Call for early learning pilot in new south wales for three year olds
The Sector > Policy > Doctors call for NSW to pilot 3yo early childhood education in key communities

Doctors call for NSW to pilot 3yo early childhood education in key communities

by Freya Lucas

March 24, 2023
Children voting

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) has called for all candidates in the upcoming New South Wales election, to be held 25 March, to commit to universal access to early childhood education for three-year-olds, with a pilot program trialled in First Nations, multicultural and lower socioeconomic communities.


“We know access to quality early learning has lasting impacts on children, and universal access is an important step to foster a more equitable society,” said RACP President and NSW Paediatrician Dr Jacqueline Small. 


Evidence shows the benefits of two years of high-quality preschool programs for children, with improvements in cognitive and social and emotional outcomes. According to a report from the Mitchell Institute, nearly a quarter of Australian children arrive at school without the foundational skills they need. 


This, Dr Small said, is far too many, and children who are further behind the starting line find it challenging to catch up to their peers.


“The RACP’s Kids Catch-Up Campaign has clearly defined priorities to help our kids catch up from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, including implementing universal access to quality early childhood education programs for all three-year-olds and increasing funding for evidence-based school support,” she added. 


“Guaranteeing access to quality early childhood education and school support today means seeing our children succeed in school and experience improved outcomes in literacy, numeracy, and social and emotional wellbeing throughout their lives.”


Dr Small believes the NSW Government has a unique opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of all children, and the RACP is eager to see the commitment and implementation of this important policy.


“There is a strong relationship between socio-economic status and a child’s risk of being developmentally vulnerable. Therefore, we would like to see these initiatives focused on prioritising disadvantaged communities,” she added.


“The RACP firmly believes the program must also include a dedicated focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled integration services.”


To access the RACP NSW election statement in full, please see here

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