Posted August 2018

KU Ourimbah Preschool and Children's Centre has welcomed Emma McBride, Federal Member for Dobell, to their centre as part of Australia’s first ever Early Learning Matters Week, a national initiative of the Early Learning Everyone Benefits campaign.

For the first time, early childhood services from every state and territory have coordinated to invite their local federal politicians to visit in the same week – to experience quality early learning and to hear from educators and families why early learning matters.

“Early learning matters because it’s in these early years before children turn five that children’s brains are growing the fastest and are wired to learn. It’s when the foundations for learning, health and behaviour throughout life are laid down,” said KU Ourimbah Director, Rosanne Pugh.

“At KU Ourimbah, we have qualified early childhood educators taking children aged from 0 to 5 years old through play-based and intentional indoor and outdoor activities that support children’s development of social, emotional, cognitive and language skills.”

KU Ourimbah operates as a ‘Forrest Preschool’, with children being immersed in nature on a daily basis and spending a significant amount of time exploring the university campus grounds which include forests, wetlands and bush areas. The children took Ms McBride on a walking tour of the campus, revealing to her some of their favourite places to learn and play.

Australian and international research has shown that children who participate in one or more years of quality early learning have improved school education performance, are better able to manage their behaviour and have lower levels of hyperactivity. They are more likely to finish high school and go on to academic studies and are more likely to find steady employment.

“Whilst Australia has improved in attendance of four year old’s in preschool programs in recent years, we are still in the bottom third of developed countries for attendance in early learning for three year old’s and younger,” said Early Learning Everyone Benefits campaign spokesperson, Samantha Page, CEO of Early Childhood Australia.

“Families face too many barriers to access early learning and too many children are still missing out on the benefits of attending at least two days of early learning for their children regardless of where they live in Australia or what their work or study activities are.”

About Early Learning Everyone Benefits

The Early Learning Everyone Benefits campaign calls on federal politicians in both houses of parliament to:

  • Ensure all Australian children have access to at least two days per week of early childhood education, irrespective of their parents’ activities.
  • Develop a whole of government Early Years Strategy to ensure no children fall though the gaps.
  • Provide a long-term commitment to maintain current total levels of funding for Universal Access to kindergarten or preschool programs in the year before school.
  • Extend kindergarten/preschool funding for play-based programs to support three year old’s.
  • Improve quality of early education and care through ongoing support for the National Quality Agenda and workforce development initiatives.
  • Improve support for disadvantaged children, especially those living in regional and remote areas and from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

For more information about Early Learning Matters Week visit https://www.earlylearningmatters.org.au