MP backs PM?s call for early education



WITH his annual Pedal for Preschools fundraiser just around the corner, Clarence MP Steve Cansdell has welcomed a plan from Prime Minister John Howard to lift participation in education for toddlers.

Now in its third year, Pedal for Preschools has raised thousands of dollars for Valley preschool centres.

Mr Cansdell said he was looking forward to this year's event, which begins in Grafton's Market Square on August 14.

"I'll continue pedalling for local preschools because they certainly need the extra $10,000 a year we raise for them," he said.

The Daily Examiner, along with sister newspaper The Northern Star, support Mr Cansdell's efforts by donating $500 each to the event.

Mr Howard outlined his proposal at yesterday's Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting.

Mr Cansdell said Mr Howard's plan, which calls for all four-year-olds to attend preschool and a common curriculum introduced to ensure all preschools meet minimum standards, would benefit Clarence Valley youngsters.

"I support him in both respects because this is good news for preschools in the Clarence and Richmond valleys," Mr Cansdell said.

Mr Cansdell said he believed the plan would ensure more children attended preschool.

"At present while almost all Queensland and Victorian children go to preschool, one-third of NSW children do not, this is not good enough," he said.

"In addition NSW preschools have been starved of funds by the Carr-Iemma government despite spiralling insurance and staff costs."



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