The Andrews Labor Government will continue to reduce the cost of sessional kindergarten for families and provide kinders with extra cleaning for all of Term 3 as part of a $45 million support package during the coronavirus pandemic.
Minister for Education James Merlino announced the funding will provide $230 per child for Term 3, which is expected to save parents approximately half the cost of average kindergarten fees. This will mean that on average families will only pay $23 a week for sessional kindergarten in Term 3.
These programs will also remain free for those who have a Commonwealth Health Care Card, identify as Aboriginal, or hold a refugee or asylum seeker visa under the existing Kindergarten Fee Subsidy program
This reduced-fee kinder program will be available for community-based, local government and school providers that are offering funded sessional programs and are not covered by the Commonwealth’s JobKeeper program.
A second round of cleaning grants will also be provided to all early childhood services delivering a funded kinder program to boost their cleaning and hygiene, including $900 grants for services with less than 50 enrolments and $1,500 for those with 50 or more enrolments.
Service providers will have flexibility in how to use this funding as long as it is spent on meeting the enhanced cleaning and hygiene required during this pandemic.
The Labor Government announced free kinder for Term 2 to give sessional kinder services funding certainty during a time they saw a significant decline in enrolment numbers. Attendances are now building back to normal levels, and this additional support will assist with re-establishing full attendance in Term 3.
Early childhood education and care services are continuing to operate, in line with advice from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee. Further guidance on measures to maintain the health and safety of children and staff can be found on the DHHS website.
As noted by Minister for Education James Merlino
“We’re saving families hundreds of dollars and ensuring Victorian children can go to kinder and receive the crucial early childhood education they deserve.”
“While early childhood staff are doing a brilliant job supporting children and their families, we’re providing kinder services with extra funding to help maintain high standards of cleaning and hygiene.”