Growing Up in Australia - Study members

 

Participants Newsletter - December 2011

Happy holidays from our family to yours!
Best wishes of the season to all our study children and their families! 2011 has been another exciting year for Growing Up in Australia, the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, so a big thank you to all of you for helping us to make the study a success.

Coming to you soon

Our next interviews are under way. The first phase of the interviews began in 2011 and they will continue through 2012. Feedback from families who have completed their interview is positive, with many families liking the interviewing methods that provide parents and children with the opportunity to answer some of the questions using a laptop computer.

As you know, Growing Up in Australia is a unique study following the progress of the same group of children over time to help improve our understanding of all aspects of children and their development.

Taking part in the next interview will be very simple and is similar to your last experience. It will involve an Interviewer visiting you at home at a time that suits you and carrying out an interview with you and your child. The Interviewer will explain in detail what taking part involves and, as always, all of the information we collect is strictly confidential and can be used only for research purposes.

We are very much looking forward to re-connecting with all the Growing Up in Australia families and study children.

Life at 7 documentary

Growing Up in Australia is again collaborating with Heiress Films to produce the fourth series of the Life At documentary, Life at 7. The series follows 11 children and their families by observing their ordinary routines and milestones and looking at factors impacting on their lives such as their parents' relationship, finances, work, health and education.

The Life At documentaries are based around information collected from Growing Up in Australia. The Life At families complete some of the same study activities and questions as the families in the study. Two episodes of Life at 5 were shown on ABC TV in February 2011. Videos from the documentary can be viewed at <www.abc.net.au/tv/life/>.

Keeping fit and healthy

With 2012 just around the corner and New Year's resolutions in full swing, we all know exercising is a great way to get active and meet new people—but how many of us make the time to exercise each week? In 2009 and 2010, this is what our Growing Up in Australia parents said about being active.

This information comes from just over 4,000 parents with children aged 6-7 years and the same number of parents with children aged 10-11 years.

Number of days exercised each week

Parents of 6-7 year old study children

Number of days exercised each week: Parents of 6-7 year old study children - as described in text

Parents of 10-11 year old study children

Number of days exercised each week: Parents of 10-11 year old study children  - as described in text

Almost half of the parents of 6-7 year olds and 10-11 year olds were an active member of a sporting, hobby or community-based club or association.

Playgrounds

Does your child have a favourite playground? Maybe it's a new wooden one that has lots of tall towers and passageways. Or maybe an old-fashioned playground with swings and a seesaw. Playgrounds are fun places for kids because there's so much to do and other kids to have fun with. We asked parents about parks, playgrounds and play spaces in their neighbourhood and if their child had recently (in the past month) gone to a playground or a swimming pool with a family member.

Families who had gone to a playground or swimming pool in the last month

Families who had gone to a playground or swimming pool in the last month - as described in text

Over 80% of parents said there were good parks, playgrounds and play spaces in their neighbourhood.

What kids say about being physically active

We asked the 10-11 year old children how much they enjoyed being physically active doing things like sports, active games, swimming, walking or running. This is what they said.

How much 10-11 year olds enjoy being active

How much 10-11 year olds enjoy being active - as described in text

Is your child changing schools?

This information from the Raising Children Network may be useful for parents who have children changing schools or transitioning from primary to secondary school.

Starting secondary school

by Raising Children Network

Sourced from the Raising Children Network's comprehensive and quality-assured Australian Parenting website: <raisingchildren.net.au/articles/secondary_school.html>

In the news

Growing Up in Australia had extensive media coverage in 2011. Below are a few excerpts from Australian newspapers, reporting on research done using the information you provided.

Technology the modern bogey - The Australian, 14 February 2011

Parents are finding it harder than ever to buffer their kids from the chaos of modern life, with the future influence of new technologies on childhood development the big unknown, a leading child health expert warns. Stephen Zubrick, chairman of the scientific advisory group of the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, says parents continue to raise resilient children in the face of work and time pressures, but technology is the X-factor.

The LSAC study, which has tracked the development of nearly 10,000 families since 2004, will report this week that a third of 9- to 10-year-olds use a computer to send or receive emails at least once a week, 11% visit social networking sites and a third play games on the Internet.

One-third of children this age have access in their bedrooms to games machines, including hand-held games, and one in 10 have a mobile phone.

It's an age-old debate - Sunday Telegraph, 10 June 2011

Around 14.5% of parents delay their child's schooling nationally - lower than the NSW figure of 31%, the Australian Institute of Family Studies found. Institute research fellow Dr Ben Edwards said studies have shown no negative long-term effects [of] starting age. “We've found gaps between children's vocabulary and non-verbal problem-solving skills, but these dissipate over time,” Dr Edwards said. “There's no difference between social and emotional outcomes.”

Playgroups pass the learning test - The Age, 14 July 2011

After 40 years of operating in parks and church halls, playgroups have had their first major independent evaluation - and the results are impressive.

They show attendance can improve the learning and social development of children who need help most.

Boys and girls from disadvantaged backgrounds who attended a playgroup for some time in two consecutive years were substantially ahead in literacy, numeracy and vocabulary by the age of 4 and 5 compared with children from similar backgrounds who did not attend, the research showed. Attendance helped halve the attainment gap in learning between the children from poorer and more advantaged backgrounds.

The study, involving a group of universities and children's research institutes, was based on an initial sample of 5107 babies aged 3 to 19 months drawn from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children.

Our parents go online!

This year we asked parents to go online and check their current contact details and provide updates, where needed. Families were also able to provide their opinions on participating in the study.

Parents can still update their contact details by:

Phone: 1800 005 508 (Freecall except from mobile phones)

Email Growingup

Providing feedback to us

We have received some really positive feedback from parents who are involved in the study. To give us any feedback about being in the study please go online at: <www.growingupinaustralia.gov.au/contact>

We would love to hear from you!

We are always pleased to hear from you about your experiences with the study or your ideas for the future of the study.

Please email Growingup with any comments.

Are you moving?

Please help us keep in touch by updating your address and contact details. You can do this in a number of ways:

Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children

Helping make sure all children have a good start in life

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