Page 3369 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 21 August 2018

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City Renewal Authority—Part 1.12

Debate (on motion by Mr Gentleman) adjourned to the next sitting.


Motion (by Mr Gentleman) proposed:

That the Assembly do now adjourn.

Early learning

MR STEEL (Murrumbidgee) (6.45): I would like to highlight Early Learning Matters Week, which recently passed. As members know, I really do think that early learning matters. Early Learning Matters Week is an event supported by the “Early learning—Everyone benefits” campaign, a campaign focused on giving children the opportunity to attend quality early childhood education for at least two days a week to build their cognitive skills and their social and emotional skills, to assist them to manage their emotions and to support their transition to school.

The goals of the “Early learning—Everyone benefits” campaign are to have all Australian children benefit from participating in early learning, particularly vulnerable children; to have political parties commit to policies that would support universal access for four-year-olds and three-year-olds to attend early childhood education for two days a week; and to change the national conversation on early childhood and the value of early learning, to convince politicians like us that supporting participation in early learning will increase future prosperity for us all.

Early Learning Matters Week has stepped up the conversation in our community with decision-makers. We know that Australia is in the bottom third of countries ranked by the OECD for participation of three-year-olds in early learning. Children are doing some of their most important early learning during their earliest years. Early Learning Matters Week has been raising awareness about the benefits of quality early childhood education for our future prosperity. More than 60 federal MPs and senators were invited to visit early childhood education services to better understand what early childhood education, and particularly quality early childhood education, looks like and to hear from educators and from parents about why early learning matters.

I was unable to attend a visit over the last few weeks, but I have been heavily involved in the early childhood sector over my working career and have visited hundreds of centres and services across Australia and the ACT. I will be delighted to attend the “bogong dreaming” grand opening of the Woden Valley Child Care Centre on 31 August.

Access to 15 hours preschool is the UNICEF recommended benchmark for children’s development. I have spoken on that in this place. In fact, we have had a visit in this place, on both sides, from Professor Ted Melhuish from Oxford University, who is one of the authors of the effective provision of preschool education study, which shows that when children have access to two to three years of quality early childhood

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