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A message from our CEO about the 2018-19 NSW Budget

A message from our CEO Kay Turner about preschool funding in the recently announced NSW State Budget

The 2018-19 NSW Budget announcement included an extension of subsidies currently given to community preschools to include enrolled three year olds from 1 January 2019. The subsidy was previously only available for children enrolled in a community preschool in the year before school.

SDN applauds the NSW Government for investing in early childhood education. However, there is a differentiation being made between service types which is implied by this funding being given only to community preschools, and not long day care services that also deliver a preschool program. The messaging has strongly positioned community preschools as being providers of ‘education’ as compared with long day care being simply ‘child care’, and this is misleading.

SDN Children’s Services introduced integrated education and care in NSW about 80 years ago, when we opened Nursery Schools for preschool aged children under the same roof as our Nurseries for children aged under three. Since then we have offered preschool programs for three to five year olds that have been delivered by qualified teachers. Care and education are integrated into longer hours, which support families who work.

Long day care centres and community preschools both operate under the same National Quality Standards, are both required to have university-qualified early childhood teachers and both deliver the Early Years Learning Framework for children.

We know that quality early childhood education is good for children, and good for the future economy. Quality early childhood education in the preschool years is a preschool program, regardless of the type of service in which it is being delivered.

We need to shift the focus to the outcomes for all children in the critical two years before school, rather than differentiating between modes of service delivery that have no impact on the quality of the educational programs being delivered.

Kay Turner, CEO

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