Three-year-old preschool trial begins in the Northern Territory

Three-year-old preschool trial begins in the Northern Territory

by Freya Lucas

August 12, 2021

New early childhood learning opportunities are now available in the Northern Territory, with preschool sessions for three year olds now operating as part of primary schools at Ludmilla and Berry Springs.

 

The $2.2 million trial program offers families the opportunity to engage their children in education from an earlier age, and will include two other schools in Darwin, as well as Tennant Creek and Alice Springs later in the year. 

 

The expansion of preschool complements other early years education programs running across the Territory’s urban, regional and remote areas including Families as First Teachers and Stay Play Learn.

 

Families in the Territory are provided with 15 hours per week of preschool free of charge in government schools for children in the year before they start full-time schooling, with the new program set to expand the important role early childhood education plays in the development of children’s physical, social, emotional and cognitive skills.

 

In remote communities such as Galiwin’ku, Gunbalanya, Yuendumu, Milikapiti and Harts Range, children are already enrolled in preschool from the age of three, with Chief Minister Michael Gunner saying the NT is proud to expand the trial program to more schools to support more families to access education sooner, with subsidised help. 

 

The Territory’s Minister for Education, Lauren Moss, said the evidence was clear that increased participation in quality education programs in the early years is the foundation for lifelong learning and significantly contributes to a child’s success later in life.

 

“Early childhood education is one of the most important investments society can make towards a child’s education and lifetime well-being and our Government wants Territory children to have access to opportunities to be the best they can be.”  

 

“These are early days but so far we are pleased with the success of the trial program and excited about the future prospects for Territory children,” Ms Moss said in closing. 

 

More information about the pilot is available here

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