NSW must value the youngest generation

I WRITE to you with grave concerns regarding the future of community-based preschools in NSW. 

Since 1989 we have either been in a funding freeze or a state of sporadic and unreliable funding, where services and families have no surety of future funds or how they will be allocated. 

In 2013 fees at NSW community- based preschools will be the highest they have ever been – up to $55 a day. In the Tamworth area most preschools will charge over $25. The most vulnerable children in our communities are missing out and this is creating an even bigger gap in the educational outcomes for children. 

Participation rates are falling across the state and we know from research that 0-five is the most important time for a child’s learning and development and that children have better outcomes if they receive an early childhood education. 

This week sees the start of a concerted campaign to increase funding, reduce fees and make preschool education accessible, affordable and equitable for all children across NSW. We aim to make the NSW government responsible for preschool education – this is the case in every other state in Australia where preschool fees are very low or non-existent. 

We have asked the premier,  Barry O’Farrell, the Education and Communities Minister, Adrian Piccoli and our local member, Kevin Anderson, to explain why NSW has reached this crisis point and how they aim to address the situation. 

NSW is in a shameful situation compared to the rest of Australia, who seem to value the youngest members of their society more than the government of NSW. 

KAREN MCILVEEN

PETER PAN PRE-SCHOOL

TAMWORTH

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