19 March 2019
Early learning centres in all new public schools under Greens Early Education plan The Greens have called for a radical rethink of pre-school and early learning services, announcing a policy that would bring preschool for three and four year olds into the state’s public education system.
The plan includes a proposal to build Early Learning Centres in all new public primary schools and retrofitting existing schools based on local need and space availability. This investment in public pre-school facilities will help ensure access to free, universal pre-school for all three and four year olds for up to 15 hours per week. This will bring NSW in line with other States' existing programs. The Greens plan also commits to supporting the many early learning services, including Out of School Hours care, playgroups and other services relying on facilities owned and managed by schools or council owned, to guarantee tenure and ensure that facilities are appropriately maintained and upgraded. Tighter regulations to ensure childcare and pre-school facilities in NSW comply with outdoor space requirements would also be introduced.
Greens Early Education Spokesperson Justin Field said :
“This is about putting kids first and recognising the value of quality early education and the work of educators in the sector.
“We need greater public investment in early learning. NSW has the lowest preschool access rates and the highest fees, while also having the highest rates of for-profit operators. We need a rethink of how we deliver these critical services, that puts children first."
Benjamin Arcioni, Greens candidate for Wollongong says :
“The Greens want to see a transition away from the provision of for-profit early learning to pre-school being part of the free, universal public education system. There will still be collaboration between schools and the community and not-for-profit preschool services and where appropriate not-for-profit long day care services."
Jamie Dixon, Greens candidate for Shellharbour adds :
“Other countries have moved to deliver free preschool for three and four years olds because the benefits it delivers are significant, especially for those from disadvantaged backgrounds. By bringing these services into the public education system, we can also address the issue of low pay in the sector, which is a significant contributor to the gender pay gap."
Kaye Osborn, Greens candidate for Keira states :
“One benefit of using school grounds to construct these facilities is that they can more easily deliver before and after school care, as well as other services that support families, such as playgroups, mothers' and fathers' groups, and early intervention programs.
“This is about building a supportive learning and care environment for families from the youngest years and changing the way we think and talk about early education and care."
The Greens plan includes:
● Transition to free, universal access to preschool for all children from the age of three for a minimum of 15 hrs/wk.
● All new primary schools in NSW to include Early Learning Centres and prioritise the construction of facilities into existing schools based on need and where space allows.
● Review the rules and guidelines around facilities leasing for early learning services in schools and council facilities to ensure ongoing certainty of access.
● Stricter enforcement of outdoor space requirements, with clear limits on exemptions.
● A $20m OOSH and Playgroup Facilities Grant program.
Justin Field is available for comment - 0439 205 835