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.
Funding for preschool
The Australian Government funds state and territory governments to provide quality preschool programs through the Universal Access National Partnership (UANP).
States and territories are responsible for the provision of preschool or kindergarten in their jurisdiction.
Preschool Reform Funding Agreement
A new $2 billion, four-year national reform commitment will be established to strengthen the delivery of preschool and better prepare children to start school, through to the end of the 2025 calendar year.
Under this agreement, the Australian Government will continue to provide a per child contribution to states and territories. In 2022, this will be around $1340.
The commitment locks in ongoing Australian Government funding beyond 2025, with reforms to be agreed with all states and territories to lift preschool attendance and outcomes.
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 an interim report at the end of 2019. A final report is due mid-2021.
Review of preschool arrangements
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.
National Quality Framework
The UANP 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.
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.
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.