Preschool

Children who engage in a quality preschool program are generally better prepared to start primary school. The Australian Government supports states and territories to ensure a nationally consistent quality preschool program is available for all children in the year before school.

On this page:

Funding for preschool

The Australian Government and all states and territories have agreed to a four-year Preschool Reform Agreement. The agreement locks in Commonwealth funding for preschool to the end of 2025. It also commits to reforms to improve preschool participation and outcomes.

Learn more about the Preschool Reform Funding Agreement.

Previous funding arrangements

Between 2008 and 2021, the Australian Government funded state and territory governments to provide quality preschool programs through the Universal Access National Partnership (UANP).

Learn more about the Universal Access National Partnership.

The Nous Group independently reviewed the UANP for the Australian and state and territory governments.

The findings showed an increase in community awareness of the importance of children taking part in a quality preschool program in the year before school.

Read the UANP Review report.

Improving preschool participation

The Smith Family is working with states and territories to:

  • identify communities with low preschool participation, and
  • develop strategies to increase preschool attendance rates in these areas.

The Smith Family delivered their final report Small Steps, Big Futures in mid-2021.

Read the final report on the Smith Family website.

National Quality Framework

Preschool is supported by the National Quality Framework (NQF).

The NQF includes a National Quality Standard to ensure high quality and consistent early childhood education and care across Australia.

Under the NQF, centre-based day care and preschool services must have an early childhood teacher in attendance.

Learn more about the National Quality Framework.

Early childhood literature review

The Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) undertook a critical review of existing early childhood education and care literature in 2016. The review focused on the value of preschool for:

  • three-year old children
  • Indigenous children, and
  • children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Read the critical review of the early childhood literature.

COVID-19 and preschool 

Information about COVID-19 and preschool is provided at a state and territory level. Please visit your state or territory education website for the latest COVID-19 information.