Academic journal article Childhood Education

Private Child Care Continues to Grow in Australia

Academic journal article Childhood Education

Private Child Care Continues to Grow in Australia

Article excerpt

Australian parents consider early childhood education to be highly valuable for children aged 3 to 5. Their children have the opportunity to attend sessional kindergarten (also known as preschool) when they are 3 or, more commonly, 4. This system is distinct from other child care services in Australia and is generally part of the elementary school system. Government funded kindergarten provides almost 98 percent of Australian 4-year-olds with approximately 10 hours of preschool education per week.

As a result of changes in family structure and economic conditions, many Australian parents require extended care as well as early education for their children. Many of them do not believe that kindergartens are providing suitable hours or sufficient flexibility to meet their, family's needs. Consequently, many preschool teachers have adapted their programs to ensure that kindergarten, with its developmental focus, remains a viable option for families. More and more kindergarten programs are now full day or offer an extended hours care program.

Although early childhood care and education in Australia is, for the most part, funded by the government, private child care and early learning centers are increasing. Recent government mandates to improve the cost efficiency of preschool education has changed the way preschools are funded. …

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