NSW community preschools will receive $45.5 million in state government funding so more children can attend in the year before they commence school.
The minister for early childhood education, Leslie Williams, said this would boost the number of young children from low-income and Aboriginal families enrolled in the top two NAPLAN bands of schools.
“The initiatives announced will increase the number of 4- and 5-year-old children enrolled in quality preschool programs in the year before full-time school,” Williams said. “The focus is on increasing enrolments of children from low-income and Aboriginal families, ensuring that cost and location are not barriers to participation.”
Executive officer of Aboriginal Education Council NSW, Beverly Baker, said any new funding in early childhood education is money well spent. “The research is absolutely unequivocal that kids need that level of integration and stimulation,” she said. “It makes the transition to schooling much less traumatic and a more normal progression for them.”
Baker addressed the importance of prioritising Aboriginal children in the system. She said Aboriginal students need “guaranteed places in preschool”, and to be prioritised so they are properly prepared for formal schooling.
The chief executive of the Aboriginal Child, Family and Community Care State Secretariat NSW, Tim Ireland, said, “We need to be assured the funds are reaching Aboriginal children who need to access these opportunities. Funding needs to be delivered in a way that empowers Aboriginal communities to deliver better outcomes for our kids.”Do you have an idea for a story?
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