Federal Member for Ballarat, Catherine King visited Buninyong Preschool today to highlight that local children would miss out on access to preschool if the Abbott Government walks away from funding early childhood education.
“The early years are the most important in a child’s education with pre-literacy and pre-numeracy development at preschool building the foundations for lifelong learning,” Ms King said.
“Preschool activities are also important to build a child’s self-esteem by promoting social inclusion and a readiness for primary school.”
Labor’s introduction of universal access funding for preschool has seen over 56 per cent of Australian children receiving 15 hours or more of quality education in the year before school, up from just 12 percent in 2008.
“The agreement with the states has substantially increased access to early learning services for local families, delivering major improvements that will change education outcomes, particularly for vulnerable and disadvantaged children,” Ms King said.
“Under the agreement millions of dollars has been allocated to upgrade preschools, including $300,000 here at Buninyong for new kinder rooms, maternal and child health facilities and a community space.
“These expand facilities are helping to meet increased demand in our community by supporting 33 additional four-year-old places plus extra hours of qualified teaching.
“The Abbott Government’s refusal to commit Commonwealth funding for preschools beyond 2014, threatens to wind back the clock to when just 1 in 10 Australian children has access to 15 hours of preschool per week.
“In addition to putting up fees, these cuts will reduce hours and may even force local services to close.
“It’s a decision that defies all the evidence about the benefits of early childhood education and one that leaves Australian children left to slip between the cracks.”
A petition against these cuts can be signed at: http://www.alp.org.au/handsoffkindy