Office of Pre-Primary Education and Childcare


Follow us on FacebookFollow us on Twitteryoutube

Member Login

Member and Library Subscriber Article Drop-down Menus


2014, Volume 17, Special Issue: Early Childhood Policy

The Relationship between Early Childhood Education and Care and English Proficiency at School Entry for Bilingual Children in Australia

nzrece journal

MFull© ChildForum

PDF copies of this article are available for personal use click here to go to the Store page 


Full Reference
O'Connor, M., O'Connor, E.J., Kvalsvig, A., & Goldfeld, S. (2014). The relationship between early childhood education and care and English proficiency at school entry for bilingual children in Australia. NZ Research in Early Childhood Education Journal. Special Issue: Early Childhood Policy, 17, 161-181.


Original Policy Paper

The Relationship between Early Childhood Education and Care and English Proficiency at School Entry for Bilingual Children in Australia

Meredith O’Connor1,2, Elodie J. O’Connor1, Amanda Kvalsvig1 and Sharon Goldfeld1,2
1. Royal Children’s Hospital, Victoria, Australia
2. University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia



Children from diverse language backgrounds who enter school with limited proficiency in English may face additional challenges in negotiating this new context. Hence, it is important to consider what antecedent factors might promote English proficiency at school entry. Engagement with early childhood education and care (ECEC) programmes may be one such factor. Drawing on population-level data from the teacher-rated Australian Early Development Index (n=261,147), this study aims to explore the relationship between ECEC (including pre-school, day-care, and other informal non-parental care) and English proficiency at school entry for Australian children from bilingual backgrounds. The findings reveal that attendance at pre-school (OR=1.53, 95% CI=1.37-1.70) was associated with increased odds of being proficient in English at school entry for bilingual children, whereas attending day-care without a pre-school programme (OR=0.78, 95% CI=0.68-0.89), more informal non-parental care (OR=0.72, 95% CI=0.65-0.80), or parental care only (OR=0.59, 95% CI=0.52-0.67) was associated with decreased odds of proficiency in English at school entry. These findings suggest that engagement with pre-school programmes prior to school entry may well present a plausible and modifiable approach to improving English proficiency at school entry for bilingual children, with important implications for policy and programmes that aim to reduce inequality in skills at school entry.

Key words: Transition to school; bilingual; Australian Early Development Index (AEDI); school entry, ECE participation.


To keep reading, login with your member's username and password

Here’s how our membership plans work

  • Individual Members can view all the individual member-only articles and our library of Research Journals.
  • Full Early Childhood Service Members (staff and managers) can view everything including individual member articles, ECE research journals, and management and business (Go to the Join Us page for more details) 
  • Research Library subscribers have access only to our online library of Research Journals (this includes all past and current journal issues).

If you are not yet a member you are welcome to apply now - it takes only a few minutes to apply Smile Go to the JOIN US page 

Free E-Newsletter

Receive the free Early Childhood Alert.


We hate spam as much as you, we will not sell your contact details to anyone.

You can unsubscribe at any time.

Read our Privacy Policy here.

Don’t miss out any longer, click the button below to join ChildForum

Join Us!



Subscribe now for information you can trust, expert advice and research, as well as access to quality resources

We are confident you will be delighted to discover and experience the benefits of membership - so join now and make this message for non-members disappear from your screen. 

Membership Options


Who is this for?
Any person who has an interest in early childhood education and care or who works directly with children.

$98.00 12 months from the date of joining
$60.00 6 months student-only

The membership belongs to you, and you only. Enjoy your own personal username and password.

ECE Service Organisation

Who is this for?
Centres, home-based, hospital-based, playgroups ... established or newly licensed. Gives access to professional & research materials enjoyed by individual members PLUS service operation and management area. 

$198.00 12 months for a standalone licensed service
Special rates for organisations with more than 1 licence

The membership belongs to your whole organisation, team members and managers.

Library NZ-International Research
in ECE Journal Subscriber

Who is this for?
Universities, Polytechnics and organisations wishing to have online access to the NZ-Int Research in ECE journal (includes all past and current issues) 

$125.00 annual subscription, renewable in November each year

A username and password for your library users linked to your IP address.