“Today we embark on the greatest transformation of early education in a generation.” This was the opening line of a joint statement between the Dan Andrews government and the Dominic Perrottet government. It was also not hyperbolic, as these states have committed to giving every kid in NSW and Victoria one year’s worth of play-based learning before they start primary school.
In Andrews and Perrottet’s statement, they explained their rationale behind this decision. They declared that for their state’s children, this year will be “dedicated to growing and learning, new friends and new experiences. A year devoted to helping our kids be the very best they can be. Giving them the skills they need for school, but just as importantly, the skills they need for life.” They also state that this project will be beneficial for working family members.
According to the ABC, this initiative will come into effect for Victorian families in 2025, while it will start for NSW families in 2030. In both states, the educational programs will be five days each week and will be 100% free.
Both governments seem rather happy with their idea. The Age reported that Andrews said after its announcement, “These are big changes, but they just make sense – giving our kids the very best start in life and delivering early education and care that actually works for families.” Moreover, as per The Sydney Morning Herald, Perrottet declared, “This is incredible reform that will change lives.”
It’s worth noting that this scheme is not just being touted by these governments. The Early Learning Association of Australia gave it huge props. “Currently, one in five children arrive for their first day of school already developmentally behind their peers,” said its CEO David Worland. “Today’s announcement… is a game changer for children, especially vulnerable children, parents, educators, and service providers.” Worland also noted that such a scheme will help get more women into the workforce.