A petition containing the signatures of 6,900 parents and educators will be presented to Minister for Early Childhood Education Jenny Mikakos today at Victorian parliament.
Parents, teachers and educators around Victoria are demanding the Andrews Government fully fund 10 hours a week of three-year-old preschool.
“The years before a child starts school are critical," said AEU Victoria president Meredith Peace. “Two years of early childhood education with a qualified early education teacher sets a child up for a life of learning. Children who have access to early childhood education have better cognitive, emotional, and social development.
“At the moment, three-year-old preschool education is only accessible to parents who can afford to pay for it. Children whose parents can’t afford to pay are missing out.
“Kids who attend preschool start prep with a bigger vocabulary, stronger basic skills, good habits and attitudes about learning that stick with them for life.
“This opportunity needs to be available for all families. Almost 7,000 Victorians have signed the petition to Daniel Andrews to say this opportunity shouldn’t rely on parents’ capacity to pay.
“Victoria’s most vulnerable children are those who will benefit the most from two years of early childhood learning, and it is these children who are missing out," said Peace.
Australia ranks 33rd out of 36 OECD countries when it comes to participation in three-year-old preschool education.
"This is disgraceful, and we are calling on the Andrews Government to make a change. The Andrews government needs to fund three-year-old preschool programs and support the strong teaching workforce required to deliver the programs,” said Ms Peace.
AEU representatives and early childhood educators will be presenting the petition calling on the Andrews government to deliver all three-year-olds with 10 hours of preschool to Jenny Mikakos, the Minister for Early Childhood Education, at the Victorian parliament today.