The Andrews Labor Government is upgrading buildings and playgrounds across Victorian kindergartens to create more inclusive environments for children of all abilities.
Parliamentary Secretary for Early Childhood Education Sonya Kilkenny today visited Miners Rest Kindergarten and Creswick and District Preschool to announce the next round of successful applicants in the Inclusive Kindergartens Facilities Program.
Creswick and District Preschool is one of 54 services to secure funding to upgrade their buildings or playgrounds. It will receive more than $60,000 to improve the accessibility of its 60-year-old facility, including building a new ramp to connect its second classroom to the playground and widening doorways.
Children at Miners Rest Kindergarten have already benefitted from the program, after it received more than $140,000 to modify its playground and improve lighting, as well more than $5,900 for a range of inclusive equipment such sensory stepping stones and tactile paths.
The Inclusive Kindergartens Facilities Program playground and buildings stream provides up to $200,000 in upgrades to create more inclusive and welcoming environments.
A further 184 services will receive grants of up to $10,000 through the equipment stream for items that promote inclusiveness and diversity such as adjustable tables and chairs, padded mats and weighted cushions.
The Victorian Budget 2019/20 included $6 million for the Inclusive Kindergartens Facilities Program to help kindergartens across the state provide safe and inclusive environments for children with additional needs.
Making Victoria the Education State starts with the early years. That’s why, in an-Australian first, the Labor Government has committed almost $5 billion to deliver 15 hours of funded Three-Year-Old Kindergarten programs to children in Victoria over the next decade.
Three-Year-Old Kindergarten will roll out progressively across the state, with families in 21 regional LGAs to benefit in 2020 and 2021. This will be expanded in 2022 to give three-year-olds across the rest of the state access to five hours of funded kindergarten, before being scaled up to a full 15-hour program by 2029.
The Labor Government will invest more than $1.6 billion over the next decade to build approximately 785 new kinders and expand 170 existing services.
Quote attributable to Parliamentary Secretary for Early Childhood Education Sonya Kilkenny
“These upgrades will make a big difference in ensuring children of all abilities attending kindergarten in Ballarat and across Victoria get the support they need to thrive.”
Quote attributable to Member for Western Victoria Jaala Pulford
“It’s fantastic to help services such as Miners Rest Kindergarten and Creswick and District Preschool upgrade their buildings and playgrounds to provide inclusive environments for all children.”