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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Committing to better care

The state government is committing $56 million towards the enhancement and support of the early childhood education and care workforce, aligning with the recommendations put forth by the Royal Commission into Early Childhood Education and Care. These measures aim to provide preschool for 3-year-olds and expand out-of-school hours care services.

With a 20-year objective to reduce the proportion of South Australian children deemed developmentally vulnerable upon commencing school, from 23.8% to 15%, a significant portion of this investment will be dedicated to scholarships aimed at bolstering the workforce. Crucially, this funding will enable many early childhood workers to elevate their skills and become qualified early childhood teachers.

Caren Hammerstein, Director of Kadina Child Care Centre, welcomes this initiative, highlighting the critical need to address workforce shortages and uplift the qualifications of educators across the sector. She views this investment as a positive step forward in tackling prevailing challenges.

Education Minister Blair Boyer expressed enthusiasm for the reforms, emphasizing their potential to set a national standard. The initiative builds upon existing investments in government preschool facilities and out-of-hours care, offering families a wider array of options and ensuring a higher quality of education and care.

The overarching goal is to strengthen the link between families and preschool programs while enhancing access to health and support services, ultimately reducing the number of South Australian children starting school with developmental vulnerabilities. By heeding the advice of the Royal Commission, the government aims to improve outcomes, particularly for children from disadvantaged backgrounds, thus laying the groundwork for a brighter future.

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