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Monday, 24 March 2014
Page: 2800

Mr WILLIAMS (Hindmarsh) (13:58): I recently visited Stepping Stone childcare centre at Kidman Park in my electorate which educates around 150 children. I want to congratulate the 40 loyal and hardworking staff on the positive learning environment they have created at this centre.

I had the pleasure of hosting the Assistant Minister for Education, Sussan Ley, and she interacted brilliantly with the staff, children, management and directors of the centre. The directors were interested to know about the government's approach and funding for professional development in early childhood education.

Still on early childhood development, it was interesting to hear the views of Professor Ted Melhuish from the University of Oxford at a briefing for MPs. He talked about language development and the quality of care being so important in the first three years of a child's life. Studies in Northern Ireland and England show that high-quality preschool improves English and maths.

The coalition's investment in professional development is a step in the right direction. It is the single biggest investment ever in professional development for child care and early learning educators. The program will also guarantee $30 million towards additional training and support for educators working with vulnerable and disadvantaged children, who have the most to gain from access to quality early learning experiences.

The SPEAKER: In accordance with standing order 43, the time for member's statements has concluded.