A group of 10 children from Launceston’s Northern Suburbs will be part of the Tasmanian education program piloting pre-school for three year olds.
The Working Together for 3 Year Olds initiative will trial pre-school programs at five pilot locations in Tasmania, allowing 50 children to access 400 hours of free early learning in 2019.
Speaking at the launch, B4 Early Years Coalition co-chair Elizabeth Daly said the program enabled children to access pre-school who might not have otherwise had the opportunity.
“We have about 98 per cent of Tasmanian children in kindergarten, but it’s a very different story when it comes to three year olds,” Ms Daly said.
“From a B4 perspective those 0-3 or 0-4 years are critical for development and while we have some very lucky children who already access childcare and private early learning programs, there’s in excess of 40 per cent who don’t, so this is the beginning of an amazing initiative as far as early childhood educators are concerned.
“This will level the playing field,” she said.
Education Minister Jeremy Rockliff launched the initiative at the Lady Gowrie University Community Child Care Centre at Newnham on Monday and said it was a targeted initiative in pre-schooling for three year olds.
“Particularly when it comes to life-long learning and social and economic outcomes, investment in the early years is critical,” Mr Rockliff said.
“This is an initiative that will ensure that we give every eligible three year old the best possible start in life, engaging them in education earlier,” he said.
The initiative will be piloted in Launceston, along with Devonport, Glenorchy, Kingborough and Derwent Valley, with the full program rolled out across the state in 2020.
“When it is delivered in 2020 we expect some 2500 eligible three year olds to participate in free pre-school,” Mr Rockliff said.
As part of the pilot, pre-school children and their families, along with the child care sector, Tasmanian Council of Social Service, parents and carers, will be involved in the design and development of the full program.
Mr Rockliff highlighted that there would be a focus on children from Mowbray, Rocherlea and Newnham for the Launceston pilot participants.
“There are communities and families we want to support, particularly families experiencing disadvantage. Our goal is to create a valuable and accessible experience for those who most need it.”
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