Two Years are Better Than One

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Factsheet: Universal preschool is the best option for Australia

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Providing universal access to preschool programs for all 3 year old children is an achievable and desirable policy goal for Australia.

With two thirds of 3 year olds accessing early education and care (ECEC) services, Australia already has the foundations of a universal preschool program. The challenge is to:

  • Make sure all 3 year olds receive the 'dose' of high quality early learning through a dedicated preschool program that will have a sustained impact on their development
  • Ensure the children currently missing out due to financial and non-financial barriers have the opportunity to participate.

What next?

The Mitchell Institute recommends that as an immediate and low-cost first step, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agree to commission a scoping study into 3 year preschool programs.

Key recommendation

COAG should commission a scoping study into universal 3-year-old preschool programs for Australia. The study should be completed by the end of 2017 and should identify:

·        Delivery gaps and opportunities

·        Core process and structural quality elements

·        Strategies to address barriers to access for priority cohorts

·        Jurisdiction-specific implementation options

·        Improvements in data collection needed to track impact

Fact sheets in this series

Preschool programs for 3 year olds

International preschool programs for 3 year olds

Designing a preschool program

An additional year of preschool – an achievable reform

The impact of two years of preschool

Preschool programs in the ACT

Preschool programs in New South Wales

Preschool programs in the Northern Territory

Kindergarten programs in Queensland

Preschool programs in South Australia

Kindergarten programs in Tasmania

Kindergarten programs in Victoria

Kindergarten programs in Western Australia

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