The Andrews Labor Government is strengthening key early childhood programs to respond to the needs of Victorian families.
Visiting Horsham North Kindergarten today, Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos announced a $300,000 research partnership to strengthen the Government’s Best Start program.
The funding will enable the Centre for Community Child Health, a specialist research unit dedicated to boosting children’s health and development, deliver training and support to 30 sites across Victoria.
The Delkaia Aboriginal site in Horsham is one of six run in partnership with local aboriginal communities focusing on increasing the participation of all Aboriginal children.
Best Start is a prevention and early intervention program that improves children’s learning and development by encouraging agencies, services and communities to work together to address challenges faced by families.
Direction and support from the Centre for Community Child Health will also see local strategies more effectively implemented, measured and evaluated across all 30 sites.
Best Start has recently been given an overhaul, with a sharper focus on:
- using evidence and data more effectively to address challenges faced by families and communities
- improved ways to measure and evaluate the results of the program.
While in Horsham, Ms Mikakos also visited Natimuk preschool which received a $10,000 grant – along with five other kindergarten services operated by Horsham and District Kindergarten Association – helping provide security for regional kindergartens when enrolment numbers are low.
As part of its 2016 drought response package, the Government provided 15 hours of free kindergarten for all children in the year before school in eleven local government areas, including the Rural City of Horsham.
We are making Victoria the Education State – and this starts with putting kids on the right track early to give them a strong start in life.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos
“This partnership with one of Victoria’s leading early childhood development researchers is a big step towards improving outcomes for children and families in the Best Start sites.”
“A localised, targeted way of finding solutions to problems faced by families and delivering benefits for young children is extremely effective.”
Quotes attributable to Centre for Community Child Health Associate Director Sue West
“We know that children who attend quality preschool programs are more likely to arrive at school ready to take advantage of the learning opportunities available to them.”
“Investment in initiatives like Best Start will contribute to a more prosperous future for all Victorians.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020