Free preschool now in place for three year olds in the ACT
The Sector > Practice > Preschool > Free preschool now in place for three year olds in the ACT

Free preschool now in place for three year olds in the ACT

by Freya Lucas

January 08, 2024

Three year old children in the Australian Capital Territory can now access 300 hours of free preschool delivered by a degree-qualified Early Childhood Teacher as part of the ACT Government’s new three-year-old preschool program.


More than 140 early childhood education and care (ECEC) services across the Territory are offering the free preschool program to the city’s three-year-olds, which equates to around
six hours per week of free preschool, generating an average saving of $1329 per child for eligible families, and represents the ACT Government’s biggest investment in the early childhood sector.

But the benefits to Canberrans are far more than financial. Child learning and development in the years before school are key determinants of future school achievement, social, emotional and health outcomes, and ultimately life opportunities.

Equitable access to quality, play-based early learning is a powerful way to support children’s learning, wellbeing, and development, and it has life-long benefits.


“Children who participate in quality early learning programs are more likely to make a successful transition to school, stay longer in school, continue to further education and fully participate in employment and community life as adults,” Minister for Education and Youth Affairs, Yvette Berry said.

“We know that investing in the education of our children provides life-long benefits and sets them up with the best chance for success.”

More than $50 million of funding over the next four years was provided in the 2023/24 ACT Budget to support improved equitable access to quality early learning.

This investment will increase preschool programs delivered through ECEC centres by degree-qualified Early Childhood Teachers, giving Canberra children “the groundwork for a lifetime of learning.”


The full list of ECEC services taking part in three-year-old preschool can be found here. Image credit: Richard Poulton Photography

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