Early Childhood Education

The Department, through the Early Childhood Education Directorate, administers several programs and funding streams designed to meet the goals of the National Partnership Agreements on Universal Access to Early Childhood Education and the National Quality Agenda.

The Directorate regulates the operation of approximately 5,500 ECE services for children from birth to school age across the state.

NSW 2017/18 Budget: Start Strong Funding extended

June 9, 2017

To ensure affordability is not a barrier for families with young children, the NSW Government has allocated an additional $217 million in funding over four years to 2021 to support universal access to early childhood education.

This builds on the success of the Government's Start Strong initiative, announced in 2016. 

The Start Strong reforms link needs-based funding to 600 hours of  enrolment in quality early childhood education in the year before school, aiming to encourage increased levels of participation by all eligible children.

Through Start Strong, funding is targeted to the children who need it most, across the community preschool and long day care sectors.  The extended program also ensures Aboriginal and disadvantaged children will continue to receive additional support for two years in the year before school. 

The NSW Government's 2017-18 budget ensures that every child in NSW participates in a quality early childhood education program in the year before school.

We know investing in the early years is one of the most important actions governments can take to build a more prosperous future for our society.

Read the media release for more information.

Fostering Effective Early Learning: Literature Review

May 26, 2017

Available evidence, both locally and internationally, shows that access to quality early childhood education is consistently a major factor influencing developmental, learning and social abilities. The quality of  interactions with educators, including their sensitivity, responsiveness and relationships with the children all have a significant impact.

The Fostering Effective Early Learning Study, launched by the NSW Government in late 2015, has delivered a Literature Review highlighting the importance of quality teaching practice in early childhood education and outlining the key elements of the best practice professional development used in the Study.

The Fostering Effective Early Learning Study is a world-first to explore how specific early childhood teaching practices improve a child's learning outcomes. It is led by the University of Wollongong's specialist research centre Early Start and esteemed researcher Professor Iram Siraj from the University of London. Initial findings are due later this year.

For more information on the Study read the Trials Journal Article

Download the Literature Review (PDF 4.6 MB)

Measles outbreak in western Sydney

April 6, 2017

NSW Health has advised the department of a measles outbreak in south western and western Sydney, with at least nine people having acquired the disease in the region during March 2017, including infants and children.

What to do


For more information

Start Strong: Funding boost for early childhood education

Starting in 2017, community preschools across the state who enrol children for at least 600 hours in the year before school will receive increased subsidies from the NSW Government.

Under the Start Strong program, these new preschool funding rates will go to a maximum of $6,600 for the most disadvantaged children per year. These rate increases are in addition to the NSW Government's $150 million Preschool Funding Model introduced in 2014, which supports the important role community preschools play in supporting children's learning and development in the year before school.

For more information go to Start Strong.

Parent Awareness Campaign - "It Makes You Think"

The "It Makes You Think" campaign promotes the benefits of participating in early childhood education via the interactive website www.startstrong.nsw.edu.au.

For further information visit: Parent Awareness Campaign.

Changes to NQF from October 2017

The Australian, state and territory education Ministers have agreed to changes to the National Quality Framework (NQF) following a review of the National Partnership Agreement on the National Quality Agenda (NQA) for Early Childhood Education.
The changes are outlined in a Decision Regulation Impact Statement (DRIS), available on the Education Council website. The DRIS provides an analysis of the regulatory impacts of changes to the NQF and stakeholder views. 
The NQA Review commenced in 2014 to determine if the goals of the NQF to improve the quality of education and care in Australia are being met in the most efficient and effective way. 

Proposed options for changes to the NQF were tested with the sector, families and communities. Overall the review found the NQF is an important and successful reform with strong stakeholder support, and some technical and operational improvements are required after five years of operation. 
More information about the changes can be found on the  Changes to the NQF page.

Urgent recall - EpiPens

March 21, 2017

The Department of Education has been informed of an urgent recall of EpiPens, which are used for the treatment of allergic emergencies (anaphylaxis).

Visit TGA's website for more information on the recall, and how to return and exchange any affected EpiPens: http://www.tga.gov.au/alert/epipen-300-microgram-adrenaline-injection-syringe-auto-injector

What to do

  • Check whether the EpiPens at your early childhood centre are from the recalled batches.
  • Inform parents and carers of this recall, and encourage them to check whether EpiPens in their homes are part of the recall.
  • Check the TGA website regularly for any additional information

National Quality Framework review

Feedback provided through the public consultation process into the 2014 review of the National Quality Framework was incorporated into the development of a Regulation Impact Statement (RIS).  This RIS was released for consultation in September 2014.  This consultation period has now closed.  

