A MOTHER of triplets is forking out close to $150 a day on pre-school, so her children can access quality education.
Nicole Dunn’s three daughters attend three-year-old pre-school and Ms Dunn says the cost is too high.
Pre-school in NSW is more expensive than in any other state and an industry expert says this cost threatens to create a second-class of less educated, disadvantaged children.
Community Childcare Co-operative chief executive Leanne Gibbs made this bold claim after reports revealed the state government was significantly underspending on pre-school education.
“Pre-school is absolutely vital,” Ms Gibbs said.
“And we are seeing parents making the choice not to send their children to pre-school and instead send them to school, when they are not actually ready, and it is because of higher fees that they choose not to go.”
Ms Gibbs said early years education set children up for life and often impacted their ability to develop into well-rounded, high-achieving adults.
“Children that go to pre-school have better outcomes academically, they have great employability and make a better civic contribution,” Ms Gibbs said. “Why wouldn’t the state commit to better pre-school education?”
For Ms Dunn the decision to send Grace, Isabella and Amelia to pre-school was a “no brainer” – but she feared the high cost deterred many parents.
“We’re are in quite a unique situation where our pre-school subsidises our triplets,” Ms Dunn said.
She called for nation-wide uniformed approach to fee setting.
“It’s frustrating that Victorians don’t have to pay as much. There is nothing more important than education.”
Ms Dunn works one-day a week and said her wage purely went towards her daughters pre-school fees.
“The situation in NSW is ridiculous,” Ms Dunn said.
The most recent Productivity Commission Report on Government Services figures reveal NSW spends the least of all states on early education with $193 per child per year. Queensland is the next lowest, with $254, followed by Victoria with $335.
Minister for Early Childhood Education, Leslie Williams, said funding has increased 32 per cent from last year.
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