Playing around has its benefits for young children
KAREN Amadio knows the importance of play.
As director of Ngallingee Jarjum Tabulam and District Preschool and a 35 year veteran of the child care industry, that is one area where she has seen children develop and benefit under her care.
"All the learning happens through play," she said.
"(In days gone by) there were templates and everyone had to do the same thing, but now (letting children free play) is far more creative.
"They don't need to be told what to create or do."
Ms Amadio said the benefits of an early education before school are numerous.
"We can pick up if they need support in developmental areas," she said.
"We help them develop their social skills where they can relate to adults outside the family.
"Much of their play time has underlying maths and literacy concepts."
With all that in mind, the NSW Department of Education has announced a new project that aims to help more families put their children into early education before school.
The department has released a funding boost of $115 million to encourage more parents to enroll their children in early childhood education for 600 hours per year.
This program is called Start Strong and the main aim is to make childhood education more affordable for NSW families, while also removing nearly all fees for children from Aboriginal and low-income families at preschools.
Hot on the heels of the Start Strong $115 million funding boost to early childhood, a new parental awareness campaign aims to educate NSW families on the lifelong benefits of early education.
Minister for Early Childhood Education Leslie Williams said the goal of the campaign is to give parents the facts, so they can make better and more informed decisions for their young child's educational needs.
"A child needs a great parent, and a great teacher. Many do not know that a preschool program, whether it's in a dedicated preschool or through long day care, provides the foundation for your children's future health, happiness, growth, development and learning achievements at school and in life," she said.
"This platform will give parents eye-opening facts, debunk myths and go deep into a child's brain to show them what makes them think."
Facts about children:
- 90% of brain development happens before the age 5.
- Kids who participate in early childhood education are more likely to have an IQ score higher than 90 at age five.
- Preschool puts disadvantaged children at a level playing field with other children.
- In the first 3-5 years, there is a dramatic growth spurt, as approximately 90-95%% of cells organise and create pathways to more sophisticated brain functions.
- A child's brain undergoes an amazing period of development from birth to three - producing 700 new neural connections every second.
- Language development in children is amazing. Young children have a unique ability to learn more languages easily and their vocabulary often quadruples between the ages of two and four
Parents are encouraged to call their local pre-school for further information, and to find out how to benefit from the new initiative from the NSW Department of Education.