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ECA welcome the investment in public infrastructure and delivery of preschool so that all children
receive an entitlement and families can have choice. “Many families seek out school-based
preschools, particularly if they have older children at school or limited transport options”, says ECA
CEO Sam Page; “co-location of preschools with schools makes good sense. However, consultation
with experts in planning this integration and consideration of age-appropriate pedagogy are
imperative to ensure it is play-based and valued by the school leadership team”.

It is also important that the NSW Government continue to invest in the well-established community based preschools, including those run by Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs).

“We ask the NSW Government to consult on and develop a strategy of support for community bare
preschools – many of which have been part of the fabric of local communities for a very long
time. Investment in expanding some of these preschools and building on their excellent track record
would be well supported”, says Ms Page.

Long day care services also play a very important role in preschool provision across NSW and it is
vital that working families continue to have access to longer sessions of early childhood education
and care if they need it. “Our primary interest is ensuring that families have choice of what suits their
child and family circumstances, and no early childhood education provider should lose from this
investment”, says Ms Page.

ECA acknowledges that robust criteria were considered when selecting the 100 additional sites, and
significant planning went into the planning process. ECA urges this planning to continue from now
until 2027. The fact that almost half the new preschools will be established in regional locations,
where there are well-documented shortages, is pleasing. This will help to address the current gaps
within unserved or underserved communities.

“We know the sector does need to expand and lift capacity to provide universal access. However, we also know all too well that there is a shortage of early childhood educators and teachers and we don’t want to lose any services from the system especially in rural, remote and regional areas”, Ms Page says.

ECA is keen to support, through our regional networks across NSW, local consultation. With strong local committees, ECA can leverage our extensive knowledge and experience, strong cross-sectoral relationships and national policy team that understand the complexities of phasing in universal programs at scale.