Footprints in Time

Eleven-year-old ‘Selena’.

Eleven-year-old ‘Selena’ and her family are among 1,300 Indigenous Australians who give time each year to assist Footprints in Time: The Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children (LSIC).

Studying a child’s early years gives insight into how early experiences affect development into adulthood.

‘Selena’ and her family have been contributing to Footprints in Time since she was four.

Now a busy primary school captain and keen netball player ‘Selena’ is preparing for high school.

“I look forward to catching up with researchers each year and telling them all about the new stuff I have been doing,” she said.

“I am proud of my Aboriginal, Papuan, Malaysian and Pilipino heritage and love attending NAIDOC and other cultural celebrations with my family.”

“And I have great role models including my parents, friends, family and teachers.”

‘Selena’ has taken a year away from sport to deal with a recurring knee injury. She does well academically, including in maths and science, and is hoping to leave primary school with “fantastic memories”.

As ‘Selena’ grows up, the information collected on her health, education, family relationships, culture and community will help determine the factors which assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to grow up strong and healthy.

This data base is used to improve our understanding of issues faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, their families and communities, and help Close the Gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

Already, LSIC has provided robust evidence of the importance of early childhood education and care programs in boosting cognitive and developmental outcomes among Indigenous children.

LSIC is in its ninth year of continuous operation and is one of four studies undertaken by the National Centre for Longitudinal Data in Canberra.

Together the studies inform policies and practices to improve the wellbeing of people and families in Australia.

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