The Start Strong 2023 program for long day care provides funding to deliver affordable quality preschool education to children aged 4 and above who are enrolled in eligible long day care services in NSW.
From 2023, fee relief for families announced as “Affordable Preschool” in the context of the NSW Government’s Early Years Commitment will be integrated into Start Strong and provide long day care services with sustainable long-term funding to deliver more affordable preschool to eligible children.
Start Strong for long day care funding is provided for children in the year or two before school and supports enrolment of at least 600 hours per year. Evidence shows that this level of participation in a quality early childhood education program in the two years before school is associated with better outcomes for children.
Approved Providers which are listed on the Australian Government's Child Care Subsidy System (CCSS), and regulated under the National Quality Framework, may be eligible to receive Start Strong funding.
To be considered eligible for funding under Start Strong, a provider’s (referred to as an Approved Provider) service must:
- have a service approval to operate under the Education and Care Services National Law Act 2010 (National Law) and either:
- operate as a centre-based service and have checked the long day care Nature of Care field under Service Details on the National Quality Agenda IT System (NQAITS), or
- be a Multifunctional Aboriginal Children’s Service (MACS) and can provide supporting documents for delivering an early childhood education program based on the Early Years Learning Framework.
deliver a quality early childhood education program to children aged 4 and above, that is:
- delivered by a qualified early childhood teacher in accordance with the requirements under the National Quality Framework, and
- using the Early Years Learning Framework
- be operating and reporting through CCSS between May 2022 and early 2023.
Child Eligibility Criteria
To be eligible for funding under Start Strong, a child will need to be:
- at least 4 years old on, or before, 31 July 2023;
- attending an eligible early childhood education program;
- listed on CCSS; and
- not yet in compulsory schooling.
The Approved Provider must spend the Program Payment funds allocated to each service to:
- pay salary and wages for early childhood teachers and educators delivering the quality early childhood education program;
- purchase functional or educational resources (excluding capital works projects) for the benefit of all children aged 4 and above;
- develop a quality early childhood education program based on the Early Years Learning Framework (PDF 703KB)External link, including associated staffing costs;
- develop staff, including upgrading qualifications from a certificate to a diploma and/or a diploma to a 4-year degree and associated staffing costs, traineeships, study leave, course fees and backfilling of staff undertaking career development;
- attract and retain early childhood teachers and educators, including advertising early childhood teacher and educator positions and bonuses for retention or recognition of length of service and experience;
- wellbeing supports for early childhood teachers and early childhood educators; or
- any combination of the above.
The full amount of Program Payment funding should be expended for those purposes and targeted to benefit children aged 4 and above in 2023.
Transition to School Statement
Completion of the Transition to School Statement is a mandatory requirement under Start Strong for children in the year before they commence Kindergarten.
The Transition to School Statement provides a snapshot of a child’s strengths, interests, needs and approaches to learning to support their effective transition to Kindergarten. A positive transition from early childhood education and care to Kindergarten helps improve children’s educational and social outcomes.
The child’s early childhood teacher or educator must complete the Transition to School Statement and provide it to the child’s parents/carers and new school before the commencement of the school year. This is to facilitate learning continuity and to help link the Early Years Learning Framework to the Early Stage 1 Syllabus.
Teachers and educators can complete the Transition to School Digital Statement via the department’s digital platform as the preferred method. Copies of Transition to School Statements must be retained for funding compliance purposes.
For more detailed information and funding guidelines: 2023 Start Strong Guidelines