SYDNEY, March 22 (Xinhua) -- Only one percent of Australian children are receiving quality education in the pre-school system, a study has found.
The research, published by The University of Melbourne on Wednesday, found that while children were well cared for emotionally they were missing out on play-based learning which is vital to development.
Researchers from the Effective Early Education Experiences for Kids project tracked 2,500 three and four year olds from Victoria and Queensland over five years.
The landmark study found that low quality teaching aimed at turning play into learning was present at 87 percent of pre-school services while just one percent had high-quality learning.
Only eight percent of centers were found to have high-quality care and hygiene while six percent had high-quality activities.
Results of the study suggested that even educators at the tertiary level were spending more time focusing on behavior than important higher-order thinking.
Collette Tayler, lead author of the study, said the major fear was that most children were starting school at a disadvantage.
"A lot of the time educators are making sure children are behaving and communicating and supported emotionally but it's not good enough without picking up the learning," Tayler told News Limited on Wednesday.
"Educators should be discussing their play with children, making sure they understand and helping them explore what is going on and why.
"The presence of this learning at three and four makes a difference to children's outcomes later at age eight."
Jenny Mikakos, Victoria's Minister for Families and Children, said the report would "help guide future funding decisions as we reform and improve Victoria's early childhood sector."