Major parties in SA election commit to early learning
The major parties in the South Australian election have committed to continuing to fund preschool programs for all children in the year before school and start working towards providing a second year of early learning by funding access for all three year old children.
A questionnaire from groups representing early learning providers, educators and parents was sent to the major parties contesting this Saturday’s election with responses requested on five key demands:
- A long-term commitment to fund for Universal Access to quality early education programs in the year before school in both preschools and long day care centres to provide maximum flexibility and choice for families.
- Extended funding for play-based quality early education programs supporting three year olds, particularly in long day care services where most are already enrolled.
- Support for children who are disadvantaged to participate in early education and care.
- Improved quality of early education and care through workforce development initiatives.
- A whole of government Early Years Strategy to ensure no child falls though the gaps.
We’ve used their responses to put together the Report Card below, to help voters make an informed choice this weekend. You can learn more about the campaign and use an easy to use email generator to send a short message to all SA state leaders before Saturday here
Goodstart Advocacy Manager John Cherry said the responses from the Labor and Liberal parties were very heartening as they recognised the significant benefits for children that access to two years of early learning can provide.
“The research is clear that two years of early learning better prepares children for school, and the learning benefits stay with them right through life. This is because most of a child’s brain development occurs before they start school, with the 3-5 year window being crucial for development of thinking and self-control skills essential to succeed in school,” he said.
Just 53% of three year old children in South Australia currently access early learning, compared to more than 90% in leading European and East Asian countries.
The Australian Conservatives and the SA Greens provided very positive responses. You can see the full report card and individual party responses here