The NSW Government has announced an injection of $15 million to ensure children attending preschools have the safest and most engaging learning environments.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian, who made the announcement at KU Coogee Randwick Preschool, said the funding boost is aimed at enhancing the quality of learning spaces and increasing the number of children attending preschools.
“We need to do everything we can to ensure children attending preschools have the most modern and stimulating learning environments,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“This investment could cover items like shade cloths so children can play safely while enjoying the outdoors, a kitchen garden to teach children about where their food comes from, or an outdoor jungle gym which encourages a child’s hand-eye coordination.”
Minister for Early Childhood Education Sarah Mitchell said the investment ensured all children across NSW had access to top quality early childhood education in the crucial years before school.
“The Liberals & Nationals have invested more every year since being in government than Labor did in their last year in office and I am proud early childhood education in NSW is finally getting the attention it deserves after years of neglect under former Labor Governments,” Ms Mitchell said.
“Labor allocated just $200 million towards early childhood education in its last Budget in government. We have now doubled that, with $400 million committed in our 2017/18 Budget.
“This record investment is making a real impact. Data from the 2017 Community Preschool Census shows not only have average daily fees reduced by 25 per cent since the implementation of the NSW Government’s Start Strong program, we have also seen the number of children attending 600 hours of preschool increase by a huge 40 per cent.”
Member for Coogee Bruce Notley-Smith said this funding will be hugely beneficial for children and families in Coogee and across the State.
“Children gain so much from attending early childhood education – not just educationally but socially and cognitively as well,” he said.
“There are already more children than ever attending early childhood education in NSW and this investment will only bolster that number. I am proud the NSW Government is continuing to prioritise our State’s youngest learners.”
The NSW Government’s $332 million Start Strong program was introduced in 2016 and has been extended until 2021 – this investment is more than ever before.
The $15 million funding boost is made up of a $5 million Capital Works Grants fund aimed at increasing the number of 600 hours preschool places in NSW and a $10 million Quality Learning Environments fund which will not only enhance a child’s physical learning environment, but will also improve the health and safety of children attending preschool.
For more information on the grants and how to apply, visit: https://education.nsw.gov.au/early-childhood-education