A new survey has supported evidence from the ACT Government’s own reviews and reports from providers of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) that there may be an oversupply of Early Learning Centres (ELCs) in the ACT.
The survey was carried out by the Children First Alliance, a network of ACT not-for-profit ECEC, and found that almost three-quarters (74%) of parents surveyed indicated that they didn’t find it difficult to find a place in an ELC in the ACT for their child or children.
Of these parents, more than one-third (35%) of parents found it easy to find a place for their child or children in an ELC, 10% found it very easy and 29% were neutral.
Co-Chair of the Alliance and CEO of [email protected], Ms Lee Maiden, said the suggestion of oversupply “is something that we have been seeing for several years”.
“Planning needs to reflect community need for ELCs in the same way that planning for schools considers community need. This will ensure that children get the best possible education and care and that our hardworking workforce and resources will be used in the most effective way.”
The majority of parents surveyed also reported a number of positive outcomes for their children as a result of attending an ELC, including positive social skills (83%), greater independence (68%), improved communication skills (64%) and greater confidence (58%). The majority of parents (80%) also support the extension of free Government preschool to three-year-old children in the ACT.
The survey’s release on Wednesday 20 November coincided with the release of the Children First Alliance’s new Policy Statement which has four priority areas: supporting children and families experiencing disadvantage to access and engage in ECEC; providing ongoing universal access to ECEC for four-year-old children and continuing work to extend access to three-year-old children; valuing and investing in the ECEC workforce; and ensuring that planning processes support the development of a strong ECEC sector.
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