Ready, Set, Go For Victorian Kids At Kinder

The Andrews Labor Government is leading the way to ensure all Victorian kids are ready for school, with new specialised funding to allow kinders to support them where they need it most.

In an Australian first, Victorian kindergartens will be given $58.1 million worth of school readiness funding to engage experts and access innovative programs, with Minister for Early Childhood Education Jenny Mikakos today announcing the areas set to benefit.

From next year, the first stage of the rollout will see kinders in 25 local government areas eligible for funding, including suburbs in Melbourne’s west and south, and regional areas such as Horsham, Mildura, Swan Hill, and Gippsland.

All kinders operated by an Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations in Victoria will also be able to access the funding.

One in five Victorian children start school developmentally vulnerable, according to the 2015 Australian Early Development Census, and those who start behind tend to stay behind.

The funding will allow kinders to tap into the expertise of speech therapists, language and literacy professionals, and child psychologists, who will be brought in to work directly with children at kindergartens as well as parents and educators.

It’s the first time school readiness funding has been made available to kindergartens, making sure kids get the most out of kindergarten and start school on track.

It will become a permanent part of the Victorian kindergarten system and will boost kinder funding by 10 per cent when fully rolled out.

The innovative program forms part of the Labor Government’s landmark $202.1 million Education State Early Childhood Reform Plan, announced in the Victorian Budget 2017/18.

This reform plan recognises the importance of providing families with strong support in early childhood, so kids are ready for kinder, ready for school and ready for life.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Early Childhood Education Jenny Mikakos

“We know that one in five kids starts prep not ready for school and once behind, they tend to stay behind.”

“School readiness funding will mean that kids will get the extra help they need so that they’re ready for school and ready for life.”