Extra funding is great, but more needs to be done, ELAA chief says
The Early Learning Association of Australia (ELAA) has welcomed the recent announcement of additional funding grants to support funded kindergarten programs in Victoria to meet cleaning and hygiene requirements in Term Two, as children return from self isolation, but says more needs to be done to support the education and care sector as a whole.
While the grants are “a welcome and necessary step”, the funding will only cover a limited period and ELAA would like to see the initiative reviewed and extended before the start of Term Three, ELAA CEO David Worland said.
The Victorian Government made $2.6 million in grants available for Victorian-funded kindergarten services to help with the cost of high standards of cleaning and hygiene, consistent with the Australian Health Principal Practitioners Committee (AHPPC) guidance.
Mr Worland called for the grants to be “extended and expanded” to a wider selection of early childhood education and care (ECEC) services.
“Prior to the Victorian Government’s announcement on 12 May regarding $45 million for enhanced cleaning in primary and secondary schools, ELAA had been active in its engagement with the Victorian Department of Education and Training that similar extra financial resources be made available to ECEC services,” Mr Worland said, noting that the 12 May announcement “did not seem to recognise that ECEC services also need to meet AHPPC guidelines”.
Under the recent grants, kindergarten providers will be able to choose how to use the extra funding as long as it is spent on meeting cleaning and hygiene for their kindergarten program such as extra hours of cleaning and purchasing hygiene products, or spending on hand sanitiser and soap.
To learn more about the current grants available to support Victorian services, please see here.