Families with preschool aged kids to get $800 bonus
NSW has announced the government will provide access for all children to attend two years of preschool, in a move that will save families as much as $800 a year.
The pledge, released as part of the NSW budget, will see the state government subsidise fees for all three-year-olds enrolled in community preschools from January 1.
Previously families could only access the subsidy for children in the year before school.
According to NSW Government figures at least 6500 three-year-olds will access the preschool scheme, which will cost about $200 million.
Long term benefits
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said there were clear benefits to early education.
"The benefits from two years of quality early childhood education include stronger student performance in NAPLAN and PISA, as well as longer term benefits such as increased likelihood of university attendance, higher lifetime earnings and better health outcomes," he said.
The funding will see fees drop to as low as $19 a day in Sydney and even lower in regional areas and the government says it will save families, on average, $825 a year.
Alys Gagnon, Executive Director of The Parenthood said they welcome the announcement.
"All the available evidence shows that two years of preschool has significant benefits for children, setting a strong foundation for their future learning at school and beyond. It is regarded by experts as 'the single most impactful reform' governments can take in education," Executive Director Alys Gagnon said.
But they hoped it would go further.
"The Parenthood hopes to see this funding extend to children who attend preschool programs in the context of long day care."
In NSW only one in six children attend a community preschool, with 83% of three-year- olds and 65% of 4-year-olds enrolled in preschool programs in NSW attending preschool programs in long day care centres.
"It's unfortunate that they miss out on today's announcement," Ms Gagnon said.
"Community preschools offer a wonderful education to children. However, their hours can make it difficult for working parents to consider that setting a viable choice," Ms Gagnon said.
"It's great to see the NSW Premier and Early Education Minister Sarah Mitchell recognise the value of two years in preschool. We hope that this funding announcement today is just the first step towards early learning funding for all kids, no matter where they attend preschool."