Boy playing with blocks
Photo Credit: Westend61 via Getty Images.

every child
has a bright

Early childhood development is crucial for the long term success of our children. We want to make sure all Australians have the best start to life.

Young girl with her face paintedYoung girl with her face painted

What we do

We believe every child can, and should, thrive by the age of five. A long-term, evidence-based strategy to create a culture that prioritises children will ensure that all Australian kids have the best start to life. We are focused on partnerships with research institutions, investments at a community level, and engagement with policy makers to help build the case for system-level change.

Did you know that 90 per cent of brain growth occurs by the age of five? Our education, health and social policy decisions must reflect this.

We are advocating for effective policy and investment in early childhood outcomes across Australia. With partners including the Western Australian state government, the federal government, Telethon Kids Institute, Challis Early Learning Centre, and a range of local and international stakeholders and research groups, we are working to give children, parents and carers the help they need to realise their full potential.

Why we do it

At Minderoo Foundation we believe communities have the answers to local problems and that empowered communities can make decisions and direct resources to the solutions that best address their needs. We believe that taking a human development-centred approach that prioritises children and the early years of life is the most effective way to improve outcomes for children for generations to come.

Improving child development requires better collaboration across education, child and maternal health, and family and social services. These are services that are provided by multiple layers of governments, non-government service providers, community organisations, philanthropy and the business sector.

Philanthropy has the long-term capital and bipartisan positioning to help partner with critical service providers and deliver change. Our efforts include support for innovative models of service delivery, research partnerships and engagement with all levels of government on new policy initiatives.


Meet “Bobbie”, our handmade puppet developed for the Core Story project’s inaugural campaign, Bright Tomorrows Start Today. In the campaign, Bobbie represents the incredible receptiveness of the infant brain.

How we work

Minderoo Foundation’s Thrive by Five initiative advocates for positive, community-level change based on evidence, prevention and collaboration. We are big believers in enabling the translation of research into effective policy, practice and service delivery.

Minderoo Foundation has partnered with the Telethon Kids Institute. Our vision is for young children in Australia to develop, learn and thrive so they can build a better future for themselves and their communities. We aim to do this by bringing together families, clinicians, educators, policy makers, other practitioners, and researchers. If together they can provide evidence to improve service delivery and community capacity, as a country we will better meet the needs of children, families and communities who are experiencing adversity.

Minderoo Foundation also establishes partnerships that inform and underpin our advocacy, research and policy engagement. Since 2012, Minderoo Foundation has invested in the Challis Parenting and Early Learning Centre in Armadale, Western Australia, a landmark place-based model of early childhood and family service delivery.

We engage with government at all levels to share experiences and perspectives from the community. We believe that by demonstrating successful and scalable approaches to complex problems, we can solve them. We are also a founding partner in the decade-long Early Years Initiative. The innovative partnership between the Western Australian state government, Minderoo Foundation and the Telethon Kids Institute strives to use the knowledge of communities and evidence from local and global research to recreate service systems to better meet the needs of children.

A core belief of Thrive by Five is that collaborative play is crucial to early years development.

children participating in classroom activitychildren participating in classroom activity

Our milestones

10-year joint venture with the Western Australian government to deliver the Early Years Initiative.

Core Story for Early Childhood created and a public campaign delivered with our collaborators across Australia.

Eight recommendations delivered to the Prime Minister of Australia to reform the country’s approach to early childhood.

14 evidence summaries and reports published.

Over 100 community, government, research and philanthropic partnerships.

Project spotlight

Molly’s Ted Talk

Minderoo Foundation has partnered with TED and UNICEF to showcase Thrive by Five’s global mission to raise awareness about the importance of brain development in the first five years.

Introducing 7-year-old Molly Wright, one of the world’s youngest ever TED speakers with her talk titled: How every child can thrive by five.