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Time for Australia to provide preschool education for all three year olds?

Stacey Fox writes in The Conversation (1.9.16) about proposals to lower the entrance age for preschool education to three years, mirroring similar moves in many other advanced countries.

‘Ireland has just become the latest country to make preschool programs available to all three year olds.

‘There is a clear move internationally towards delivery of two years of preschool, with early education being understood as a critical investment in human capital.

‘Many European countries, including France, Germany and Norway, have provided universal preschool for three and four year olds for decades. More recently, the UK and New Zealand have made moves to join them. And East Asian countries that consistently top education performance lists are rapidly gearing towards universal access for three and four year olds.

‘Australia has much lower levels of participation in ECEC (Early Childhood Education and Care) and preschool programs than our OECD peers.

‘… In a report released earlier this year, Mitchell Institute identified boosting access to preschool programs as one of the top five early childhood education policy priorities. It is opportune for governments to consider whether or not three year olds should have access to preschool too.’

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