Goodstart terms Labor announcement “nation building”
Australia’s largest not-for-profit early learning organisation Goodstart Early Learning has described today’s announcement by Australian Labor Party leader Bill Shorten as “nation building”.
Goodstart CEO Julia Davison described the proposal as one which would launch children into learning, and ensure that Australia retains an internationally competitive advantage in coming years.
Ms Davison noted the policy had the potential to affect generational change, saying it has a great return on investment for the nation.
“China, New Zealand, swathes of Europe and South East Asia are already providing early education for their three year olds. With this policy Australia would join leading nations ensuring every child launches into learning with the skills they need.”
Ms Davison praised the sitting government, stating that reforms to the child care subsidy (CCS) had significantly helped working families with affordability of early learning and care, before affirming the capacity of the sector to welcome those three year olds not already accessing care due to financial constraints and lack of availability.
“The early learning sector has plenty of capacity to welcome even more three year olds into our services to access this great new program, in all types of settings including long day care and preschool and kindergarten,” Ms Davison said.
Ms Davison cited the research within the Lifting our Game report, commissioned by state and territory officials in Australia, as additional evidence that quality early childhood education is an investment, not a cost and that the benefits are greatest for the children who are most in need of extra support.
The report indicates that children who engage in a high-quality preschool program in the years before school are:
- More likely to be ready for school and higher achievers while they are there
- Less likely to need special educational placements
- Less likely to repeat a grade in school
- More likely to complete high school and go on to further education; and
- More likely to be employed, and at a higher wage.