Families in Baulkham Hills can rest easy over the Christmas break, knowing the NSW Government is investing more money than ever to ensure that early childhood education is accessible and affordable for families right across NSW.
We know how important early childhood education is for a child’s educational, social and cognitive benefits, which is why the NSW Government introduced the Start Strong reforms last year to ensure more children have access to 600 hours of quality early childhood education in the year before school.
These Start Strong reforms are showing true success, with fees already dropping by an average of 25 per cent across the State, significantly relieving the financial burden that childcare has placed on families in the past under neglectful Labor governments.
The Government have placed more financial importance on early childhood education than ever before, with a record $435 million invested in the 2017-18 Budget – a $45 million increase on last year.
The investment included:
- $30 million in continued funding to enhance participation and educational outcomes in early childhood education for children with disabilities
- A $10 million Capital Works grant program to create new preschool places in areas of high demand
- $200,000 for Rural and Remote Early Childhood Teaching Scholarship programs that help educators in preschools and long day care services upgrade their qualifications
- Additional funding to support two years of preschool education for children in Aboriginal or disadvantaged families
Under Start Strong, community preschools must use at least 75 per cent of their funding increase to reduce fees for eligible children, with priority given to children from Aboriginal and low-income families.
I wish all children and families in Baulkham Hills a wonderful Christmas, and I look forward to watching them thrive when they return to their early childhood services next year; refreshed and ready to tackle 2018.