More Victorian children are benefitting from attending a kindergarten program in the year before school, according to new data released by the Andrews Labor Government.
The Victorian kindergarten participation rate for 2015 was 98.1 per cent, up 1.7 per cent from 2014. This represents more than 74,000 children reaping the lifelong benefits of a quality early years education.
Research shows that attending kindergarten contributes to higher NAPLAN test scores in Year Three, and has a positive impact later in life.
While the data show good progress, there is still work to be done in improving kindergarten access for children who stand to benefit the most but attend least.
The Labor Government is working to close the gap between Aboriginal kids and the rest of the population, and to lift participation rates among children from at-risk families.
The ATSI kindergarten participation rate for 2015 was 82.2 per cent, up 2.6 per cent from 2014.
The Labor Government has introduced a number of strategies to boost kinder attendance rates include securing enrolment spots in kindergartens for vulnerable or disadvantaged children so they don’t miss out if they enrol late or relocate to a new area, through the Pre-purchased Places pilot program.
We’re also offering additional support to children with a disability, high support needs and/or with complex medical needs, through the Kindergarten Inclusive Support program and providing free or low cost kindergarten to families experiencing vulnerability or disadvantage.
Despite the clear evidence regarding the benefits of attending kindergarten, there is still great uncertainty regarding the future of the National Partnership Agreement on Universal Access to Early Childhood Education, which provides children access to 15 hours of kindergarten each week.
The Labor Government is calling on the Turnbull Government to do the right thing by Victorian families and commit to sustainable, ongoing funding for the agreement which is due to run out at the end of 2017.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos
“These results reflect the hard work and dedication of early years services and their staff across the state.”
“Fifteen hours of kindergarten makes a real difference to how children develop and grow, and how they fare at school. It’s time the Turnbull Government commits to long-term funding.”
“We’re making Victoria the Education State and that hinges on giving all young Victorian children access to quality early learning programs.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020