Tuesday, 19 June 2018
THREE-YEAR-OLD children in NSW will be the first in Australia to have subsidised access to a preschool education, thanks to $197.8 million in funding announced as part of today’s 2018-19 State Budget.
Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall has welcomed the funding initiative which will mean that for the first time, three-year-olds will be able to attend preschool at the same subsidised rate as older four and five-year-old students.
“Importantly, this will give those students two full years of preschool before entering Kindergarten,” Mr Marshall said.
“Preschool is critical to a child’s development and learning and also helps address any difficulties a child is facing before he or she enters the mainstream education system.
“Average fees for three-year-olds will now drop from over $50 a day to around $36 dollars a day over the next four years. Over the course of a year this reduction will save families nearly $1,500 in fees, making preschool more affordable for parents.
“This is our latest step to increase attendance and the accessibility of high quality early childhood care and education to all NSW children.”
The government’s increased focus on early childhood education kicked off in 2016 when the Start Strong Program started.
“Now, thanks to this injection of nearly $200 million dollars I’m hoping to see enrolments continue to climb around the Northern Tablelands,” Mr Marshall said.
“Reaching the threshold of 600 hours of early childhood education before Kindergarten has been shown to have a significant impact on a child’s development.
“They transition to ‘big school’ far quicker than children who have no preschool experience, they have a head start in literacy and basic numeracy and are more likely to complete their schooling in their teenage years.”
The NSW Government’s Start Strong Program is the largest investment in early childhood education in NSW history. Since the program’s start, fees have been reduced by 25 per cent and enrolments are up around NSW by 40 per cent.
“Nearly every preschool I visit in the Northern Tablelands has a program for three-year-olds and have often expressed to me just have important even a single day a week is to a child in achieving their learning milestones,” Mr Marshall said.
“This funding is one of the most important aspects of the Budget as it invests in the future of all children in NSW, no matter their socioeconomic background or where they’re from.”