Despite extensive evidence highlighting the clear benefits of two years of early years education – not only for children’s schooling but for their future life outcomes – the Morrison government continues to refuse to fund preschool for Australia’s three-year-olds.
As we look to a federal election in May, this negligence remains front of mind. When the AEU initially embarked on its state-wide campaign for two years of funded kindergarten for every child, the ambitious goal was instantly supported by members, families and communities. The four-year campaign culminated in October 2019, when State Premier Daniel Andrews announced unprecedented investment in early childhood education.
This year, all three-year-old children in Victoria have access to five hours of funded three-year-old kinder. This will be scaled up to 15 hours over the next few years, following the Andrews government’s commitment of $5 billion over the coming decade.
The AEU is incredibly proud of what our campaigning has achieved in Victoria. As all eyes turn to the federal campaign, we must increase the pressure on all political parties to commit to two years of funded preschool for every child across the nation.
Our youngest learners have the right to access affordable early years education. Research shows the significant positive impact that two years of play-based education has on young children, providing them with endless opportunities throughout their education and leading to greater success in life. As we head to the polls, the AEU will be using every opportunity to remind the Australian community about the importance of preschool education – and the need for federal government investment.