An early childhood teacher in Clarence Town has welcomed a new State Government funding model for preschools saying fees will now be so low for some families that they will be able to send their child for the first time.
The Start Strong funding model for community preschools has come under fire from some preschools across the state because fees for three year olds have increased.
The new funding model is aimed at increasing preschool attendance the year before school.
To ensure that cost is not a barrier for families, the Government has allocated an additional $85 million for community preschools.
Rebecca Boland, Director of Clarence Town Preschool, says the change means many children in Clarence Town can attend preschool for the first time next year because it has become more affordable for their parents.
“Research shows that 600 hours of preschool in the year before starting school is ideal,” she said.
Research shows that 600 hours of preschool in the year before starting school is ideal. The evidence is overwhelming that attending preschool has benefits.- Rebecca Boland
“The evidence is overwhelming that attending preschool has benefits.
“For example the children are linguistically stronger, they can participate in conversations, respond to questions and are able to self regulate. Parents see the changes too with their child gaining independence and self esteem.
“To get 600 hours can be difficult and to make it work you need to give the child 15 hours a week and our centre already offers that time as we are open from 8.15am to 4.15pm.”
The changes will see the small community preschool drop its fees to as low as $5 a day for some children.
“When fees are $35 a day maybe one day a week is all some families can afford but when fees range from $5 it really opens it up.”
Mrs Boland conceded that the fees for three year olds have risen, but the benefit from the reduced fees for children in the year before starting school was important.
“If we focus on the negative aspects of any model how can we embrace the positives?”