THRIVE BY FIVE WELCOMES SA ROYAL COMMISSION RECOMMENDATION FOR UNIVERSAL THREE-YEAR-OLD PRESCHOOL FOR EVERY SA CHILD BY 2026
17 April 2023 – Minderoo Foundation’s Thrive by Five initiative has welcomed the recommendation for universal three-year-old preschool for all South Australian families and children by 2026 contained in the interim report of the South Australian Royal Commission into Early Childhood Education and Care released today.
The Commission recommends that the rollout of three-year-old preschool in the state should prioritise active participation from all children and offer a range of different offerings to meet specific needs.
The Royal Commission recommendation aligns with Thrive by Five’s call for the Federal Budget to contain investment for free three-year-old preschool in all Australian states and territories.
The interim SA Royal Commission report also calls for:
● The minimum duration of a three-year-old preschool program be 600 hours per year or 15 hours per week for 40 weeks a year
● Invest in services to support community outreach in areas with a lack of connection to early childhood education, as well as supporting communication .
The Royal Commission also encourages the South Australian Government to embrace the role that high-quality early childhood education and care can play as a backbone for a holistic early childhood development system.
Thrive by Five Director Jay Weatherill said that the recommendations provided by the Royal Commission recognise the vital importance of the first 1000 days in a child’s life and the crucial role access to high-quality early childhood education and care plays in shaping their cognitive development.
“Having the option to access free early childhood education will benefit many children by positively impacting their social, physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing, and setting them up for their lifelong learning journey.
“It will also significantly help alleviate cost concerns for South Australian families.
“These recommendations offer the kinds of bold reforms South Australia needs to undertake, to ensure that high-quality early learning and care is truly accessible and affordable across the state.
“The wide scope of these recommendations also addresses key concerns around accessibility and availability of high-quality early learning within the state, especially in rural and remote parts of South Australia.
“The implementation of these recommendations will also help increase workforce participation by primary caregivers, who are primarily women and help boost the South Australian economy.
“As the interim report correctly identifies, investing in the first 1000 days offers benefits that last a lifetime and as such the South Australian Government must strongly consider implementing these recommendations in full.
“The potential rollout of universal three-year-old preschool in South Australia could help provide a model for the delivery of such a system nationwide, allowing South Australian Premier, Peter Malinauskas, an opportunity to lead up the efforts in advocating for crucial early learning reforms at a national level.
“Thrive by Five will continue its strong advocacy for universal three-year-old preschool nationwide and looks forward to the Commission’s final report and South Australian Government response,” he said.
The full list of recommendations and the interim can be found here.