The biggest ever reform of early childhood education is just around the corner with the Andrews Labor Government’s historic three-year-old kinder set to benefit hundreds of children living in regional Victoria.
Premier Daniel Andrews today joined kids, teachers and educators at Marrang Kindergarten in Stawell to mark the first enrolments for Victoria’s funded three-year-old kinder programs, as we start rolling out our landmark reforms that will see $5 billion invested over the next decade to deliver a full 15 hours of three-year-old kinder.
As an Australian first, every Victorian child will be able to start kindergarten aged three, with families living across Buloke, Hindmarsh, Northern Grampians, South Gippsland, Strathbogie and Yarriambiack shires, set to be amongst the first to benefit from subsidised kindergarten programs in 2020.
As part of this, kindergarten and early childhood services such as Marrang are gearing up to introduce this historic reform, with enrolments already open across dozens of providers for newly funded three-year-old programs.
We know that giving children that extra year of kinder better prepares them for school and for life, with the reforms also helping families struggling with the cost of living, saving some of Victoria’s most disadvantaged families around $5,000 a year.
The roll-out will continue progressively across the state, with families in a further 15 regional LGAs to benefit in 2021. This will be expanded in 2022 to give all Victorian three-year-old’s access to five hours of funded kindergarten, before being scaled up to a full 15-hour program by 2029.
The Victorian Budget 2019/20 invested $881.6 million in the three-year-old kinder rollout, as part of a sweeping $4.1 billion investment in education – from kinders and schools through to higher education and TAFE.
This includes $92.4 million to support early childhood teachers and educators through more professional development, mentoring and scholarships, so children continue to have access to highly-trained teachers.
And to ensure we can train the educators of the future, the Labor Government has added the Diploma of Early Childhood Education, and Certificate III in Early Childhood Education to the Free TAFE list. This is also supporting regional TAFEs, with FedUni TAFE’s Horsham campus hosting these courses from next year.
Our investment in three-year-old kinder also included $473.2 million for early childhood infrastructure, which will support the sector to invest in new and expanded kindergarten facilities, when and where they are needed most.
As noted by Premier Daniel Andrews
“We said we’d deliver three-year-old kinder, and that’s exactly what we’re doing. This is about ensuring kids have the very best start in life and saving families when it comes to the cost of early childhood education.”
“Universal access to three-year-old kinder is the biggest ever reform for the early childhood sector and we’ll work closely with families, teachers and providers to ensure kids get the education they need.”
As noted by Minister for Education James Merlino
“The evidence shows two years are better than one when it comes to early learning, which is why we are ensuring that kids are more ready for school and life thanks to an extra year of kinder education.”