FIGHTING CHANGES: Clunes Community Preschool director Melinda Gambley (front centre) and parent Kylie Johnston (front left with daughter Evie) are joined by fellow staff, parents and children in their concern over planned cuts to student subsidies.
FIGHTING CHANGES: Clunes Community Preschool director Melinda Gambley (front centre) and parent Kylie Johnston (front left with daughter Evie) are joined by fellow staff, parents and children in their concern over planned cuts to student subsidies. Cathy Adams

Parents see red over cut

PARENTS and staff of Clunes Community Preschool are seeing red over funding changes that could see many three-year-olds miss out on a vital early childhood education.

Yesterday they also wore red in support of childcare workers and parents who protested the changes outside State Parliament.

From 2014, the O'Farrell government has proposed funding changes to encourage more four- and five-year-olds to attend preschool, with subsidies cut for most three-year-olds.

Clunes Community Preschool director Melinda Gambley said the changes could result in $10,000 of lost subsidies annually and raise fees.

"This could see fees for three-year-olds rise to more than $60 a day, dependent on the individual preschool," she said.

Ms Gambley said young children learned life skills, social skills and a love of learning at preschool.

"If the children have developmental issues or need some support, there is not enough time for that to happen once they have turned four."

Mother-of-three Kylie Johnston, of Eureka, said one year of preschool would not have prepared her five-year-old Evie for school next year.

"In these formative years you can't quantify the impact early childhood education can have in preparation for school," she said.

NSW Education Minister Adrian Picolli said the proposed funding changes followed a report by Professor Deborah Brennan in which she estimated 30,000 NSW children were missing out on an early childhood education.

"The new system would see government funding for community preschools targeted at children in the year prior to school but also three-year-old children who are from disadvantaged families," he said.

Mr Picolli said extra funding would be provided to preschools that received less money under the new model.



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