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Children As Young As Three To Start School In New Pilot Program

Australian children as young as three-years-old will be starting school as part of a new initiative that is tipped to overhaul early learning.

The Queensland Government announced the launch of the $2.2 million pilot program on Sunday, with hopes the initiative will give youngsters a taste of school life.

A total of 40 schools across the state will trial the 12-month KindyLinQ program from early next year, with children from selected "priority locations" able to sign up for free.

The focus will be on learning through play, with six-hour sessions combining indoor and outdoor experiences and storytelling, music and rhymes.

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“This is about creating links for three years olds, so they get comfortable and understand the school environment … particularly children that don’t have a history of going to kindy in the family,” Tourism Minister Kate Jones said on Sunday.

Education Minister Grace Grace said the program would help support young children in their transition to kindy and then into Prep.

“For many, Kindy can initially be a daunting step-up and we want all our children to get a great start,” Grace said.

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The program has already been welcomed by some early childhood education experts.

Professor Susan Danby from the Queensland University of Technology said hands-on learning experiences are the “building blocks” for young minds.

“To start young, and engage in these practices, is really, really important – and to engage families as well” Danby said.

As part of the program, parents and caregivers will be welcome to participate in the sessions with their children.

"We want families to access this fantastic program to build their confidence as their child’s first teacher and giving them vital tips that they can use at home," the Education Minister said.

A specialist teaching team, including school principals, qualified teachers and early years support coordinators, will oversee the sessions which are set to kick-off at the beginning of next year.

Of the 40 participating schools, 25 have already been announced with another 15 set to be added to the program later in the year.