Two years of preschool: a lifetime of value
After eight long years of determined campaigning by AEU members, the federal government has finally made a commitment to ongoing funding for four-year-old preschool. This is a significant win for all kindergarten teachers and educators, as well as for children and their families.
We know from an abundance of evidence that children who have access to two years of high-quality preschool delivered by a qualified teacher start school ready to learn and have a stronger foundation for their future beyond school.
The AEU will continue campaigning to see this funding commitment extended to three-year-olds.
Currently, the Morrison government provides no funding for three-year-old kindergarten.
By contrast, the Andrews state government has maintained its commitment to funding its share of 15 hours of preschool per week for every three and four-year-old child in Victoria.
It's time that the federal government funded its share of 15 hours of preschool per week for all Australian children for the two years before school. Without this support, the costs fall to parents and prohibitive fees mean too many kids miss out.
What do we want to achieve?
We want the federal Morrison government to commit to its share of permanent funding for two full years of preschool for every three and four-year-old child.
What can AEU members do?
1. Tell us your stories
Our campaign is most powerful when we can put a human face on it. Download this handout and fill out your details so that we can share your story on social media and with decision-makers.
2. Invite your local MP to visit
We're urging all AEU members to contact their local federal Liberal MP and invite them to experience your preschool program in action. Show them what a difference early education is making for the children at your preschool!
3. Ask to meet with your MP
If your local MP won't come to you, request a meeting at their office - and, if possible, take along a delegation of parents. Explain why every child deserves access to a high-quality and affordable preschool education.
Here's a handy campaign fact sheet to share with colleagues, parents and politicians.
You can find your local MP here.
Here's a brief guide to lobbying politicians.
If you organise a meeting, hurrah! Please use this feedback form to let us know how it went.
Why two years of preschool?
Numerous Australian and international studies show two years of preschool improves children's social and emotional skills, and gives them the knowledge and skills to better succeed in education and in life.
Quality preschool makes a significant, life-long difference to a child's educational and developmental outcomes, especially for those who are vulnerable or disadvantaged.
There are also significant economic benefits to society as a whole, with research showing every dollar invested in early years education returns up to $4 through increased employment, better health and improved life chances.
Two years of preschool is the international standard in developed countries.
The research says two years better than one
The OECD has found that students who attend pre-primary education perform better in school. The benefit of two years of preschool is even higher.
The Mitchell Institute says “moving to universal access to two years of preschool can be an affordable, achievable and effective way for us to achieve greater and more equitable outcomes for Australian children”.
Even the federal government's own review into preschool funding confirmed the overwhelming benefits of two years of early years education with a qualified teacher; and argued that the Commonwealth has a responsibility to provide affordable, accessible access for all three and four-year-olds.