The AEDC data is reported at a school, community, state and national level, showing the number and percentage of children considered to be developmentally vulnerable, at risk or on track across the 5 developmental domains.

Accessing your school profile

Schools with six or more participating students are provided with a School Profile. Schools with fewer than six students do not receive an individual profile but their results contribute to their Community Profile and the National Report. School principals received their profile through a secure portal in November, if you would like to request access to your school profile contact

School Profiles provide in-depth information about the cohort of children captured in the most recent AEDC data collection. They also contain trend data for a school across the four collections (2009, 2012, 2015 and 2018).

How can AEDC data be used?

Educators can use the AEDC data as a starting point to develop a shared vision for children?s development, learning and wellbeing.

The AEDC data can inform planning to support students in transitioning well into school. The AEDC is a known predictor of children's later educational outcomes, including NAPLAN, and of children's emotional wellbeing. The AEDC results demonstrate how well our five year olds are progressing and reflect actions that have been successful in supporting children's development.

AEDC Online Professional Learning course and the resources below provide information on how the AEDC results can benefit schools and communities in the planning and delivery of targeted actions to support local children and families.

Every School Counts

AEDC Online Professional Learning

AEDC Online Professional Learning (OPL) course complements resources available on NSW AEDC website. The course includes four learning modules which qualifies the participants for two hours of NESA accredited Professional Development. Practitioners in government and non-government schools, as well as early childhood education and care centres can enrol and complete the online modules.

NSW Department of Education employees can access the course by clicking on this link or searching the learning catalogue on MyPL.

Non-Department of Education employees (including employees of Catholic Schools NSW, Association of Independent Schools NSW, Local Councils, non-government organisations and Early Childhood Education Services) can follow this link to enrol and complete AEDC Online Professional Learning.

Non-Department of Education stakeholders can use this guide to create a non-DoE account that will enable them complete the online course.

AEDC Engagement Kit

The AEDC resources are designed to support educators to understand how the Australian Early Development Census can be used to inform their planning and practice.

By working through the three stages: assess, plan and act, educators will have a greater understanding of how to use the AEDC data within their setting to support children's holistic development.

The resources include guides to each of the five domains, a guide for principals and leaders, and a guide for teachers and educators. These guides can be used to inform early childhood and curriculum planning, quality improvement and strengthen partnerships with families and the community.

These resources provide the links between the AEDC and the National Quality Standard, Early Years Learning Framework and NSW Syllabuses for the Australian Curriculum. The resources may also assist principals and teachers in meeting the Australian Professional Standards.

AEDC Resources

The AEDC supports data driven planning for education leaders in schools and early childhood services:

The AEDC school/community data can be used by educators to enhance their planning:

Linking the AEDC with the National Quality Standard, Early Years Learning Framework, NSW Syllabus for the Australian Curriculum and the Australian Professional Standards:

Domain Guides

The five domain guides support early childhood education and care services and schools to gain a deeper understanding of the AEDC domains. These guides can be used to inform early childhood and curriculum planning, quality improvement and strengthen partnerships with families and the community:

Physical Health and Wellbeing

Social Competence

Emotional Maturity

Language and Cognitive Skills (school-based)

Communication Skills and General Knowledge

Data Workshops

If you are interested in hosting an AEDC data workshop in your school or community, please contact the NSW AEDC Coordinator at or 02 7814 3083.

How is AEDC data collected?

Kindergarten teachers in all school sectors across NSW complete the AEDC data collection research. The video below provides an overview of the process through which AEDC data is collected. This video is based on 2018 collection cycle. 2021 AEDC data collection will follow a similar process. The information around the collection process and key dates will be provided soon.

Preparing for the AEDC data collection


The engagement kit and AEDC Online Professional Learning course was developed in partnership between the Western Australian Department of Education, the Association of Independent Schools Western Australia, Catholic Education of Western Australia, the New South Wales Department of Education and the South Australian Department for Education and Child Development. The partners acknowledge the assistance and expertise of the Telethon Kids Institute in the development of the resources.

Western Australia’s Department of Education owns the copyright for AEDC Online Professional Development Course and AEDC Engagement Kits. Australian Government funds all AEDC activities and resources in NSW.

Contact us or 02 7814 3083

Return to top of page Back to top