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1972 to 2006 State Preschools


It is early 1970s and Australian politics has entered new territory. The Federal government has recently introduced funding for 'child care' and a right royal barney is underway about just what is to be considered a 'child care' program worthy of funding, and, whether sessional preschool/kindergarten programs should attract the new Federal child care funding. While this debate swirls around us, the Queensland Liberal Party is campaigning vigorously for 'free State preschool education' at a time when community kindergartens are in such heavy demand that waiting lists are growing at an unseemly rate.

In 1972 the Coalition wins the election and announces it is going to introduce free State preschool education, the Federal government agrees that child care funding can be used to do this, experts in early education are invited to visit and advise on policy and very soon the Queensland Department of Education has a huge building effort underway. In 1973 the first State Preschool Centres open with wide media acclamation and by the early 1980s there are over 350 State Preschool Centres and 131 Early Education Classes attached to small rural schools (Logan & Clarke 1984, p.20). Long waiting lists indicate the level of uptake among families.

There is international interest, especially in creative strategies used in the Preschool Correspondence Program for isolated children, including the SPAN playgroup concept that brought these isolated children and their families into contact, and, in the policy of a 'flat structure' where all but the ten or so senior staff in the Division of Preschool Education are expected to work as a team.

Such a flurry of excitement, such a bold initiative!

To read more about the three decades of this brave initiative that did so much for children and families in Queensland, look for the articles in each of the three Educating Young Children>i/> journals for 2006. The words above are taken from the first issue, an article by Gail Halliwell [also ECTA Web Weaver].

    Travel Buddy Records State Preschool Memories
    With the move to Prep next year, the following strategy developed by Di Gall represents an opportunity for teachers, children and communities to... 

    Sunbury SPSC first in Wide Bay region
    This report was written by Ruth Lightbody, Teacher-in-charge with the help of her Aides Nancy Gordon and Jill Downing. Sunbury State Preschool... 

    Crows Nest SPSC opens 1975

    Kin Kora SPSC in 1983

    Woodridge SPSC 1978

    Jamboree SPSC

    Toowoomba SPS Centres