Victoria and NSW introduce extra year of early childhood education
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Victoria and NSW introduce extra year of early childhood education

Young children in Victoria and NSW are getting an extra year of early education as part of a major generational reform in both states.

Victorian Prime Minister Daniel Andrews and his NSW counterpart Dominic Perrottet announced on Thursday the groundbreaking move to help children “be the very best they can be”.

Camera IconNSW and Victoria are introducing an extra year of early childhood education. Credit: Included

“Over the next 10 years, every child in Victoria and NSW will experience the benefits of a full year of play-based learning before their first year of school,” the Prime Ministers said in a joint statement.

“A year dedicated to growing and learning, new friends and new experiences. A year dedicated to helping our children be the best they can be. Give them the skills they need for school, but just as importantly, the skills they need for life.

Camera icons new school year will be known as “pre-prep” and “pre-kindergarten.” Delivered Credit: Delivered

“At the same time, it will benefit hundreds of thousands of working families.”

Victoria targets a 2025 start date, with the new school year, known as “pre-prep,” set to last 30 hours a week.

It is part of a new $9 billion investment in state government education over the next decade, which will also include 15 hours of free childcare per week starting in 2023 (meaning savings of up to $2,500 per child) and 50 new childcare centers. In areas that do not have these services.

Camera IconPre-prep’ is part of the Victorian government’s $9 billion education investment. NCA NewsWire/David Crosling Credit: News Corp Australia

NSW plans to roll out “pre-kindergarten” in 2030 as part of a more than $5.8 billion commitment over the next 10 years.

It will run five days a week and is expected to be the biggest news item in next week’s state budget.

The additional year of play-based learning is free but not required in both states for all four-year-olds.

Both prime ministers hoped the changes would help parents return to work “on terms that work for them”.

They also said it would build a system that “works for women, not against them”.

Perrottet called it the “greatest transformation of early education in a generation”.

Camera IconNSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said it was the ‘biggest early education transformation in a generation’. NCA NewsWire/Jeremy Piper Credit: News Corp Australia

Andrews said it was about giving children “the very best start in life”.

“Some things are bigger than state lines,” he said.

“We are partnering with NSW to initiate the largest early education reform ever.”