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Evidence Report

Early childhood development occurs within the context of multiple environments, with a vast range of factors in these environments exerting influence on different aspects of a child’s development. This Evidence Report discusses the potential for the characteristics of these environments to increase the risk of a young child experiencing poor developmental outcomes or, alternatively, to enable protection from the impact of adversity. An Ecological Model of Child Development is outlined, and the key factors influencing development in a child’s immediate contexts are summarised, including: the prenatal environment, the family and home environment, and early childhood education and care.

Read this Evidence Report for an in-depth look at risk and protective factors in early childhood.

Research Snapshot

Children grow up surrounded by people and living in environments that shape their development. Right from conception, factors in a child’s immediate environment such as their family and home and the early education and care they receive influence their emotional, social, physical and mental health.

Read this Research Snapshot for a quick look at understanding risk and protective factors in early childhood.


Resilience Outcomes Scale



News Article

First words: identifying risks to language development

Language is a uniquely human ability that helps us to learn from other’s experience and is the foundation for so much of what happens in life.

That is why falling behind in language development can prove to be a substantial disadvantage that affects a child’s ability to thrive at school, form relationships and get a job.

Daniel Christensen, Telethon Kids Institute Life Course Centre research fellow, says there is rapid change in a child’s brain in the first few years of life, making their home environment and relationship with carers incredibly important.

“Language development is the result of quite complex interactions between the child, their family, their school and the community and that all takes place in a broader social and cultural context,” Mr Christensen said.

Researchers at Telethon Kids are contributing to a growing body of research that has identified a number of beneficial factors and risks to language development from birth.