Thousands of parents are petitioning Premier Daniel Andrews to provide all Victorian children with 10 hours of three-year-old preschool.
Research has shown that preschool programs have long-term benefits for a child’s cognitive, emotional, and social development, but the cost of sending children to preschool is causing three quarters of Victorian three-year-olds to miss out on these opportunities.
"Parents and experts know that children who attend two years of high-quality preschool programs at ages three and four are set up for success at school and in later life. Every child deserves the chance to benefit from early childhood learning," said AEU branch president Meredith Peace.
"Thousands of Victorian parents recognise the importance of three-year-old education and are calling on the Andrews government to support Victorian children and preschools.
"Currently we rank 33 out of 36 OECD countries for participants in three-year-old preschool education. This is disgraceful and we need to make a change.
"Early childhood education is crucial to our children’s future. It is often the most vulnerable children and those who could benefit the most from two years of preschool education that are missing out.
"Access to preschool education shouldn’t rely on a parent’s capacity to pay. Every Victorian child deserves the chance to benefit from early childhood learning regardless of their background.
"The Andrews government needs to fund three-year-old preschool programs to provide the support and a strong workforce to deliver the programs our children need. Daniel Andrews needs to ensure that our children get the best possible start in life."
AEU representatives and early childhood educators will be meeting with Jenny Mikakos, the Minister for Early Childhood Education on 1 December to call on the Andrews government to provide funding to deliver all three-year-olds 10 hours of preschool education.