An Abecedarian Approach with Aboriginal families and their young children in Australia: playgroup participation and developmental outcomes

Jane Page, Megan L. Cock, Lisa Murray, Tricia Eadie, Frank Niklas, Janet Scull, Joseph Sparling

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    11 Citations (Scopus)


    New approaches to support the early learning for young Indigenous children are important to government policies across Australia. This study explores whether the Abecedarian Approach Australia (3a) intervention, with strong cultural adaptations, can boost young Aboriginal children’s early language and learning skills, prior to preschool. Participants in this study were Aboriginal children attending playgroups, Families as First Teachers, in school settings in two remote communities in the Northern Territory. Implementation data on two components (Conversational Reading and LearningGames) of the Abecedarian Approach Australia (3a) intervention are reported, and the level of exposure the children had to the programme during the study period is analysed. Child outcomes were assessed on the Brigance Early Childhood Screen II for 149 children aged from 24 to 56 months. Children’s language and early learning were associated with intervention dosage. Higher exposure to Conversational Reading and LearningGames predicted stronger language and overall development for young children. This study demonstrates that this intervention can be delivered effectively in playgroups in remote settings and is a meaningful and robust strategy to support early childhood learning, with potential to improve educational outcomes for young Aboriginal children in remote communities.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)233-250
    Number of pages18
    JournalInternational Journal of Early Childhood
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019


    • Abecedarian
    • Australia
    • Cognitive academic outcomes
    • Early childhood education
    • Indigenous population
    • Language outcomes

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