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Labor's commitment to early learning

SDN applauds Labor commitment to early learning

SDN Children’s Services has welcomed today’s announcement by Labor that, in government, they would invest in a new two-year program to guarantee access to subsidised preschool for around 700,000 Australian children a year.

The program would involve an investment of an additional $1.75 billion into early learning, enabling three year olds to access 15 hours of subsidised early childhood education and extending the current arrangement for four year olds accessing a preschool program.

CEO Kay Turner said SDN applauds Labor for its commitment to investing in early learning for children.

“This announcement recognises how vital it is that children access affordable, high quality preschool programs for at least two days a week for two years before they start formal schooling,” she said.

“This needs to happen regardless of whether the child attends a long day care or preschool centre and whether or not parents are working.”

Research shows quality early learning improves children’s wellbeing, learning and development and lays the foundation for their future education and life achievements.

Historically, Australia has one of the lowest participation rates of three-year-olds in early childhood education - just 15% in 2015, compared to the OECD average of 69%.

“With more than 1100 children in our centres every day, we see ongoing evidence of the benefits of quality early learning. We’re very pleased that, in making this commitment, Labor is acknowledging early childhood education is an investment in Australia’s future, not a cost,” Ms Turner said.

“It is also a fitting response to the 2017 Lifting our Game report, commissioned by state and territory governments, which called on Australian governments to increase their investment in early childhood education and extend universal preschool access to three-year-old children.”

“It will be important to ensure this program has the flexibility to work in the various early learning environments across Australia’s states and territories. SDN looks forward to working with our colleagues across the sector to explore these possibilities.”

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