Communities of parents, carers and early education advocates celebrated the news of major education reforms, announced yesterday by state premiers, Dominic Perrottet and Daniel Andrews.
Thanks to billions of dollars' worth of funding, children will have access to 30 hours per week of free play-based learning in the year before they start school.
While it will take a few years to become operational, it was exciting to see two state governments championing early education when research shows a child's brain is 90 per cent developed before they turn five.
Watch: Superwoman is dead. Post continues below.
As I digested the great news from this announcement and what it means for kids, I also began thinking about what it will mean for parents.
By making early education free for a year, it not only gives our kids the best start, but it removes a financial barrier that holds many mums back from re-entering the workforce.
But what about the other barriers we face, such as short school hours and a lack of flexibility in the workforce?
How will parents who work continue to deal with these challenges?
1. School hours are already an impossible juggle for working parents.
In February 2022, Dominic Perrottet hinted at changing school hours as part of a possible education reform.
"In my view, 9am until 3pm doesn't work," he said.
Dominic, I wholeheartedly agree.
With one son in year 6 and one in kindergarten, I will juggle school hours and their incompatibility with my working life for many years yet to come.
Our current school day and the length of school holidays remain the same as they did in the 1930s. Fitting into an era when most mums did not work outside the home and could walk kids to the local school while dad was at work.
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data from June 2021 shows that in almost 70 per cent of "couple families", both partners were working.