NATURE OF PRESCHOOL PROGRAM DELIVERY BY STATE AND TERRITORY
The nature and delivery of preschool programs across states and territories differs significantly and are largely based on historical and legislative environments. For this reason, state and territory departments responsible for Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) may not be required to collect data from all preschool programs within their jurisdiction, as they may not fund, register, regulate or supply the program.
Long day care (LDC) centres may also be delivering preschool programs that align with the definition for the National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection (the Collection). However, for the purposes of a jurisdictional collection, these programs may not be recognised as a preschool program, or considered outside of jurisdictional scope, if they are not funded, regulated or licensed by the relevant state or territory education department. Despite this, these LDCs are still considered to be within the scope of the Collection.
This section provides an outline of the state and territory preschool delivery models, including terminology and age entry requirements. This section also provides an outline for the role and work activities of early childhood education workers delivering a preschool program.
LEGISLATION AND LICENSING
This section broadly outlines the nature of preschool delivery for each state and territory, including relevant information on legislation requirements and licensing arrangements that were in effect at the time of the Collection in August 2013. The regulatory arrangements including Acts and Regulations within each state and territory for LDC centres may have changed with the introduction of the National Quality Framework in January 2012, and these changes may have impacted service providers involved in the 2013 Collection.
This section will provide an overview of the management arrangements for preschool delivery within each state or territory. The content presented aligns with the sector classifications published within Preschool Education, Australia, 2013 (cat. no. 4240.0). In some instances the sectors have been collapsed within the tables presented, however expanded data may be available from the ABS by request.
Broadly, the sector classifications are presented as 'Preschool' and 'Long Day Care'. Within the ‘Preschool’ activity type, the management arrangements are explained in terms of government and non-government managed. The distinction between Preschool and LDC are as follows.
A preschool delivers a preschool program in a stand-alone facility or is co-located or integrated as part of a school. A preschool provides structured educational programs to children in the year or two before they commence full-time schooling. Government preschools include those managed by state and territory and local governments, or by state and territory government schools. Non-government preschools include those operated by private for-profit organisations, private not-for-profit organisations (community managed and other organisations), Independent schools and Catholic schools.
Long Day Care
A LDC is a centre-based form of child care service providing all-day or part-time care for children. Included in these care services may be the delivery by a qualified teacher of a preschool program. LDCs primarily provide care services for children aged 0-5 years, though children of older ages may also be attending. LDCs are primarily operated by for-profit and not-for-profit organisations, local councils, community organisations and employers, and are usually provided by a mix of qualified and non-qualified staff. The service may operate from stand-alone or shared premises, including those on school grounds. A LDC service provider may have multiple preschool programs being delivered through different management structures. For example, a government managed preschool and a community managed LDC program (considered preschool by the Collection definition) can operate within the same service provider.