In an Australian-first, every Victorian child born under a re-elected Andrews Labor Government can start kindergarten a year earlier, giving them the skills and experiences they need to be ready for school.
Minister for Early Childhood Education Jenny Mikakos and Member for Carrum Sonya Kilkenny today visited Bonbeach Preschool to herald this ambitious reform, which will see three-year-old kinder rolled out across the state beginning in 2020.
By 2022, all Victorian three-year-olds – including those in Bonbeach, Chelsea, Chelsea Heights, Patterson Lakes and Carrum – will be able to access at least five hours of kinder.
This will be the largest social, economic and educational reform ever undertaken in early childhood learning in Victoria’s history.
Labor’s commitment is good news for families struggling with the cost of living. Right now, many are forced to scrimp and save to cover the costs of three-year-old kinder – around $5000 a year for 15 hours – while the vast majority see their kids miss out.
Twenty-one local government areas will be amongst the first to benefit, with Ararat, Buloke, Hindmarsh, Northern Grampians, Yarriambiack, Central Goldfields, Hepburn, Southern Grampians and West Wimmera councils all included in the initial rollout between 2020 and 2021.
Under Labor’s plan, all Victorian three-year-olds will have at least five hours of kinder by 2022, progressively scaled up to 15 hours per week over the next decade.
While at Bonbeach Preschool, the Labor Government also announced $2.6 million to build a brand new co-located early learning centre at the site of Bonbeach Primary School, giving pre-schoolers access to the first rate facilities they deserve.
This is in addition to the $6.3 million announced earlier this year for the construction of a brand new main school building for Bonbeach Primary, in which the kinder currently operates.
The new kinder is one of more than 50 early years infrastructure projects funded in the 2018-19 major round of the Children’s Facilities Capital Program.
The rebuilt preschool will be constructed in conjunction with the $6.3 million new main school building with state of the art classrooms planned for Bonbeach Primary.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Early Childhood Education Jenny Mikakos
“Universal access to three-year-old kinder is an Australian-first and make no mistake, this will change lives.”
“While the Federal Liberal Government refuses to meet its commitments on four-year-old kindergarten, Labor is determined to make sure our kids are ready for school and ready for life.”
Quote attributable to Member for Carrum Sonya Kilkenny
“Three-year-old kinder is the smartest investment we can make and it is something that will have real impact on families right across Victoria, including here in Carrum.”