- Minister for Education
More than 5,000 Victorian children will have an opportunity to learn another language while attending kindergarten this year, thanks to a significant investment from the Andrews Labor Government.
Minister for Education James Merlino joined the Member for Box Hill Paul Hamer to launch the $17.9 million Early Childhood Language Program at Box Hill North Primary School Kindergarten.
This kindergarten – where students are learning Japanese – is one of around 160 across the state that will deliver a language program this 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.
These programs include in a range of languages including Mandarin, Punjabi, Arabic, Italian, Vietnamese, French, Spanish, Auslan and Aboriginal languages.
The Labor Government is providing funding for extra staff to deliver the language programs in partnership with existing staff – at no cost to parents or the early childhood services.
Making Victoria the Education State starts with the early years. This is why, in an Australian first, the Labor Government is investing almost $5 billion over the next decade to deliver a full 15 hour per week kindergarten program for three-year-old children, to be progressively rolled out from 2020.
As noted by Minister for Education James Merlino
“Our education system is giving the next generation of Victorians all the skills and opportunities they need, in order to be well developed individuals and prepared for their lives and jobs in a globalising world.”
“We want our children to have the best start in their education. Learning a language early on will give them a leg up with literacy and help them to understand the world around them.”
As stated by the Member for Box Hill Paul Hamer
“It’s fantastic to see Box Hill children immersed in Japanese at a young age. These kids will reap the long-term benefits of learning a language other than English.”