- Minister for Education
One hundred kindergarten services across the state have recruited teachers and educators to start delivering language programs, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government.
Minister for Education James Merlino today visited Wendouree Children’s Services in Ballarat to celebrate the milestone for the $17.9 million Early Childhood Language Program and see first-hand how much the kindergarten children have learnt from participating in a Japanese program.
About 40 of these programs, including Wendouree Children’s Services’ Japanese program, will be running in regional kindergartens.
Recruitment is underway for many other kindergartens and the Early Childhood Language Program will eventually be rolled out to more than 160 services and reach 5,000 children each year.
Weekly language sessions of up to three hours will be delivered in about 150 kindergarten services and a further 10 will be bilingual kindergartens, where children will benefit from half their program being offered in a language other than English.
Across the state, up to 15 languages will be delivered through this program, including Mandarin, Punjabi, Arabic, Italian, Vietnamese, French, Spanish, Auslan and Aboriginal languages.
There are many benefits to learning additional languages at a young age, including increased literacy.
Making Victoria the Education State starts with the early years. That’s why, in an Australian first, the Labor Government is investing almost $5 billion over the next decade to provide three-year-old children with access to 15 hours of funded kindergarten programs.
The roll-out will start next year in six regional local government areas and will continue to roll out across the state progressively. From 2022, all Victorian three-year-olds will have access to five hours of kindergarten. This will be scaled up to a full 15-hour program by 2029.
As noted by Minister for Education James Merlino
“We are making significant investments in early childhood education to ensure children have access to the high-quality kindergarten programs they deserve, earlier in life.”
“Learning in another language not only helps with improved reading and writing skills but will give children an opportunity to experience new cultures in a more connected world.”
As noted by Member for Wendouree Juliana Addison
“As a former teacher, I know what a great opportunity it is for young leaners to be able to engage with the Japanese language program at Wendouree Children’s Services.”