Politicians pledge for preschool funding
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 123 No 7, 5 October 2018, page no. 22
More than 40 members of Parliament have supported the demand for continued funding to guarantee universal access to preschool.
A successful lobbying day held in Canberra on 15 August saw an AEU delegation of teachers, principals and parents, from every state and territory, descend on Federal Parliament to gain support from MPs of all parties for an extension to the funding for universal access to preschool, which is due to expire in 2019.
This federal money currently funds 15 hours of preschool a week, which in Queensland is used by the state education department to provide kindy programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, children who are enrolled in e-Kindy through the School of the Future, and those who are involved in the trial of remote kindy (under which kindergarten children can join their siblings in remote schools if they are more than 5O km by road from a community kindy or childcare centre which offers a kindy program).
The QTU delegation consisted of QTU members Cath O’Connor, manager of e-Kindy, School of the Future, and former preschool and kindy director Julie Streeter, who were accompanied by parent Jo Briskey, former executive director of the Parenthood.
More than 40 pledges of support were gathered on the day, including from Senators, the Australian Greens and MPs from the Labor Party, including Opposition Leader Bill Shorten. While several Liberal/National party members pledged their support on the day, it is the current coalition government that made the budget cut, which will need to be reversed for the preschool/kindy programs across Australia to survive.
QTU members know the value of quality kindergarten education and support the AEU call for an extension of the funding to include three-year-olds. Two years of quality early childhood education by a qualified early childhood teacher provides further social and cognitive education outcomes and increases the benefit to the child and to society in general. The benefits of two years of preschool/kindy are even greater for children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Without ongoing federal funding, programs like e-Kindy and remote kindy cannot survive, which will impact heavily on families in rural and remote Queensland, who are already struggling with the challenges of isolation and the ravages of the ongoing drought.
Members can support the campaign by contacting their local MP today to find out if they support the continuation of funding for universal preschool access, which enhances a child’s learning potential for the rest of their life.
Research Officer – Professional issues