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Back To Kinder Excitement Grows As Improvements Benefit Victorian Families

31 January 2016

Victorian children starting at kindergarten this year will benefit from better educator-to-child ratios, meaning more individual attention and care for around 74,000 Victorian kids in the year before school.

The Andrews Labor Government is investing up to $83.7 million to help kindergartens meet the new staffing requirements, supporting eligible community-based kindergartens to hire additional staff.

Introduced on January 1 this year, the new ratios will mean one educator for every 11 children - down from one per 15 - giving kids more individual care and attention.

At Brady Road Kindergarten in Bentleigh today, Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos joined Member for Bentleigh Nick Staikos to welcome local children to their new look facility, which is undergoing a facelift as part of the Labor Government’s $50 million kinder improvements commitment.

In 2016 the Labor Government will be getting on with the job of building and upgrading new and existing kindergartens across Victoria.

Last year the Government fought hard to secure 15 hours of kinder for Victorian families, and this year will continue to push for the Turnbull Government to end the uncertainty and commit to funding beyond 2017.

Early childhood development is at the heart of the Labor Government’s vision to making Victoria the Education State.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos

“In 2016 we are delivering better services and strengthening the quality of our early years services so Victorian kids get a great start in life.”

“I wish all children starting kindergarten and their families a happy and successful year, as we get on with the job of making Victoria the Education State.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Bentleigh Nick Staikos

“The Andrews Labor Government is delivering on its commitment to the Bentleigh Community so local families have access to quality early childhood services.”

Back to Kinder fast facts:

  • In 2016, approximately 75,000 Victorian four-year-olds will attend a funded kindergarten program.
  • All four-year-olds are eligible for 15 hours of funded kindergarten each week.
  • There are 2,238 funded kindergartens across the state.
  • Attending kindergarten is equivalent to 10–20 NAPLAN points, or 15–20 weeks of school in Year 3.
  • New educator-to-child ratios will see one educator to every 11 children, down from one for every 15 children, giving kids more individual care and attention.
  • The Andrews Labor Government has so far allocated funding for 350 kindergartens to share in $2.6 million in grants to improve their facilities, including:
    • 53 kindergartens to receive grants of up to $25,000 to enlarge their playrooms.
    • 122 kindergartens to receive grants of up to $10,000 to upgrade their playgrounds, improving access for children of all abilities, and undertake refurbishments.
    • 249 kindergartens to receive grants of up to $1,500 to purchase new laptops, tablets and other digital hardware to boost digital learning programs and support administrative functions.
  • $13.6 million is earmarked to build and upgrade kindergartens and children’s hubs across the state with more to come

In 2016, the Andrews Labor Government will be getting on with delivering:

  • $83.7 million to help kinders transition to improved staff-to-child ratios, to give children more individual attention and boost the value families receive from the time their child spends at kinder in preparation for school
  • The roll out of its $50 million kinder capital program for the building and upgrading of kinders across Victoria
  • Improved support for early childhood teachers and educators
  • New minimum child safe standards to ensure organisations working with children take steps to create a culture of child safety and protect children from all forms of abuse
  • Drought relief support to help families and kindergarten services in communities experiencing hardship
  • Pre-purchased kindergarten places to ensure vulnerable children don’t miss out on kindergarten access
  • Professional development for early childhood educators to boost their skills and the services available for Victorian families
  • The Koori Kids Shine program to lift the number of Aboriginal children enrolled in three and four year old kindergarten
  • A new funding model for small rural kinders to give them funding certainty that addresses the challenge of varying enrolment numbers year to year and helps rural families
  • Additional training for around 900 early childhood professionals to work with children who have experienced trauma and family violence

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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