Hundreds of preschool children will soon get extra help to learn their mother tongue, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government as part of a $7.5 million funding boost for community language schools.
Community language schools provide out-of-school-hours programs to help children learn or maintain their heritage language. Until this funding boost, accredited community language schools have been able to apply for funding only for school aged students using their service, now, the funding is being extended to pre-school children with 22 schools already registering interest to roll out the program.
The Labor Government is expanding community language schools to preschool age children as there are demonstrated benefits for children learning their mother tongue at a young age.
The rollout is part of the Government’s commitment to strengthen community language schools which are booming across the state – with several new language schools catering Nepali, Nuba and Uyghur starting in 2019.
The funding is also boosting the amount available for each child from $215 to $245 and helping meet the growing demand for places at these schools with the number of students increasing by more than 3,500 since 2015 to almost 39,000 in 2019.
It also provides Community Language Victoria – the peak body for community language schools – with funding to improve professional development for staff at these schools.
The Labor Government has invested $12.9 billion to make Victoria the Education State and a key part of that is making sure Victorians have access to world-class language education programs.
Victorian students from kindergarten to Year 12 can study a language and choose from over 70 languages offered in kindergartens, government primary and secondary schools, the Victorian School of Languages and community language schools.
As stated by Minister for Education James Merlino
“Community language schools are becoming more and more popular, these schools do amazing work with some of our newest Victorians, helping them learn their mother tongue so they can better connect with their cultural background.
“We’re extending our support for these schools so they can help pre-school children as well as meet the increase in demand we are seeing for this service.
“We’re also helping Community Language Victoria to support those working in community language schools with better training.”