$900,000 grant program to support VIC’s kinder children to learn from home using Goodstart@home platform
Extra resources, in the form of $900,000 in grants, will be made available to kindergartens to help children learning at home during the coronavirus pandemic, Victorian Deputy Premier and Minister for Education James Merlino announced last Friday.
The grants have been made available to support new programs and extra staffing at kinders not yet receiving funding through the $160 million School Readiness Funding initiative.
As a result of the funding, kinders will be able to access the Goodstart@home online platform – which contains high-quality play-based learning activities for parents to do with their children at home – as well as free professional learning webinars for early childhood staff to help deliver programs remotely.
The on-line resources, supported by book versions for families who can not access the internet at home, have been designed by leading early learning experts to support the learning of children while they are not attending their early learning centre due to COVID-19 and after the pandemic has passed.
Goodstart’s CEO, Julia Davison said that as a not-for-profit Goodstart was very proud to be able to share the high-quality learning at home resources with other providers and Victorian families.
“Goodstart@Home is created by a team of Goodstart experts who truly understand just how much play-based early experiences support the learning, development and wellbeing outcomes children need for school and life,” Ms Davison said.
In addition to the professional development and online learning platform, services can also use the funding for additional educator and teacher hours to develop and deliver learning from home programs – given teachers and educators who are delivering a program on-site have limited capacity to work with families and children who are not attending.
The flexibility of the usage of grant is designed to allow kindergarten services to select a package of resources that best reflects what their families need to help with learning from home, and is a compliment to the Australian-first School Readiness Funding initiative has been rolled out to 32 local government areas already, and provides funding to improve children’s language development, social and emotional resilience and support access and inclusion.
Access to the Goodstart@home platform is in addition to what has already been made available on the Government’s tailored early childhood Learning from Home website, which was launched in March in light of lower-than-usual attendance rates, to help teachers and educators support children to learn remotely.
Mr Merlino complimented the work done thus far by early childhood educators, saying they are doing “a wonderful job” supporting children and their families through the pandemic.