Supporting Kinders In The Wimmera Southern Mallee

In an Australian-first, kinders across the Wimmera Southern Mallee region will be given funding to engage experts and access innovative programs to support children who need it the most.

Minister for Early Childhood Education Jenny Mikakos has announced the region will be one of the first to benefit from the Andrews Labor Government’s $58.1 million school readiness funding.

The funding will allow kindergartens to engage extra professional support, through speech therapists, child psychologists and literacy experts, who can work directly with children as well as assisting families and educators.

The Wimmera Southern Mallee Regional Partnership, established to give the community a voice into government decision-making, identified improving early childhood development as one of its key priorities.

This initiative will help respond to the unique challenges faced by early years services, who support families across a large rural environment.

School readiness funding will become a permanent part of the Victorian kindergarten system and will boost the total amount of funding to kinders by approximately 10 per cent when fully rolled out.

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.

This initiative is about ensuring that more children are able to get the most out of kindergarten and reach school developmentally on track.

It will be rolled out to all services that run state-funded kinder programs over the next three years, starting with those in 25 local government areas and all kinders run by Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations in 2019.

School readiness funding is part of the Labor Government’s landmark $202.1 million Education State Early Childhood Reform Plan, which recognises the importance of supporting families 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

“This Australian-first initiative will ensure that no child is left behind.”

Quote attributable to Minister for Regional Development Jaala Pulford

“We’ve listened to the community in the Wimmera Southern Mallee and we know more needs to be done to improve early childhood development.”

“This shows that the Regional Partnerships are delivering real improvements for local communities.”