Lady Gowrie Queensland calls for Kindergarten Funding certainty
Lady Gowrie Queensland has called on the Federal Government to provide certainty of funding for Queensland kindergartens in the 2nd of April budget.
Chief Executive Officer Louise Jackson said delays in national partnership funding negotiations meant that both kindergartens and families were unable to plan for next year.
“The Federal Government has the ideal opportunity in the April budget to end this uncertainty and demonstrate its commitment to the value of early childhood education.”
“There is well-documented research about the value of early childhood education. Children do better at school if they have the foundation of a quality early learning program,” Ms Jackson said.
“At a minimum, the current funding levels need to be maintained for kindergarten, for four-year-olds in Queensland.
“New funding to give three-year-old children access to 15 hours a week of free or subsidised pre-kindy would be ideal and would bring us in line with international best practice.”
New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Ireland already offer at least two years of preschool. China has commenced implementing its plan to ensure children have access to at least two years of preschool by 2020.
Australia ranks 23/30 in the OECD for early childhood education expenditure as a percentage of gross domestic product, behind Brazil, Mexico and Russia.
Ms Jackson welcomed the Federal Opposition’s proposal to provide children access to 15 hours a week of education in the two years before going to primary school from 2021 and called on the Federal Government to match it.
The Opposition proposal comprises a total of $1.75 billion nationally from 2019-20 to 2021-22 in pre-kindy and kindergarten subsidies and national quality agenda implementation.
Under the proposal, pre-kindy would be free for three-year-olds able to attend state-government-run kindergartens, while the government would provide an extra subsidy for three-year-olds obtaining kindergarten education at a private childcare centre.
Lady Gowrie is a Queensland Government Kindergarten Central Governing Body with more than 90 Community Kindergarten Affiliates.
Ms Jackson said Lady Gowrie was well prepared to accommodate universal access to pre-kindy.
A not-for-profit organisation with a 78-year history of working in the community, Lady Gowrie and its affiliates provide services to more than 6000 families and children a week from as far north as Thursday Island, west to Blackall and south to Coolangatta.
“For the past nine years, we have run a free 2.5-hour sessional pre-kindergarten program in Caboolture for vulnerable and disadvantaged children aged two and a half to three and a half years.
“This unique program is delivering outstanding results for vulnerable children and their families with more than 90 per cent of children who attend the program successfully transitioning to kindy the following year,” Ms Jackson said.
“The prospect of universal access to pre-kindy programs for all three-year-olds is exciting for the future development and success of children,” Ms Jackson said.