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Educational institutions for children aged 0-4 years are structured, play-based learning programs delivered by degree-qualified teachers for children in the years leading up to full-time schooling1. Preschool participation increases school readiness, which is associated with better ongoing educational attainment and achievement as well as life outcomes more generally2-4. Children from disadvantaged families are less likely to be enrolled in preschool and tend to have lower attendance rates5.

Given the association between educational attainment and health outcomes across the lifespan, preschool participation levels can be used as an early indicator of child development and vulnerability to poor health outcomes. Therefore, it can be utilised by policy makers to reveal where children may be at risk of having poorer outcomes and to allocate resources and services to areas where they may be required to ensure healthy child development.


  1. Australian Bureau of statistics [Internet]. Canberra ACT. Preschool Education, Australia, 2016, cat. no. 4240.0 [Internet]. ABS. 2017 Feb 2 [cited 29 May 2018]. Available from:
  2. Rosier K, McDonald M. Promoting positive education and care transitions for children. Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies; 2011 Nov [cited 2018 Jun 11]. Available from:
  3. Hertzman C, Power C, Matthews S, Manor O. Using an interactive framework of society and life course to explain self-rated health in early adulthood. Social Science & Medicine, 2001; 53(12):1575-85. Available from:
  4. Davies S, Janus M, Duku E, Gaskin A. Using the Early Development Instrument to examine cognitive and non-cognitive school readiness and elementary student achievement. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 2016; 35:63-75. Available from:
  5. Commissioner for Children and Young People. “It’s like a big circle trap.” Discussion paper on children and young people’s vulnerability. [Internet]. CCYP. March 2018 [cited 26 June 2018]. Available from:

Data Source 

Compiled by Telethon Kids Institute based on Australian Bureau of Statistics, ABS 1410.0 - Data by Region


Children attending preschool program for 15 hours or more


Total enrolled in a preschool program (4 & 5 year olds)

Unit of Measure 

Per cent (%)



Data Confidentiality

The ABS applies small random adjustments to all cell values to protect the confidentiality of data. These adjustments may cause the sum of rows or columns to differ by small amounts from the table totals.