New vouchers to ease the cost of creative classes
PARENTS of children who learn music, a language or drama are now eligible for a $100 rebate for every school-age child.
After helping sporty families save on expensive registration costs, the state government is encouraging mums and dads to apply for Creative Kids vouchers to help more children expand their minds.
And while many parents are expected to use the vouchers on traditional cultural pursuits, they can also be redeemed on a range of quirky activities including parkour, synchronised swimming and circus arts.
There is a big focus on getting kids into technology, with coding, virtual reality and graphic design included on the list of eligible activities.
All activities must be delivered outside the school curriculum, with 420 providers already on board across NSW and more than 3000 expected by mid-year. Parents can use one Creative Kids voucher per child each year.
Creative Kids takes its lead from the hugely successful Active Kids program, in which families claimed $54.3 million on kids' sports vouchers last year.
Families can still use one Active Kids voucher per child per year as well as the new Creative Kids voucher.
Finance Minister Victor Dominello said involvement in cultural learning activities was "critical to a child's growth and development".
But the enrolment costs all add to the family budget and can be prohibitive," he said.
"The state government recognises that cost of living is a major issue for families, and because of our strong budget position, we are proud to be providing this extra assistance for children to participate in these valuable creative and cultural programs."
Blue Mountains mother-of-two Tanya Boyd, 42, has already downloaded Creative Kids vouchers for her children Gabrielle, 11, and Alex, 10. Both play the piano and are involved in drama.
"It will definitely help bring down the cost (of activities) but we see the value … because it reflects in their performance at school, their focus, their grades," Ms Boyd said.
"I recently started my daughter in drama because she was very shy and timid starting school.
"She's a lot more confident now talking to people, especially adults, so that really helps."
Mr Dominello said the launch of Creative Kids coincided with the start of the school year, with students to return at the end of the month.
"We encourage parents to get in early by jumping on the Service NSW website to register for their Creative Kids vouchers," he said.