Children Enrolled in Preschool
The proportion of children who are enrolled in a preschool program in the year before fulltime schooling.
What do we measure?
The proportion of children, as a percentage of the estimated resident population, enrolled in an early childhood education program in the year before full-time schooling. Also presented is the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in the ACT who were enrolled in an early childhood education program in the year before full-time schooling.
Why is this important?
Early childhood education is one of the important learning experiences for children. It provides a rich environment to facilitate the development of children's language, social, emotional, motor, cognitive and independence skills. It also assists with children's school readiness and transition to full-time schooling. Early school experiences can have a lasting impact on a person's attitude to education and training and confidence in their learning abilities.26
Participation in quality early learning programs has significant benefits for young children because it makes the most of their heightened ability to absorb information and acquire skills.
Children who have accessed quality, structured early learning are more likely to make a successful transition to school, stay longer in school, continue on to further education and fully participate in employment and community life as adults.
The National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection (the Collection) has been established to provide nationally comparable statistics on early childhood education and care (ECEC). The collection also enables improvements in the quality and accessibility of national ECEC data and assists in the progress reporting for the National Partnership Agreement on Universal Access to Early Childhood Education. Under this agreement, the parties committed to maintaining universal access to quality early childhood program for all children in the year before full-time school for 600 hours per year, delivered by a qualified early childhood teacher who met National Quality Framework (NQF) requirements, with a focus on participation by vulnerable and disadvantaged children.
Information concerning the various types of early childhood education and care services available in the ACT can be found on the Education Directorate website.
How is the ACT Progressing?
Table 14: Children aged four or five years, enrolled in a preschool program in the ACT, 2013-17
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children
Source: ABS, Preschool Education, Australia, 2017, cat. no. 4240.0. Australian Demographic Statistics: Estimated Resident population by single year of age, Australian Capital Territory (cat. no. 3101.0) Estimates and Projections, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 2001-26, cat. No. 3238.0.
In August 2017, a total of 7,064 children aged four or five years were enrolled in the year before full-time schooling in at least one quality early childhood education program provided through public schools, Catholic schools, independent schools and long day care centres (LDC), representing 124 per cent of the estimated preschool age population.
There were 153 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children enrolled in an early childhood education program in public schools, Catholic schools and independent schools including LDCs as at August 2017.
These proportions are greater than 100 per cent due to the population of children being an estimate, and also due to enrolments of children living in New South Wales.
26 ACT Government 2016, A Picture of Children and Young People in the ACT 2016