Universal Kinder arrives for Victoria’s three year olds
Universal kinder for three-year-old Victorian children commenced yesterday, with the State’s Education Minister James Merlino joining staff, children and families at Leongatha Children’s Centre to mark the occasion.
The commencement of three-year-old Kinder is the first phase of the Victorian Government’s commitment of almost $5 billion over 10 years to make two years of funded universal kindergarten programs available for all children across the state – in an Australian-first.
Thirty-six kindergarten services across the six local government areas (LGAs) will deliver up to 15 hours each week of programs for three-year-olds in 2020, with around 560 children already enrolled.
South Gippsland, Buloke, Hindmarsh, Northern Grampians, Strathbogie and Yarriambiack are the first LGAs to implement the change, which sits in addition to the 80,000 children who will attend four-year-old programs across Victoria.
Three-year-old kindergarten will roll out progressively, with families in a further 15 regional LGAs to benefit in 2021. This will be expanded in 2022 to give three-year-olds across the rest of the state access to five hours of funded kindergarten, before being scaled up to a full 15-hour program by 2029.
At its peak, it is estimated that around 90,000 children a year will be receiving what the Andrews Government have termed “an important educational boost”.
“Universal access to three-year-old kinder is one of the most significant reforms we can make to education – giving children academic, social and emotional benefits that last into their school years and beyond,” Mr Merlino said.
Over $880 million was allocated to the rollout in the Victorian Budget 2019/20, with 20 new teacher and 20 new educator roles already being created in the first six LGAs.
To learn more about the initiative, please see here.