Less than three weeks until the Budget, the Government still hasn’t given any indication of whether they intend to fund preschool and kindergarten beyond this year.
Tony Abbott might be wanting a “dull” Budget after last year’s disastrous effort, but if preschool funding isn’t extended, parents and early childhood educators will be left in excruciating limbo.
Today I visited Yallambie Park Preschool to talk to parents and educators about the future of kindergarten and preschool – and they are deeply concerned about the impact this will have on local children and families.
If the money isn’t in the Budget, fees will rise and hours will be cut, leaving parents scrambling to make other arrangements and putting further pressure on child care places and family budgets.
Just in case Tony Abbott has forgotten, the evidence is in on Labor’s universal access to preschool program, which ensures that children have access to 15 hours of kindergarten and preschool in the year before school. We know that children who access preschool or kindergarten score significantly better in Year Three NAPLAN tests and Year Four reading, maths and science. Even the Productivity Commission recommended the Government extend the funding.
Labor will keep shouting from the rooftops the benefits of early childhood education until the Government comes to their senses and put the necessary $1.6 billion in funding into the Budget so that Australian children are given the best start to schooling possible.
Everyone can get involved in the campaign demanding Tony Abbott to fund preschool and kindergarten by visiting www.15hourbeststart.org
WEDNESDAY, 22 APRIL 2015