ECA calls for 3 year old preschool to be teacher led
Responding to today’s announcement by Labor leader Bill Shorten that under a Labor government, universal access funding would be extended to include 3 year olds, Early Childhood Australia (ECA) CEO Samantha Page highlighted the importance of high quality early childhood education programs being delivered by early childhood teachers.
Ms Page spoke of the importance of ensuring that preschool programs for three year olds are high quality, and delivered by qualified early childhood teachers irrespective of the setting for the program.
Several key elements of the ALP National Preschool and Kindy Program were welcomed by ECA, including:
- Permanent funding commitment to support early education for all young children in the two years before school, with a clear target of boosting 3 year old participation to 90 per cent by 2023
- Support to improve quality, including a reinstatement of a $20 million cut from the National Quality Agenda
- Support for delivery of preschool / kindy programs through a range of early education settings, including community preschools, government preschools and the long day care sector.
ECA highlighted the value of play based learning, welcoming the acknowledgement by the ALP that children learn best through play, and that high quality early education is best delivered in a play context.
“The evidence is clear that access to two years of preschool improves educational and wellbeing outcomes for young children, and enables them to do better at school and in life, so a commitment to ongoing support for three and four year olds to attend preschool programs in all states and territories would be of great benefit to children, and is an acknowledgement that the early years form an important part of a child’s education,” said Ms Page.