The nation’s leading early learning and care providers have united for the first time to campaign for children ahead of the Federal Election.
And an Illawarra early education leader is leading the charge in calling on the major parties to fund two years of access to high quality early learning in the vital years before children begin primary school.
Jenni Hutchins, the CEO of Big Fat Smile, is also co-chair of the Early Learning and Care Council of Australia (ELACCA).
ELACCA, which represents the nation’s large not-for-profit and private providers of early learning and care services, is fronting the Launch into Learning campaign, which is being supported by more than 2200 centres across Australia.
The campaign will reach out to the 400,000 parents connected with ELACCA’s partners and more than 40,000 educators.
Ms Hutchins said the bipartisan campaign would target 24 key marginal seats across the nation to get its point across.
"This is the first time that the members of ELACCA have united to campaign on an initiative which is indicative of our collective passion and commitment to deliver quality early learning for all children across Australia," she said.
"We know that the ages of three to five are critical to brain development and that children who have attended two years quality play-based learning make the best transitions to school.
"Launch into Learning will be reminding the major parties and their candidates that high quality early learning grows confident, capable and curious young learners who are ready to thrive.
"We want all parties to make a commitment that every, single child has access to two-years play-based learning to launch into their educational journey."
The Launch into Learning campaign is calling on all major political parties to commit to:
- Significant new investment in all children to ensure they attend two years of high quality early learning in the vital years before they begin primary school
- Better support for children experiencing disadvantage or vulnerability by ensuring they attend 600 hours of quality preschool programs
- Fixing the Child Care Subsidy so that it supports all children’s access to preschool programs
- A strategy to ensure Australia has sufficient numbers of highly trained early childhood teachers and educators - who are well paid and well respected
- On-going commitment to the National Quality Framework which helps ensure all preschool programs are of high quality.