Vic government directs more than $217 million to early learning in 2022/23 Budget
The recently announced Victorian Budget for 2022/23 has allocated an investment of more than $217 million to various facets of early learning including its Universal Access program for Kindergarten.
Aside from the investment in maintaining universal access to four-year-old kindergarten the Victorian Budget 2022/23 investments include:
- Provisions to support the delivery of Three-Year-Old Kindergarten
- Provisions to support vulnerable and disadvantaged children
- Measures to improve outcomes for culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) children
- Provisions to support young children with disability or complex medical needs.
In outlining the Budget measures as they relate to the early childhood sector, Victorian Minister for Early Childhood Ingrid Stitt extended her “heartfelt thanks” to those who support the sector and work within it, thanking teachers, educators, and support staff for the work they do every day to help young learners reach their full potential.
An investment of $131 million will keep providing quality funded kindergarten services across the state, with $11.9 million over three years for the Building Blocks Inclusion grants program, which is focused on making kindergarten buildings, playgrounds and equipment across Victoria more inclusive and accessible for every child.
Additional supports are available for children with additional needs via a $16.9 million boost to the Kindergarten Inclusion Support program for children at both three- and four-year-old kindergarten. The Early Childhood LOOKOUT and Access to Early Learning programs have been allocated an investment of $18.7 million to ensure vulnerable Victorian children can be identified and given extra support as early as possible.
Children who are known to child protection, and those from families of refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds will be supported with two years of free kindergarten under the Kindergarten Fee Subsidy, which has been allocated $2.2 million in the Budget.
Those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds have been allocated $4 million in the Budget and will be supported with targeted outreach services, engagement and access to kindergarten services.
Locally made Kinder Kits for 2023 and 2024 have been provided for within the Budget, with an allocation of $14.7 million for the popular packs which ensure that every Victorian child starting three-year-old kinder has access to books, toys and educational materials to help them develop their love of learning at home as well as at kinder.
The Early Childhood Language Program will continue into 2023 with a $5.5 million allocation to support it. A Certificate IV in Teaching a First Nation’s Language will be funded in the Budget, with $2.8 million to help increase the number of Aboriginal language teachers in Victorian kindergartens and schools.
“Every parent wants to give their child the best start in life. With an extra year of kinder – and all the learning and play that brings – we’ll make sure they are on track for success in the early years and at school,” Ms Stitt said in closing.
To access the Budget, please see here.
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