Unpacking and unpicking the challenge of 600 hours of preschool attendance

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The Australian Government’s (2022) Preschool Reform Funding Agreement and initiatives by state governments aim to lift enrolment and maximise the benefits of early childhood education (ECE) in the year before school. The Agreement is particularly relevant for children and families from vulnerable and disadvantaged backgrounds, many of whom do not utilise the annual attendance target of 600 hours available to every child. Children’s enrolment and daily attendance records are key to understanding participation in ECE, but few studies or government reports have examined this information in detail. Drawing on administrative records provided by 19 long day care and preschool centres/schools in areas of socio-economic disadvantage, we analysed weekly attendance for 971 preschool-aged children over four 10-week terms. Results for the ‘percentage of enrolled days’ attended (M = 88%) and ‘total hours’ attended (M = 576 h) approached the target but differed for children enrolled in preschool versus long day care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-48
Number of pages17
JournalAustralasian Journal of Early Childhood
Issue number1
Early online date7 Dec 2023
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2023. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • early childhood education
  • early childhood education enrolment and attendance
  • early childhood education participation
  • long day care
  • preschool/kindergarten


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