26 September 2023

Three-year-olds start free school

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The first group of three-year-olds to take part in publicly-funded schooling will start their early childhood education this year in the ACT.

In a statement the Education Directorate said initiative was part of its Early Childhood Strategy to improve access, equity and affordability of early childhood learning for Canberra families.

“We are moving towards delivering 15 hours per week, totalling 600 hours per year of free, universal quality early childhood education for three-year-olds,” the Directorate said.

“Well-established research has shown that the period from birth through to eight years, especially the first three years, sets the foundation for every child’s social, physical, emotional and cognitive development.”

It said eligible families would be contacted directly to participate in the rollout of the 300 targeted placements, with an additional 100 places to be made available for three-year-olds at Koori Preschool.

Minister for Education and Early Childhood Development, Yvette Berry said that “priority children” would be among the first to take part in the initiative.

“Three-year-old children who are most in need – families experiencing disadvantage and vulnerability – will be able to access 15 hours per week, quality early childhood education,” Ms Berry said.

“This is the first step toward free, universal quality early childhood education for all three-year-old children in the ACT.”

Ms Berry said the Education Directorate was working with the Community Services and Health Directorates to identify suitable children for the program.

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