More than 5,000 Victorian children will start learning a new language – including Vietnamese – while at kindergarten, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government.
Minister for Early Childhood Education Jenny Mikakos today visited St Catherine’s Early Education Centre to share the good news that it has been selected to run Vietnamese languages classes from 2019 as part of the Labor Government’s new Early Childhood Languages program.
It is one of 160 kinders in Victoria that will kick off either weekly language sessions or a fully bilingual program, where up to half of the kinder program will be offered in another language.
This Australian-first program will give our children an even stronger connection to the language they speak at home and the good future they deserve, with language programs to begin next year.
These language programs are expected to reach more than 5,000 children in a range of languages including Mandarin, Greek, Punjabi, Arabic, Italian, Japanese, French and Spanish. Among these are 29 kindergartens which will offer Aboriginal languages and 27 that will offer Auslan.
The Labor Government will fund extra staff to teach children these new languages in partnership with existing staff – at no cost to parents or the early childhood services.
In Victoria, more than a quarter of people speak a language other than English at home.
With this investment, the Labor Government will help make sure that kids growing up in these families can stay connected to their language even at kindergarten.
A re-elected Labor Government will invest almost $5 billion over the next decade to deliver a full 15 hours of three-year-old kinder, with the rollout beginning in 2020.
Our commitment is good news for families struggling with the cost of living. Right now, many are forced to scrimp and save to cover the costs of three-year-old kinder – around $5000 a year for 15 hours – while the vast majority see their kids miss out.
Under Labor’s plan, every Victorian child will have access to at least five hours of subsidised three-year-old kinder by 2022, progressively scaled up to 15 hours per week over the next decade.
As part of Labor’s plan, some $1.68 billion will go towards building 785 new kinders and expanding 170 more to accommodate this reform, which will be the largest social, economic and educational reform ever undertaken in early childhood learning in Victoria’s history.
As noted by Minister for Early Childhood Education Jenny Mikakos
“Learning another language has clear benefits for little kids – it improves brain function, helps with learning English and it’s fun.”
“This Australian-first initiative is going to put our littlest Victorians at the front of the pack and ready for school.”