GIVING OUR KIDS THE BEST START IN LIFE

Kids across Victoria will have everything they need to get the best start in life, with more kinder places, new and upgraded kinders and new language programs, thanks to a funding boost from the Andrews Labor Government.

Premier Daniel Andrews, Minister for Early Childhood Education Jenny Mikakos and Member for Bentleigh Nick Staikos today visited McKinnon Kindergarten to announce the single largest state investment in kinder infrastructure in Victoria’s history.

The Budget provides an additional $17.9 million to give at least 3,000 children attending state-funded kinders the opportunity to learn a language other than English for the very first time.

Learning languages at kinder often result in kids learning the language of their grandparents, as well as inspiring them to take an interest in other cultures. It’s also shown to improve brain function and their English reading and writing skills.

Weekly sessional language programs will be delivered in 120 kinders, with a further 10 services to become bilingual – where children will benefit from up to half their program being offered in another language.

Thousands more children will also be able to attend kindergarten, with almost $43 million to build, upgrade and improve early learning facilities across Victoria, as part of the Victorian Budget 2018/19.

It is part of an overall $60.8 million investment that will help kinders meet the growing demand for kinder places, provide access to the latest technology and ensure kinders are accessible and inclusive for children of all abilities.

This boost will bring this Government’s investment to a record $123.6 million to build, expand and improve early years infrastructure across Victoria, funding an additional 8,250 three- and four-year-old kinder places since 2014.

This record investment comes as Victorian families continue to benefit from the Labor Government’s landmark $202.1 million Education State Early Childhood Reform Plan, which was announced in last year’s budget.

Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews

“This is more than just new buildings – this is about making sure every child has access to the very best kinder programs, teachers and facilities – so they are ready for school and ready for life.”

“We’re making more kinder places available so no child misses out, regardless of where they live.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Early Childhood Education Jenny Mikakos

“We are giving more of our youngest kids the chance to learn the language of their yiayias, while helping them prepare for life in an increasingly interconnected world.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Bentleigh Nick Staikos

“Here in McKinnon we’re making the investments we need to give every child the very best start – whether it’s building and upgrading early year centres or boosting kinder programs.”