Two years of funding the hot topic
Funding two years of kindergarten or preschool for all three and four-year-olds in Australia was the hot topic when Goodstart West Ryde received a visit from Opposition Leader Bill Shorten late last week.
Mr Shorten was joined by Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education Amanda Rishworth and Labor candidate for Bennelong Dr Brian Owler.
The children enjoyed story time, reading I Went Walking
by Sue Machin and Julie Vivas, with the Leader of the Opposition.
Mr Shorten was at the centre to talk about Labor’s plan to give both three- and four-year-olds access to 600 hours of preschool or kindergarten in a $1.75bn funding commitment.
The initiative would extend 15 hours per week of subsidized early childhood education to three-year-olds for the first time.
Goodstart Early Learning advocacy manager John Cherry said Goodstart’s primary purpose was to ensure all children had the learning, development and wellbeing outcomes they need for school and life.
“Labor’s policy has the potential to change the lives of generations of Australian children, giving them the skills they need for school and life,” Mr Cherry said.
One in five children in Australia currently begin formal school already behind their peers, and it is these children who will benefit most from access to preschool and early learning.
International evidence shows that two years of preschool or kindergarten has more impact than the year Australia currently provides.
“Introducing age-appropriate play-based learning for three-year-olds will help ensure children who need help the most will get it. High quality early learning is the key to improving outcomes for all children in Australia.”
In a statement when he first launched the plan, Mr Shorten said the investment would “help close the gaps created by disadvantage” and “help tackle the inequality faced by children born into low-income households who are currently denied educational opportunities that their peers may have”.
Goodstart has called on all parties to fund two years of preschool or kinder for three- and four-year-olds.
Find out more about Goodstart’s advocacy work here