New logos have recently been designed by ACECQA, in collaboration with State and Territory regulatory authorities and the Australian Government, to support services to promote their overall service rating to families and the community. Use or display of the logos is voluntary and does not replace the ratings certificate that all assessed and rated services must display. 

Services awarded an overall rating of Working Towards, Meeting or Exceeding the National Quality Standard (NQS) can request their NQS rating logo through the national registers located on the ACECQA website.

The quality ratings on the national registers will update approximately two weeks after the service receives its final assessment and rating report. This is to allow for the 14 day period in which a review of the quality ratings can be requested. The service's rating logo will be made available at this time.

It is an offence under the Education and Care Services National Regulations to falsely represent a services NQS rating. If you have any questions about the usage of the NQS rating logos, please contact ACECQA.  

To find out more information about the new NQS rating logos, please visit the ACECQA website.

Family Day Care Fact Sheets Now Available in Community Languages

Family Day Care approved providers and educators can now access a series of fact sheets in community languages provided by the Commonwealth Department of Education.  These facts sheets assist individuals to understand their responsibilities and obligations as a family day care provider and/or educator, how to comply with family assistance law and provide information on where to go for support or further information.

The eleven community languages include Amharic, Arabic, Assyrian, Dari, Dinka, French, Hazaragi, Nuer, Somali, Sudanese, and Swahili. These are now available from the Commonwealth Department of Education's website.

Preschool Disability Support Program for 2016

The Department of Education and Northcott are streamlining and refining the application process for the Preschool Disability Support Program (PDSP) for 2016.

The application process will be clearer, simpler and more efficient. Applications will be through two funding rounds for 2016:

  • Main round applications will open on 12 October 2015 and close on 06 November 2015 and be made through the PDSP portal.
  • Second round applications will open on 25 April 2016 and close on 20 May 2016 through the PDSP portal.
  • For any child to be eligible for funding in 2016, an application must be submitted in either October 2015 or April 2016, regardless of whether they are currently receiving PDSP funding or not.

Advice to parents on childcare deposits

Parents considering paying a deposit to secure a place at a childcare centre or preschool should read the contract carefully.  NSW Fair Trading says grievances about education and childcare deposits have doubled from 2013 to 2014.

Mandatory reporting reminder

Providers need to ensure that all staff members are fully aware of their responsibilities as mandatory reporters.  If a staff member working in any type of service has reason to believe that a child is at risk of significant harm, this must be reported to the Child Protection Helpline on 133627 as soon as practicable.

Child protection training reminder

Providers have a legal requirement to ensure that the nominated supervisor of a service and any certified supervisor in day to day charge of a service has successfully completed a course in child protection that has been approved by NSW DEC.

Mobile Preschools

ECED will be working closely with the Mobile Children's Services Association to assist mobile preschools, that meet the definition of a mobile preschool, move to 'opt in' fixed term contracts in 2016.

Transition to School Statement

The Minister for Education, in 2014, announced the release of the NSW Transition to School Statement, a new tool designed to support children moving from early childhood education to formal schooling. Further information is available on the Transition to School website.

Anaphylaxis Guidelines

ECECD has published new Anaphylaxis Guidelines for Early Childhood Education and Care Services. 

Productivity Commission Inquiry into Childcare and Early Learning

The Productivity Commission released the draft report of its Inquiry into Childcare and Early Learning on 22 July 2014 and submitted its Inquiry report to the Commonwealth Government on 31 October 2014.  

Operational Support Program

The Operational Support Program is designed to help eligible community preschools and mobile services adjust to the Preschool Funding Model and to build their capacity as sustainable organisations.

National Regulations

A number of amendments to the National Regulations (the Education and Care Services National Amendment Regulations 2013) (Amendment Regulation) came into effect on 1 June 2014The amendments are primarily aimed at reducing the regulatory burden on providers and services.


This site uses Google Translate, a free language translation service, as an aid. Please note translation accuracy will vary across languages.


The Early Childhood Extra looks at a range of issues relevant to the early childhood sector in NSW.  To view the current and previous issues of the newsletter or to subscribe, visit our Early Childhood Extra page.