Our recent child care survey showed that 17% of parents say their child care service does not provide a formal pre-school numeracy and literacy curriculum, but this could be as high as 40% as 23% of parents weren't sure either way.
Children in Australia start school at least a year later than most other developed countries, with compulsory attendance from age 6, but we still don't have compulsory and guaranteed pre-school education for all. If preschool education is compulsory, it should be an effective program that can be delivered either in pre-schools (which do already exist, but just aren't used extensively), and in long day care and family day care programs by trained early childhood educators.
In some states pre-schools are run by the state and territory governments, but in Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales they are more often run by local councils, community groups or organisations, such as KU Children's Services.
Pre-school is offered to three to five-year-olds; attendance numbers vary widely between the states, but 85.7% of children attended pre-school the year before school. The year before a child is due to attend primary school is the main year for pre-school education. This year is far more commonly attended, and may take the form of a few hours of activity during weekdays.