More than 60 federal MPs and Senators will visit early childhood education services in Australia’s first ever Early Learning Matters Week August 5-12, a national initiative of the Early Learning Everyone Benefits campaign.
Education Minister Simon Birmingham, Treasurer Scott Morrison, Shadow Education Minister Tanya Plibersek, Shadow Early Childhood Minister Amanda Rishworth, Minister for Defence Industries and Innovation Christopher Pyne, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Stephen Ciobo and Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government John McVeigh are among 63 politicians visiting their local services this week to experience quality early learning and hear from educators and parents why Early Learning matters.
“Early learning matters because it’s in these early years before children turn five, that children’s brains are growing the fastest and are wired to learn. It’s when the foundations for learning, health and behaviour throughout life are laid down,” said campaign spokesperson Samantha Page, CEO of Early Childhood Australia.
“Qualified early childhood educators provide infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers with play-based and intentional indoor and outdoor activities that support their development of social, emotional, cognitive and language skills.”
Australian and international research shows that children who participate in one or more years of quality early learning have improved school education performance, are better able to manage their behaviour and have lower levels of hyperactivity. They are more likely to finish high school and go on to academic studies and more likely to find steady employment.
“Whilst Australia has improved in attendance of four year olds in preschool/kindergarten programs in recent years, we are still in the bottom third of developed countries for attendance in early learning for three year olds and younger,” said Ms Page.
“Families face too many barriers to accessing early learning and too many children are still missing out on the benefits of attending at least two days of early learning for their children regardless of where they live in Australia or what their work or study activities are,” she said.
“Whilst the new Child Care Subsidy system is making access to early learning more affordable for most families where BOTH parents are working, there are concerns that some vulnerable children (who benefit the most) will have their access to early learning reduced or miss out,” said Ms Page.
The Early Learning Everyone Benefits campaign calls on federal politicians in both houses of parliament to:
- Ensure all Australian children have access to at least two days per week of early childhood education, irrespective of their parents’ activities
- Develop a whole of government Early Years Strategy to ensure no children fall though the gaps
- Provide a long-term commitment to maintain current total levels of funding for Universal Access to kindergarten or preschool programs in the year before school
- Extend kindergarten/preschool funding for play-based programs to support 3 year olds
- Improve quality of early education and care through ongoing support for the National Quality Agenda and workforce development initiatives
- Improve support for disadvantaged children, especially those living in regional and remote areas and from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
Contact to organise photos and interviews: Carolin Wenzel ph: 0475 554 999
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To see inspiring examples of early learning activities that engage children
Download this Briefing for background on the evidence of why Early Learning Matters
For more information about Early Learning Matters Week visit www.everyonebenefits.org.au