A year of opportunity for those who live, work, or wish to relocate to Vic
Victoria has long been the envy of Australia’s early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector with its innovative reforms and initiatives.
Victorian children continue to benefit from the roll-out of Three-Year-Old Kindergarten, and this year marks the start of Free Kinder.
Professional learning support and opportunities for early learning professionals are expanding, supporting educators and teachers to grow and thrive in their careers. There are also a range of financial supports available to early childhood students and professionals.
Pre-Prep details announced, regional areas first up
In significant news to start off the year, the details of how Pre-Prep will be rolled out have been announced.
Four-Year-Old Kindergarten will transition to Pre-Prep in stages, starting in some rural areas in 2025.
From 2025, delivery of between 16 and 30 hours per week of Pre-Prep will commence in Ararat Rural City, Gannawarra Shire, Hindmarsh Shire, Murrindindi Shire, Northern Grampians Shire and Yarriambiack Shire, with other local government areas (LGAs) to progressively join the roll-out in following years.
Vulnerable children and Aboriginal children living outside the early roll-out areas will be eligible for 30 hours of Pre-Prep every week from 2026, with disadvantaged children also eligible from 2028.
Those able to access Pre-Prep from 2026 include:
- Children from a refugee background
- Children known to child protection
- Aboriginal children.
Disadvantaged children who have (or have a parent or guardian who has) a Commonwealth concession card and those who are a multiple birth child (triplets or more) will also become eligible from 2028.
Educational Leaders supported with tailored conference opportunity
Hosted by the Department of Education, the Best Start, Best Life 2023 Educational Leaders Conference will bring together early childhood educational leaders, experts and practitioners from across the state for a dynamic learning experience.
With options to attend online or face to face at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre on 15 February, the conference will explore the theme Evidence for impact: Giving children the best start.
One educational leader from services (including long day care and sessional services) providing a funded kindergarten program in Victoria can attend the conference, either virtually or in person. Entry to the conference will be for registered delegates only.
Attendees will hear from three renowned international experts, namely:
- Professor Iram Siraj, Professor of Child Development and Education, University of Oxford
- Professor Jane Bertrand, Program Director, Margaret and Wallace McCain Family Foundation
- Sir Kevan Collins, Board Member, Goodstart Early Learning and Board Member, AERO.
Educational leaders will be able to learn about how they can lead effectively in the early childhood sector and what the latest evidence says about pedagogical leadership, as well as practical and evidence-based strategies to improve intentional teaching and play-based learning.
Innovative Initial Teacher Education (IITE) course enrolment closing soon
Early Childhood Innovative Initial Teacher Education (IITE) accelerated upskiller courses are being offered by the Australian Catholic University (ACU), Deakin University, and Victoria University (VU). The next round of applications for the ACU and VU courses are closing in March 2023.
The IITE program is open to those who hold a Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care or an equivalent qualification approved by ACECQA, and who are also currently employed by an eligible early childhood service that delivers (or intends to deliver) a funded kindergarten program in Victoria. The program allows educators to complete a high quality initial teacher education degree in a compressed time frame, and fast track their journey to becoming an early childhood teacher.
The courses, which are delivered via a combination of online, face to face and intensive study options, allow participants to complete their degree in a shortened period of time from 18 months to two years, and recognise prior study and professional experience.
Aside from course completion time frames being shorter, educators are able to remain in the workforce while they learn, supporting continuity of care for children and families.
Financial support packages are available to assist with course fees, study materials and other expenses. Paid study and placement leave may also be available. Eligible students can also access mentoring and coaching to help them successfully complete their courses.
Read more about the Early Childhood IITE programs here.
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