Early childhood education could double the return on its investment, a landmark study shows.

The study analysed the benefits to Australia of early learning in the year before school, finding that families could see a collective return of $1.4 billion in earnings for parents who can return to work.

Business and the economy could be boosted by $319 million in productivity from a more educated workforce, while children could see close to $1 billion more in lifetime earnings.

The study was commissioned by The Front Project, which advocates for better outcomes for children, and conducted by business advisory firm PwC.

The Front Project’s CEO Jane Hunt says early learning helps develop skills needed to engage in life-long education.

“As well as that, the report bolsters the argument quality early education should be expanded to children two years out from school,” she said.