What’s the perfect number of hours for a three-year-old to be at Preschool. Probably more than you think.
Is your child at Preschool? How many hours are they there? Do you feel like they need more, or less learning time?
Now, a senate inquiry has recommended an increase in the number of hours children attend Preschool, doubling the currently recommended ideal.
All states and territories are currently committed to providing 15 hours of Preschool to children the year before they begin school. However, Early Childhood Australia chief executive Samantha Page says that amount should be doubled at the very least, to 30 hours per week.
Ms Page said there is strong evidence showing that children over three would benefit from 30 hours of attendance which would have the added benefit of allowing more parents to return to the workforce.
“We know children, if they’re in good quality programs, thrive up to 30 hours,’’ Ms Page said “We don’t think that children getting less than 15 hours will have the same beneficial outcomes.’’
Already, Preschool places are in short supply and families are struggling to keep up with childcare costs. We can’t help but wonder, who is going to pay for more hours? The State Government has already warned us that it’s looking to cut Preschool hours from 15 hours to 12 unless a Federal funding agreement is renewed, so clearly funding is already an issue.
Late last year the NSW State Government informed State-run Preschools that money provided to subsidise fees must be used for children starting school next year, which means parents of young children are going to face an increase in fees, that is, if they haven’t already. If extra funding is directed to older children to cater for increased hours, the concern is that Preschool for younger children will become even less affordable.
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Would you send your child to Preschool more if you could?