Three-year-old kinder “just around the corner” in Victoria, with first enrolments taken
“The biggest ever reform of early childhood education is just around the corner,” Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said, when joining children, parents and educators at Marang Kindergarten in Stawell last week to mark the first enrolments for Victoria’s funded three-year-old kinder programs.
In an Australian first, every Victorian child will be able to start kindergarten aged three, with families living across Buloke, Hindmarsh, Northern Grampians, South Gippsland, Strathbogie and Yarriambiack shires, set to be amongst the first to benefit from subsidised kindergarten programs in 2020.
In the lead up, kindergarten and early childhood services such as Marrang Kindergarten are gearing up to introduce this historic reform, with enrolments already open across dozens of providers for newly funded three-year-old programs.
The roll-out will continue progressively across the state, with families in a further 15 regional local government areas to benefit in 2021. This will be expanded in 2022 to give all Victorian three-year-old’s access to five hours of funded kindergarten, before being scaled up to a full 15-hour program by 2029.
As well as giving children better preparation for entering school, the Premier said, the introduction of the three-year-old preschool initiative will also support families struggling with the cost of living, saving some of Victoria’s most disadvantaged families around $5,000 a year.
The reforms exist as part of a $4.1 billion investment by the Victorian Government in education from kindergarten through to higher education and vocational training.
This investment includes $92.4 million to support early childhood teachers and educators through more professional development, mentoring and scholarships, so children continue to have access to highly-trained teachers.
In further support of the roll out, the Victorian Labor Government has added the Diploma ofEarly Childhood Education, and Certificate III in Early Childhood Education to the Free TAFE list.
The investment in three-year-old kinder also included $473.2 million for early childhood infrastructure, which will support the sector to invest in new and expanded kindergarten facilities, “when and where they are needed most” Premier Andrews said.