What is the Early Learning Fund and what does it do?
The Early Learning Fund is a little more help to ensure someone gets the same opportunities as the child who lives next door, down the street, or around the corner. Their Mum may have died suddenly, or their Dad has a major mental health issue, either way their life is thrown into chaos and they are at risk of not attending their local early learning centre, just when it matters most.
The Early Learning Fund (ELF) works to identify and support young children who might otherwise miss out.
The Early Learning Fund is supported by three of the nation’s leading not-for-profits: the Benevolent Society, Goodstart Early Learning and Uniting. ELF provides support for children living in disadvantaged circumstances who would otherwise miss out on preschool/kindergarten in the years before school.
All the evidence shows that children who attend quality early learning in the year before school, do better at school and life. Vulnerable children stand to benefit the most from access to quality early learning, however, research consistently indicates they are the least likely to attend, due to cost and other participation barriers.
So, exactly how does ELF work?
ELF ensures each qualifying child receives a minimum of two days per week, with dedicated support, in a Uniting or Goodstart centre. This support includes transport in some locations.
ELF is built on mutual obligation and allows our experienced educators to work with families by developing an Education and Well Being Plan for each child, providing regular reviews and connections to other support services as requiredsuch as speech pathology.
In return, ELF families make a co-contribution of $5 per day and ensure their child attends regularly and is immunised.
While most Australian children now attend at least one year of preschool or kindergarten, when they are around four years old, too often the children who stand to benefit most from attending, miss out because their parents simply can’t afford it or they face language or transport barriers to enrolling their child.
By covering the gap – ELF families pay around $5 per day – and helping with simple things like transport, we can ensure that some of the nation’s most disadvantaged children attend two years of quality early learning to help them develop the same skills as their peers in preparation for primary school… and life.