Free health and development checks for preschoolers
A media release from Deputy Premier and Minister for Education and Early Learning Prue Car.
25 September 2023
More families will soon gain crucial insights into how their children are tracking before they begin school under a new government program providing health and development checks for preschoolers.
The NSW Department of Education and NSW Health are working together to deliver the program, which will make the free checks accessible to all four-year-olds attending participating ECEC services, including public preschools, community preschools and long day care centres.
Health professionals from local health districts will work with early childhood services to book in the checks, which look at how children’s physical and cognitive development, social and emotional development, speech and communication skills are tracking.
The program also aims to increase the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children developmentally on track in all five Australian Early Development Census domains to 55 per cent by 2031, in line with Closing the Gap Target 4.
Local Health Districts (LHDs) will work with ECEC services to implement the program, taking into consideration local community and cultural needs.
Starting this month, the program will roll out in a small number of early childhood education centres across six LHDs: South Eastern Sydney, South Western Sydney, Illawarra Shoalhaven, Hunter New England, Mid North Coast, and Nepean Blue Mountains.
By the end of 2023, implementation of the program will be under way in almost all local health districts across NSW, and it will be available statewide by the end of 2024.
The Minns Labor Government is investing $111.2 million over four years into the program. Find out more by visiting health.nsw.gov.au/ececchecks.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Education and Early Learning Prue Car said:
“We want to support long-term health and development outcomes for all children across NSW, regardless of their family’s postcode, income or circumstances.
“These important checks are intended to support families to give every child in NSW the best possible start to life. We know the first few years of life are some of the most important for a child’s long-term health and development.
“This is why we are investing in this important program to help identify and address health and development issues or delays early on.”
NSW Minister for Health and Regional Health Ryan Park said:
“Health and early childhood education providers working together with families will make the delivery of these health and development checks within local early learning settings a reality.
“No state government agency can do this vital work alone. When professionals coordinate their efforts to partner with parents and carers to provide children with the best possible support, we will see improved outcomes for children.
- Ministerial media releases