Will Hallyburton, Leah Considine and Indigo Lawson at the Leongatha Children’s Centre. LChildcare_013614
IT’S been a long battle for many families in South Gippsland, but finally the Abbott Government has moved on funding additional hours of childcare.
The decision means that four-year old children in the region, will be able to access 15 hours of pre-school, before they make the big leap into their formal education.
The threat of significant fee increases and mass sackings is off the table, for now.
According to Kirsten Herrald, from the Leongatha Children’s Centre, the injection of $406 million into the sector, will allow educators to better prepare children for the rigours of schooling.
“The increased time, means children will be ready for their first year of study. It will also allow more resource sharing between kindergartens and primary schools – as kindergarten teachers will gain more knowledge about their pupils,” she said.
She believes that more one-on-one time, will improve both their social and emotional skills.
“Fifteen hours with the children here at the Leongatha Children’s Centre will equip them with the vital tools they need to become engaged and effective learners for life,” Ms Herrald said.
“In addition, they will have more time to devote to play and their various projects of interest.”
The announcement by Assistant Education Minister, Susan Ley, guarantees Commonwealth funding until 2015.
Under the current system, the Federal Government only funds five hours, while the State Government looks after 10 hours.
However, the Commonwealth’s portion will again come under review in 2015, forcing parents back on the merry-go-round.
Ms Herrald says that the government needs to commit to funding early childhood well into the future, rather than continue the uncertainty of the current arrangement.
“All children should have access to high quality education, especially the vulnerable and those from lower socio-economic backgrounds. It’s time we had a firm funding commitment by the Federal Government,” she remarked.
A detailed review of early childhood education is scheduled to be released by the Productivity Commission in October.