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Strengthening early childhood education for indigenous students.



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Media Centre

Media Release

Strengthening Early Childhood Education for Indigenous Students

4 August 2006

Today the Minister for Education, Science and Training, the Hon Julie Bishop MP, announced that the Australian Government has directed an additional $5 million in early childhood education to expand initiatives for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“This extra $5million funding is available over three years through the Parent School Partnerships Initiative programme, taking the total funding to $86 million, with a focus on early childhood initiatives,” Minister Bishop said.

“The Government is committed to supporting Indigenous parents help their children make a smooth transition from pre-school to school. Research has shown that early childhood is a critical period for the physical, emotional, intellectual and social development of children. Investing in early childhood education generates significant benefits for the child, family and the community as a whole.”

“While the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children enrolled in preschool has been rising in recent years, around half of eligible 4 year old Indigenous children are not enrolled.”

“I encourage preschools, Indigenous parents and communities to work together and take advantage of this important opportunity.”

“Initiatives will focus on strong partnerships between Indigenous parents and early childhood educators. To focus on children with the greatest need, it is expected that about half of the funding will be targeted at Indigenous children in remote areas.”

“Last month, I and my state and territory counterparts developed a landmark plan which will eventually see Indigenous children nationally gain access to two years of quality early childhood education before their first year of schooling. I have also commissioned research into the characteristics of quality early childhood education for Indigenous children.”

Applications will close on 29 September 2006.

For more information preschools can phone their local Indigenous Education Unit on 1800 800 821.

Media Contacts: Minister Bishop’s Office: Tory Vidler 0414 228 727 Dept of Education, Science & Training: Media Unit 02 6240 7300