The department operates 100 preschools with 133 classes across NSW. 61 preschools are located in the Sydney metropolitan area and 39 are in regional and rural areas. 11 of these preschools are designated specifically for Aboriginal children and another 13 are in Aboriginal communities or in schools where there is a significantly high number of Aboriginal students enrolled.
It is the department's intent that preschools provide:
- for the most disadvantaged children in the local community
- universal access to high-quality early childhood education in the year prior to school.
Preschools provide secure, positive and stimulating learning environments to ensure 'all children make a strong start in life and learning and make a successful transition to school' (DoE Strategic Plan 2018-2022).
Universal Access to early childhood education ensures that every child can participate in a quality preschool program in the year before school. Programs are to be delivered by a qualified early childhood teacher for 15 hours per week or 600 hours per year, with a focus on Aboriginal, vulnerable or disadvantaged children.
Early childhood educators in our preschools implement high-quality play-based educational programs. These respond to the abilities and interests of each child and provide a balance of child initiated and adult initiated learning experiences to promote wellbeing and development.