More than 5,000 Victorian children will start learning a new language – including Greek – while at kindergarten, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government.
Minister for Early Childhood Education Jenny Mikakos and Member for Richmond Richard Wynne today visited Alpha Children’s Centre in Richmond to meet staff and parents after the centre was selected to run a bilingual Greek program.
It means up to half of Alpha’s kinder program will be offered in Greek – one of two kinders in Victoria funded to do so starting from 2019, along with Oakleigh Grammar Early Learning Centre.
Richmond families will also be able to access Italian language classes which will run out of the Cooke Court Child Care Centre.
This investment – an Australian-first – will give our children an even stronger connection to the language they speak at home, and the good future they deserve.
These language programs are expected to reach more than 5,000 children across 160 kindergartens, in a range of languages including Mandarin, Punjabi, Arabic, Italian, Vietnamese, 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.
As noted by Minister for Early Childhood Education Jenny Mikakos
“Learning another language has amazing rewards for little kids – it improves brain function, helps them learn English better and it’s fun!”
“This Australian-first initiative is going to put little Victorians at the front of the pack and ready for school.”
As noted by Member for Richmond Richard Wynne
“We have a proud multicultural history in Victoria and this will ensure we keep our kids connected to their language and their heritage.”
“In Richmond we have a proud and rich diversity that will now benefit from a Greek bilingual kinder program.”