NameAbecedarian Approach Australia (3a)
Target audienceInfants (0-2 years)
Early childhood (3-5 years)
At-risk or vulnerable
CfC Objective Healthy Young Families
Early Learning and Care
School Transition and Engagement
Organisation Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne
Delivery SettingCommunity-based
DescriptionThe program is a combination of teaching and learning strategies for use in early childhood settings and parenting programs designed to enhance children’s cognitive, emotional and communication outcomes and readiness for school.
Delivered toChildren 0- 5 years of age, especially for young children at risk
Delivered byEarly childhood professionals – including, for example, early childhood educators, intervention workers, family support facilitators and maternal and child health nurses.
Program Structure

Program comprises four elements:


  • Learning games®
  • Conversational reading
  • Language priority
  • Enriched care-giving
  • Practitioner: 3 days
  • Affiliate trainer: 3 days Practitioner + 1 day trainer add-on
  • Coach: 3 days Practitioner + 1 day coach add-on

For training options and dates, see:

  • Practitioner training: $1650
  • Affiliate training: $660
  • 3a coach: $660

LearningGames® materials


ContactEmail: Jane Page,
Evaluation and effectiveness

A RCT was undertaken in North Carolina, USA 1972-1977 with a sample of children from vulnerable or disadvantaged families. Children in this study have been followed into adulthood. Outcomes of the program included: higher cognitive test scores than control group; higher academic achievement; enhanced language development. Mothers whose children participated in the program achieved higher educational and employment status. The disadvantaged children who attended the program for the first 5 years of life had better health at 35 years of age. Current research underway in Australia and Canada.


Campbell, F. A., Conti, G., Heckman, J. J., Moon, S., & Pinto, R. (2014). Early Childhood Program Improves Adult Health. Science, 343(6178), 1478-1485.
Campbell, F., Pungello, E., Burchinal, M., et al. (2012). Adult outcomes as a function of an early childhood educational program: an abecedarian project follow-up. Developmental Psychology, 48(4), 1033-1043.
More references available here: