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On Thursday, the Labor party pledged an additional A$1.75 billion for early education if elected the next government of Australia. This is the largest investment in early childhood education in Australian history.
Most of this investment will go towards funding 15 hours a week of free preschool or kindy for three-year-old children. This means all Australian children will have access to two years of quality early childhood education before they start school.
Preschool - Programs - Children - Year - Schooling
Current funding only supports preschool programs for children the year before they start formal schooling. Typically, 15 hours a week equates to five short days per fortnight or two days a week of a preschool program in a school preschool, community kindy or long day care centre.
Early childhood educators, researchers and economists have long advocated the importance of early childhood education. If Labor does win the next election and commit to this promise, everyone will benefit. Two years of preschool will give young Australian children the best start in life.
Research - Development
What does the research say about development?
Neuroscience has shown the early years, particularly birth to eight years, are critical for optimal learning and development. Preschool attendance has shown consistent positive short and long-term effects across the world including in the US, Europe, Canada and New Zealand.
Preschool - Programs - Childhood - Educators - Children
Play-based preschool programs delivered by qualified early childhood educators improve children's learning and developmental outcomes and are particularly important for children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
A recent independent report to state and territory education ministers argued, in terms of improving school outcomes, the single most impactful reform Australia could make would be to increase access to quality early childhood education (preschool) for three-year-olds.
Report - Years - Preschool - Impact - Children
Another report showed two years of preschool has more impact than one, especially for children who are developmentally vulnerable (such as those from a low socio-economic background).
Compared to other OECD countries, Australia is lagging behind in...
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