Publication Date



Preschool education


ACER Policy Briefs


Early childhood education (ECE) in Australia will soon experience a ‘radical makeover.’ In 2008, all Australian governments made a commitment through the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) that by 2013, all children in the year before formal schooling will have access to high quality early childhood education programs delivered by degreequalified early childhood teachers, for 15 hours per week, 40 weeks of the year, in public, private and community-based preschools and child care. The purpose of this policy brief is to summarise the current structure of preschool in Australia in contemplation of this major policy shift. This paper describes the context in which the COAG commitment will be implemented, including: • The current organisation of, and participation in, preschool education in Australia; • The different regulations governing different types of preschool in Australia; • The apparent under-supply of degree-qualified ECE teachers in Australia; • The contentious debate over curriculum and assessment that is currently occurring amongst preschool practitioners; and • The urgent need for better data about preschools in Australia.