All children in NSW and Victoria – Australia's two most populous states – will be able to access play-based learning for free in the year before they start their first official year of primary school under a radical revamp of the states' education systems.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet and Victorian Premier Dan Andrews have released a joint statement touting the plan saying both states will "embark on the greatest transformation of early education in a generation".
"Every child in Victoria and NSW will experience the benefits of a full year of play-based learning before their first year of school," they said
"At the same time, it will benefit hundreds of thousands of working families.
"It means a brighter future for our kids and their families too."
'Game-changer' program to cost $5.8 billion in NSW
NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell says the extra year will be a "game-changer" with kids attending preschool for free five days a week from 2030.
"What it will mean is that every child in NSW will have access to five days of free preschool in the year before they start school," she told Nine Network on Thursday.
The extra year of learning will "set children up for the best start in life" and "give every child the opportunity to have that five days of early learning at no cost to families".
Trials will start next year in some communities.
Mr Perrottet announced details of the $5.8 billion program, which will be part of Tuesday's budget, this morning.
In a statement, he called it "the greatest transformation of early education in a generation".
Today we embark on the greatest transformation of early education in a generation. pic.twitter.com/DLkw9Pun7e
— Dom Perrottet (@Dom_Perrottet) June 15, 2022
The plan requires the recruitment and training of more early education teachers and the construction of more preschools on primary school lands.
"It's a game changer and it's exciting and there is big money behind it because we have to do well for our kids," Ms Mitchell said.
The government has already announced it will spend $1.4 billion to subsidise preschool from next year, as well as $5 billion over a decade to create more childcare places.
"So we are doing a lot in the affordability space," Ms Mitchell said.
"All up in NSW we are talking about more than $15 billion that we will be investing for families and the benefits will start flowing from as early as next year."
— The Today Show (@TheTodayShow) June 15, 2022
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