NSW and Victoria announce free preschool education, 5 days a week, within next decade

Within the next decade, children in NSW and Victoria are set to have access to free preschool, five days a week, before starting kindergarten.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announce they want to introduce this plan for four- and five-year-olds.

In NSW, it is set to begin in 2030 and fall a year before what is known as kindergarten.In Victoria, it is set to begin in 2025, a year before what is known as prep.

Exact models are yet to be developed.

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FREE preschool, five days a week, for kids in NSW and Victoria

In a joint statement, both premiers said that the year would be free of charge, run five days a week.

“It will mean that, in the next 10 years, every child in Victoria and NSW will experience the benefits of a full year of play-based learning before their first year of school.

“At the same time, it will benefit hundreds of thousands of working families.”

However, the pre-kindergarten year is unlikely to be compulsory when it is first introduced.

NSW and Victoria announce free preschool education, 5 days a week, within next decade

NSW Education Minister says it’s based on a Canadian model

This new model is said to be based on one similar to in Canada.

NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said data showed preschool numbers had been increasing but most children only attended two days a week.

“This is about really turbocharging that — to offer the five days a week we know just makes such a difference,” she said

“Universal pre-kindergarten is something I have been working hard to bring to NSW for a number of years, having seen the benefits of it for children and families in countries like Canada.

“When you look at the Canadian model that’s on offer, 95 per cent of parents take up that opportunity.”

There are early childhood educator shortages which means this plan will take time to implement this plan.

NSW and Victoria announce free preschool education, 5 days a week, within next decade

Helping women get back into work

Victorian Minister for Women Gabrielle Williams said this year will be rebranded as ‘pre-prep’ and the plan would benefit children and mothers in particular.

“Pre-prep program will provide children with more access to play-based learning which consistently shows positive impacts for vocabulary development, for reasoning, for early numeracy,” she said.

“It’s also about enabling the economic empowerment of women — enabling women to get back to work if that’s what they choose to do, which can have an enormous impact on those long-term financial outcomes for women.”

‘It means a brighter future for our kids’

$5.8 billion is said to be spent by the NSW government on this project over the next 10 years, while the Victorian government has set aside $9 billion to be spent on the reform over the next decade.

Andrews and Perrottet say the new early childhood education system will “work for women, not against them”.

“It means a brighter future for our kids – and their families too. And two great states working together to deliver it.

“This won’t be a short-term fix, or a temporary solution. Instead, it will take years of hard collaborative work to get it right.”

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