All children deserve the best start. Early childhood education makes all the difference – International education data shows 20% of Australian students struggle to achieve a successful educational outcome. Many of these children have not had the early learning opportunities in the critical 0-5 years that you can provide. Exposure to play-based learning, as well as early identification of learning difficulties and special needs, ensure that every child is capable of reaching their potential.
But right now, the delivery of early learning to our youngest children is a poorly funded sector and not integrated into the education system.
Many centres invest in early learning and strive for high quality. Unfortunately, there are still too many centres that don’t meet the National Quality Standards. According to National Quality Framework snapshot June 2020, 17.7% of centres did not meet the NQS, rising to 18.4% for long day care (excluding preschools).
In the last 10 years the system has nearly collapsed twice – first when the ABC Learning Centres went bust and today with the Coronavirus where many centres looked like they would fall over financially with thousands losing work.
A well-resourced, universal play-based early learning system delivered by properly valued educators and attached to the public education system will enrich children’s lives, support families and help our communities flourish.
It’s time the early learning of children is seen as important as the learning of primary and secondary school students and funded accordingly.