Fund­ing changes to help re­form learn­ing

The Cobram Courier - - NEWS -

Vic­to­rian Premier Daniel An­drews has promised to re­form early learn­ing by sub­si­dis­ing three-year-old kinder­garten, if re-elected.

It could mean good news for lo­cal fam­i­lies un­able to af­ford the cost of send­ing a child to kinder­garten.

Cur­rently, fam­i­lies with three-year-olds in kinder­garten pay about $5000 a year for 15 hours a week.

Trudy Brooks, owner of lo­cal early learn­ing cen­tre Trikki Kidz, be­lieves the pro­posed changes are des­per­ately needed be­cause Aus­tralia has fallen be­hind in the early learn­ing space.

‘‘This gov­ern­ment ini­tia­tive is sim­ply fan­tas­tic,’’ Mrs Brooks said.

‘‘As a coun­try, Aus­tralia is well-known to be be­hind other coun­tries in the value it places on early years ed­u­ca­tion.

‘‘There is so much re­search avail­able now show­ing the sig­nif­i­cant ben­e­fits chil­dren gain from at­tend­ing a high-qual­ity early learn­ing pro­gram such as kinder­garten or long day care in the two years prior to school start­ing.

‘‘At­tend­ing kinder­garten and long day care not only im­proves a child’s chance of suc­cess at school, but also in later life,’’ she said.

Mrs Brooks said the sys­tem forced many par­ents to wait an ex­tra year be­fore send­ing their child to kinder­garten.

‘‘Many fam­i­lies keep threeyear-old chil­dren at home cur­rently (par­tic­u­larly if there is a stay-at-home par­ent) and en­rol them in kinder­garten or long day care only for the one year prior to start­ing school, when gov­ern­ment fund­ing is avail­able,’’ she said.

The re­form would see threeyear-old kinder for ev­ery Vic­to­rian child from 2020.

Un­der the plan, ev­ery child would have ac­cess to at least five hours of sub­sidised threeyear-old kinder by 2022, pro­gres­sively scaled up to 15 hours a week in the next decade.

For fam­i­lies with a higher in­come, the gov­ern­ment would cover 65 per cent of costs, con­sis­tent with the cur­rent sub­sidy for four-year-old kinder.

That rep­re­sents a sav­ing of at least $3500 for fam­i­lies whose chil­dren at­tend a stand­alone kinder­garten.

Those with chil­dren in long day care would also ben­e­fit, with cen­tres funded to em­ploy teach­ers in three-year-old rooms.

Cen­tres which make cost sav­ings would be re­quired to pass sav­ings on to fam­i­lies.

Fun and ed­u­ca­tional: Paige Holt, 3, at­tends Trikki Kidz Co­bram, but ac­cord­ing to owner Trudy Brooks, many par­ents are be­ing priced out of send­ing their chil­dren to kinder from three.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.