Premier

Closing The Gap On Koorie Kindergarten Participation

16 March 2016

The Andrews Labor Government has released data showing more Aboriginal children are getting the benefits of a quality early years learning program in the Education State, with the kinder participation rate for Aboriginal children increasing last year.

But despite being on the right track more work needs to be done to close the gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children’s participation.

At the Aboriginal Children’s Forum today, Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos said Aboriginal kids taking part in a funded kindergarten program delivered by a qualified teacher had increased by 2.6 per cent last year on the previous year - up to 82.2 per cent.

The state wide rate is 98.1 per cent, showing there is still a lot more work to do to reduce the gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children’s kinder participation. Aboriginal families can access three and four year-old kindergarten for free.

The data also shows three–year-old Aboriginal children accessing the Early Start Kindergarten program increased by 4.5 per cent – from 37.1 per cent in 2014 to 41.6 per cent in 2015.

National Close the Gap Day tomorrow will mark the launch of the next stage of the Labor Government’s Koorie Kids Shine at Kindergarten awareness raising campaign, with new promotional packs being delivered to kinders.

The campaign sends a clear message to Aboriginal families that it is never too late to enrol their children and ensure they benefit from free, quality learning programs in the two years before school.

The Labor Government is also securing enrolment spots in kindergartens across Victoria to ensure vulnerable or disadvantaged children don’t miss out if they enrol late or relocate to a new area, under its pre-purchased places program.

The Andrews Labor Government is making Victoria the Education State – this means giving all kids the benefit of quality early learning programs and so they can shine at kindergarten.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos

“It will take the combined efforts of the broader community, local leaders, families, early years services and government working together to lift the number of Aboriginal children making the most of kinder.”

“It is never too late to enrol in kinder - your local kindergarten teacher or Koorie Engagement Support Officer are there to help.”

“Early learning is vital for brain development and giving children the best possible start in life – lifting Aboriginal participation in kindergarten is crucial to improving lives and outcomes down the track.”

“Our government is making Victoria the Education State by helping to close the gap on kinder participation.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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