Stacey Fox writes in The Conversation (31.10.16) about research showing that two years of high-quality preschool is one of the most effective strategies to change the trajectories of children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
'Providing universal access to preschool programs for all three-year-old children could improve academic results in the longer term and prevent the learning gap that sees nearly one in four children not ready for school when they start.
'Our research shows that it is an achievable – and high priority – policy goal for Australia.
'With two-thirds of three-year-olds accessing early education and care (ECEC) services, Australia already has the foundations of a universal preschool program.
'Australia currently has a national preschool program for all children (around four years old) in the year before school – a significant reform that started in 2008 and now provides 15 hours of preschool, delivered by a qualified early childhood teacher.
'It is now time to extend this to three-year-old children, so that all children can access two years of preschool.'