The NSW Government has announced plans to introduce an extra year of education. 

The government says it will introduce a universal, pre-kindergarten year of play-based learning.

The state has made a $5.8 billion over 10 years pledge to offer five days per week of pre-kindergarten to every four-year-old by 2030.

The plan will require the creation of tens of thousands of early childhood education places, as well as adding new facilities to schools and expanding existing community pre-schools and long daycare centres.

Experts say that the first five years of a child’s life strongly predict how they will perform in school, but also their long-term health and their likelihood of involvement with the justice system. 

The pre-kindergarten year will not be compulsory, but the government says it might reconsider that if take-up is too low.

A pilot is set to begin next year. At first, families would have to pay, but eventually it will be free.

The government also says it will spend $376.5 million over four years to give children a full suite of developmental checks, and more than $280 million to train early childhood teachers and carers.