The Early Learning Fund Providing Fee-Relief & Care For Children Experiencing Vulnerability



Penny Markham is the National Lead, Social Inclusion for Goodstart Early Learning. She has led the implementation of Goodstart’s long term social inclusion strategy for the past ten years. This includes the transformation of targeted early learning centres into integrated, community connected services for children and families. Penny started her career as a Speech Pathologist working in early childhood settings. For the fifteen years prior to her role at Goodstart she held senior roles in the health sector as well as managing complex projects within government specialising in service improvement and leading change. She is passionate about, and a strong advocate for, the role of early years’ services in enhancing children’s learning, development and wellbeing.


Over the next two years Charter Hall will donate to the Early Learning Fund, to provide fee-relief for early learning and care for at least 55 families and their children experiencing significant vulnerability. Each eligible child will receive a minimum of two days of early learning and care each week at a Goodstart early learning centre during the two years before school. It is the first time in Australia that an early learning provider and a landlord have worked together to improve early learning access for children experiencing vulnerability. The Early Learning Fund is a partnership between Goodstart, Benevolent and Uniting (NSW/ACT). All children and their families supported by the Early Learning Fund are living below the poverty line. Eligible children include those at risk of abuse or neglect, living in hardship, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and refugee and humanitarian entrants.