Three-Year-Old Kinder Starts In Western Victoria

The Andrews Labor Government’s landmark reform to early childhood education has arrived in Yarriambiack and Northern Grampians shires.

Parliamentary Secretary for Early Childhood Education Sonya Kilkenny today joined early childhood staff, children and families at Minyip Kindergarten and Aussie Kindies Early Learning Stawell to launch the start of funded universal Three-Year-Old Kindergarten.

It is part of the Labor Government’s almost $5 billion decade-long reform to make two years of funded universal kindergarten programs available for all children across the state – in an Australian first.

Thirty-six kindergarten services across the six local government areas of Yarriambiack, South Gippsland, Buloke, Hindmarsh, Northern Grampians and Strathbogie will deliver up to 15 hours each week of programs for three-year-olds led by a teacher this year. Approximately 575 children in these areas will benefit from universal funded Three-Year-Old Kindergarten this year.

At Minyip Kindergarten, Parliamentary Secretary Kilkenny met with educator Christiana Henke, who is one of hundreds of people benefiting from the Early Childhood Scholarship Program.

The Parliamentary Secretary also met with Aussie Kindies Early Learning Stawell teacher Tarsha Davis, who will benefit from a Victorian Government incentives program to encourage more people to teach in the initial roll-out areas.

The Victorian Budget 2019/20 invested $92.4 million towards supporting, training and recruiting the teachers and educators we need, including scholarships of up to $34,000 for those studying an early childhood teaching qualification and incentive payments of up to $9,000 for those who choose to teach in roll-out areas.

Three-Year-Old Kindergarten will roll out progressively, with families in a further 15 regional LGAs to benefit in 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.

At full roll-out, an estimated 90,000 children each year will be receiving this important educational boost.

The Victorian Budget 2019/20 invested $881.6 million to get started on the Three-Year-Old Kindergarten roll-out.

Quote attributable to Parliamentary Secretary for Early Childhood Education Sonya Kilkenny

“The evidence is clear that children who start kindergarten at the age of three gain long-lasting benefits. It’s fantastic to see funded universal Three-Year-Old Kinder starting in regional areas including Stawell and Minyip first.”

Quote attributable to Member for Western Victoria Jaala Pulford

“This is an incredibly exciting time for Wimmera families and children, who will be among the first in Australia to benefit from funded universal Three-Year-Old Kinder.”