Welcome investment in early learning.

THE early years of a child’s education play a crucial role in their later life.

That’s the message from Warrnambool City Council’s Ebony Grieve, who has welcomed the federal government’s commitment of $2.4 million to ensure more than 1900 pre-schoolers in Wannon have access to 15 hours a week of early learning.

EARLY LEARNING: Will Farley, 4, Alfie Hoy, 4, and Milla Rentsch, 5, are some of the children that have started the new term at City Kindergarten in Warrnambool.

EARLY LEARNING: Will Farley, 4, Alfie Hoy, 4, and Milla Rentsch, 5, are some of the children that have started the new term at City Kindergarten in Warrnambool.

Ms Grieve, the council’s service manager of early years learning and development, said kindergarten helped set the foundation for lifelong learning in children.

She said the council provided 16 kindergarten  programs, across 12 different sites and this year there were more than 350 children attending.

“It really is about investing in their future,” she said.

Member for Wannon said the government wanted to give children the best start to their education.

“We know that a quality preschool education is essential for laying the foundations for successful learning, including the transition to full-time school and future school success,” he said. 

“This funding for pre-schoolers in Wannon gives certainty for families and children. It means children in the year before school will continue to have access to 15 hours of preschool a week, or 600 hours a year, in 2019.”

The funding is part of a $400 million boost from the federal government.

Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham said the government had extended the National Partnership Agreement on Universal Access to Early Childhood Education. 

“The challenge we now need to confront is that for all of the funding support, more than a quarter of children enrolled for preschool aren’t attending for the full 15 hours,” he said.

 “That means some children in the earliest years of education are starting behind the pack. 

“States must find ways to motivate the parents of educationally vulnerable pre-schoolers to both enrol and attend. Otherwise, we risk a lost generation of children who start school too far behind their counterparts.

“This extension of the National Partnership gives us time to work through these issues and develop an enduring policy beyond 2019 that ensures children are not just enrolling, but attending and benefiting from preschool programs in readiness for school.”

Wannon MP Dan Tehan

Wannon MP Dan Tehan