Almost nine out of 10 four year olds and two in 10 five year olds were enrolled in a preschool program in 2016, according to a report published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
ABS spokesperson Michelle Marquardt said across the nation in 2016, there were 344,676 children aged four or five years enrolled in a preschool program (also known as an early childhood education program).
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children made up 5% (16,598) of this total.
“Of the children enrolled in a preschool program in 2016, 43% were enrolled in preschools and 51% in long day care (LDC) centres,” Michelle said.
“Service delivery models vary between states and territories and this is reflected in the data. For instance, in Queensland and NSW there were more children enrolled in LDCs than preschools (71% and 65% respectively), meanwhile in Western Australia 80% of children were enrolled in preschools.”
The attendance rate for enrolled children aged four or five years was 96% nationally, with the highest rates of attendance in South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory (98%).
Marquardt said almost a quarter of all children enrolled were in preschool programs that were fee free in 2016, while over half were enrolled in programs with low out of pocket costs (between $1 to $4 per hour). The majority of children enrolled in a preschool program in South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, and the Northern Territory were in fee free places.