The nursery school of Bermagui fears that the preschool reform will suffer from the lack of educators

While the New South Wales government’s recent commitment of billions of dollars for a year of pre-kindergarten education has been welcomed by Bermagui Kindergarten director Narelle Myers, as well as more funding aimed at saving parents money when they send their children to kindergarten, concerns have been raised about what the new structure will look like in real life and how early childhood educators seem to have been left out.

The 2022/23 NSW budget will set aside $5.8 billion over ten years to introduce universal preschool for all NSW children by 2030, along with $1.4 billion pledged over four years to ease pressures cost of living for families.

This, Ms Myers said, is “fabulous”, but she questions the potential infrastructural issues of establishing a pre-kindergarten year of education and where the educators who will staff it will come from.

If the changes involve the construction of nursery schools on the sites of primary schools, she explained, demountable buildings, the popular choice for rapid growth of schools “will not suffice” because they would not meet the needs. specific to children under five.

Additionally, many long-established pre-school services are in need of urgent repairs, due to the lack of long-term funding for the pre-school sector.

Ms Myers, speaking to a local news source About Regional also shared his concern that play-based learning is being phased out and that a reduction in rigorous academic testing of school environments would infiltrate early learning.

“There’s a concern about what programming for kids will look like,” she said.

The government’s $1.4 billion investment will mean families will be eligible for $4,000 a year in fee relief for children aged three to five attending a community or mobile preschool, as well as 2 $000 per year in fee relief for four and five year olds. preschoolers in long-term care.

Although Ms Myers welcomed the news, she shared concerns that private institutions would increase their fees to absorb the additional funding, leaving families no better off. She also shared her concern that many children would struggle with five days a fortnight of kindergarten and that this limited parents’ opportunities to spend time with their children during “a very short and beautiful period of the life”.

Last but not least, she said the funding announcements did not address raising the pay of preschool staff, raising the issue of pay parity with primary counterparts and noting that those in the early years sector were employed in part of some of the lowest paying rewards.

The NSW Government intends to consult with families, leading agencies and service providers to create the best model for the pre-kindergarten year before it is rolled out.

For the original cover of this story, see here. More information on the reforms can be found here.

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