Tasmanian early learning pilot to lift outcomes
Goodstart Early Learning has welcomed the opportunity to increase the participation of three-year-old children in quality early learning by taking part in a new Tasmanian government pilot – Working Together for 3 Year olds.
Education Minister Jeremy Rockliff today that two Goodstart centres will be included in the pilot of the initiative to provide two years of free early learning for low income and disadvantaged families across the State.
Goodstart Early Learning advocacy manager John Cherry said Goodstart was excited to be part of the pilot and looked forward to the full rollout of the program in 2020.
“Tasmania is leading the nation in not just funding free early learning, but also funding initiatives to reach out to families not currently sending their children to early learning,” Mr Cherry said.
“This focus on family engagement as well as the quality and resources needed to run a good early learning program at a state-wide scale is a first in Australia.
“It offers valuable lessons for the rest of the country as Australia moves towards giving all children two years of access.
“The research shows that children who attend preschool perform much better at school, and that two years of early learning almost doubles that benefit.
“The children who benefit most are the children least likely to attend, which is why this program is so timely.
“Currently just 46 per cent of three-year olds attend early learning in Tasmania, the lowest of any state.
“The Working Together for 3 Year Olds program (which was launched at Goodstart Claremont) will offer 10.5 hours a week of free early learning to children who are Indigenous, known to child protection or whose family are eligible for a Health Concession Card. That is around 40 per cent of Tasmanian three-year-olds whose families will be able to afford to attend early learning from next year,” he said.
Mr Cherry said the three-year-old programs in Goodstart centres would be delivered by university trained early childhood teachers applying Goodstart’s recently released Best Practice Guide for 3-5-year-old programs in centres that have participated in additional training on family partnerships.
“Two years of quality early learning give children the best possible start to learning and life and that is what Goodstart is determined to deliver,” Mr Cherry said.