Media statement: Early learning is NOT about sitting behind desk
11 March 2019
The nation’s largest preschool providers have rejected suggestions that preschool is the same as school.
“Unfortunately, some media reports today have confused early learning with school,” the CEO of the Early Learning and Care Council, Elizabeth Death said.
“A preschool program is all about play with a curriculum designed to maximise every child’s unique learning. It is not formal ‘sitting at desks’ schooling.
“Very young children learn the critical thinking, problem solving and language and social skills they need through play – whether that’s building a tower of blocks with a friend, constructing with recycled materials, playing in the water trough, or climbing on the outdoor play equipment.
“More than 80 percent of a child’s brain has developed before children start formal schooling – we know that the greatest window of opportunity is between 3-5 years of age.
“The opportunity to experience age-appropriate, play-based learning under the guidance of degree qualified early childhood teachers grows confident, capable and curious young learners,” Ms Death said.
One in five Australian children currently start school developmentally behind their peers. Despite comprehensive data and international evidence supporting the value of early learning, Australia currently lags behind its peer countries who already deliver two years of early learning.
All Australian children should have an opportunity to access and benefit from two years of quality early learning to establish the critical skills that will launch them into learning and ensure a smooth transition to a formal school environment, their education journey and long-term employment, health and wellbeing.