Universal Pre-Kindergarten Pilots

In 2023, the Department of Education is taking the next steps with early childhood education and care (ECEC) services and providers to design and trial elements of the universal pre-Kindergarten year.

A series of pilots will be run with approved ECEC services and providers across NSW to explore and trial key features of universal pre-Kindergarten. This will inform the best models for pre-Kindergarten in NSW.

The initial pilot locations for 2023 are Mount Druitt, Wagga Wagga, Kempsey-Nambucca and Bourke-Cobar-Coonamble.

This is just the start of the journey towards the full implementation of universal pre-Kindergarten by 2030.

2023 universal pre-kindergarten pilots: Mt Druitt, Wagga Wagga, Kempsey-Nambucca and Bourke-Cobar-Coonamble

Eligible ECEC services and providers in Mt Druitt, Wagga Wagga, Kempsey-Nambucca and Bourke-Cobar-Coonamble are invited to work with us to design and trial of universal pre-Kindergarten, and can now apply to participate in pilots in early 2023.

The 4 locations have been selected using available data to capture the diverse needs of children, families and communities across metropolitan, inner regional, outer regional and remote NSW.

Expressions of Interest (EOI) are now open to approved ECEC services and providers in the four locations, to take part in this exciting opportunity.

Applications via SmartyGrants will close on 16 December 2022.

The eligibility and assessment criteria contained in the 2023 Universal pre Kindergarten pilot guidelines should be carefully considered before an EOI is submitted.

2023 Universal pre-Kindergarten pilot guidelines

The universal pre Kindergarten pilot guidelines for 2023 are now available.

EOI application support

Interested services and providers are invited to attend upcoming webinar sessions to ask any questions about the EOI process.

Please register to attend your community's webinar session:

Pilot stages

Eligible ECEC services and providers in Mt Druitt, Wagga Wagga, Kempsey-Nambucca and Bourke-Cobar-Coonamble can now apply to participate in pilots in 2023, with Expressions of Interest open until 16 December 2022.

Services will be informed of the EOI outcome by early 2023.

Successful applicants will be invited to engage in design workshops, interviews or other interactive activities in early 2023.

Dates and locations for these events will be shared with successful applicants.

Through the pilots, additional support will be available to participating early childhood education and care services and approved providers, including funds to support early childhood teachers and educators to engage in the design stage.

Successful applicants will trial key elements of universal pre-Kindergarten, exploring what works for their community and how the needs of local children can be met by pre-Kindergarten.

During this stage, successful applicants will work with the department to select and trial elements of universal pre-Kindergarten.

Services will opt-in to trial one or more of the following features:

  • Transition to school
  • Increased attendance beyond 600 hours per year or 15 hours per week
  • Extending the hours of operation beyond 7.5 hours
  • Making universal pre-Kindergarten work for every child
  • Implementing the Early Years Learning Framework in a pre-Kindergarten context.

There will be funds available to support early childhood teachers and educators with trialling pre-Kindergarten features.

More information on the trial stage will be shared with successful applicants.

Department of Education preschools

Department of Education preschools will be contacted directly with information on how they can express their interest to participate in the pilots.

The funding amounts, spending rules and assessment process for Department of Education preschools will be comparable.

Department of Education preschools do not need to submit their expression of interests on Smarty Grants.

Find more information and a guidance document on the Department preschools webpage.

Department preschools should contact the Early Learning earlylearning@det.nsw.edu.au or phone – 1300 083 698 with any questions.

Ongoing conversations and future work

The department is having ongoing conversations with the ECEC sector, schools, families and communities to create the best models for pre-Kindergarten that meets the needs of all children in NSW.

Learnings from the first phase of pilots next year will guide future design and trial work that will be considered for 2024.

The department will work closely with communities to determine future locations and approaches for pilots.

More information

Please contact the ECED Information & Enquiries team 1800 619 113 or email the Universal Pre-Kindergarten team prekindergarten@det.nsw.edu.au.

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