Her daughter may have been born a few years too early to make the cut, but Wagga teacher Zoe Cull has wholeheartedly welcomed plans to introduce an extra year of school for NSW children.
The state government this week announced ambitious plans to offer five days per week of free pre-kindergarten schooling for every four-year-old by 2030.
The $5.8 billion initiative will see the government create new facilities at existing schools as well as expanding existing long daycare centres and pre-schools.
In other news
Mrs Cull is already experiencing the difficulties of juggling a career and daycare with her daughter Georgie, 17 months, and she believes an optional year of free schooling will be a huge help for parents.
"It will really just give more freedom and more choice, particularly for parents who might be earning low incomes," she said.
"The cost of daycare and pre-school education, as well as the availability issues, can have a huge impact on people."
The move comes off the back of years of reports and advocacy showing the benefits of access to early education for children's development and school readiness.
Mrs Cull works as a high school teacher and believes providing children with an extra year of play-based learning could help set them up for educational success.
"I know there is a large body of research that shows the earlier kids are able to engage in the process of learning, the earlier that any developmental issues can be identified," she said.
"When a kid turns up and they're disadvantaged it makes them feel like they're bad at learning and that can be really hard for them to overcome over the course of their education."
She said getting kids to begin their education earlier could help even out that disadvantage.
Premier Dominic Perrottet described the plans as the greatest transformation of early education in a generation.
"We will ensure that our kids get the best social outcomes and the best educational outcomes," he said
Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said the extra year will be a "game-changer" for the state's education system.
"Universal pre-kindergarten is something I have been working hard to bring to NSW ... having seen the benefits of it for children and families in countries like Canada," she said.
Victoria is acting in tandem with NSW on the policy but plans to introduce the extra year in 2025.
The Riverina is currently battling a severe childcare shortage, with some parts of the region only having one spot on offer for every ten children.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.