Giving our kids the very best start

Victorian kids will get the best start in life with new investments in kinders and Australian-first language programs.

The Victorian Budget 2018/19 includes a $135.9 million boost to early childhood education to make sure our kids are ready for kinder, ready for school and ready for life.

It delivers the kinder infrastructure boost our growing state needs, with a record $42.9 million to build, upgrade and equip kinders across the state.

The Andrews Labor Government has been planning for growth in our early education sector, which is benefiting from 8,250 additional kindergarten places and hundreds of new and revamped early learning facilities and playgrounds delivered since 2014.

This includes building more co-located early years centres at new schools, making pick-up and drop-off times easier for parents, and providing greater support for children transitioning from kinder to school.

Starting next year, a $17.9 million roll-out will see specialist language teachers deliver language classes to 120 kinders across the state, with another 10 to have up to half of their daily curriculum delivered in another language. It’s the first time in Australia state kinders will be funded to provide language programs.

The Labor Government will continue to build a highly skilled early childhood teaching workforce to meet the growing enrolments in state-funded kinder programs, with further investment in the workforce.

An $8 million boost will provide a range of scholarships to attract new teachers to the field and support educators who wish to upskill to a teaching qualification.

Free or low-cost three-year-old kinder will continue to be made available to Aboriginal and vulnerable children known to child protection, with $4 million to ensure they reap the benefits of early learning.

Another $4 million will build on work already done to create a more tailored and culturally sensitive Maternal and Child Health (MCH) service for Aboriginal families.

Funding for Early Childhood Intervention Services will be continued to ensure more children with additional needs who are ineligible for the NDIS don’t miss out.

This year’s Budget investment builds on the work of the Labor Government’s $202.1 million Education State Early Childhood Reform Plan, which recognises the importance of providing families with strong support in early childhood, so kids are ready for kinder, ready for school and ready for life.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Early Childhood Education Jenny Mikakos

“Building the Education State begins with the early years – that’s why it’s so important we continue to invest in our youngest Victorians to ensure they have the best start to life.”

“Families across the state can have certainty that their kids will be able to access a great local kinder, with the largest investment in Victoria’s history to build, upgrade and equip kinders for our growing state.”