Parents warn: invest now or pay later

Bianca Urbina and children at The Channon Childrens Centre held a protest last Thursday calling for more funding for community-run preschools.

The parents are calling it pester power and the aim is to wear down the NSW Government and get an increase in the amount of funding to the states 800 community-run preschools.

Children are quick to make a big noise about something they dont think is fair so were doing the same, said Bianca Urbina, parent and chief pesterer for the grassroots Childrens Choice campaign group, which held a Red Day of Action last Thursday at local preschools, including The Channon Childrens Centre.

The message to the NSW Government is clear. The money promised under the Preschool Investment and Reform Plan is a step in the right direction, but at the end of the day it just doesnt measure up and parents are finding it harder and harder to afford services.

We just want a fair go, and we want to say to the government, thanks for the money, but its not enough, said Bianca. The amount of money they are promising might keep the doors of the preschool open but it wont keep the fees down. When all the funding has come through, NSW families will still be paying the highest preschool fees in Australia. Consequently, there will be children who will miss out because their parents cant afford the fees, and thats just not good enough.

Research clearly shows that children who have access to early childhood education develop social, literacy and numeracy skills that prepare them for school and give them a vital head start in life.

NSW has the lowest preschool participation rate in the country 59 per cent compared to 96 per cent nationally and the supporters of Childrens Choice believe it is the governments responsibility to ensure equal access to early childhood education for all NSW children.

Community preschools are absolutely vital, said Bianca. They are for the community and run by committed childcare workers who are dedicated to educating the communitys children. The government needs to realise it is ignoring the future of the country. Thats why our slogan is invest now or pay later.

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