Wednesday 13 June 2018

Thousands of little Victorians – including here in Gippsland will benefit from new equipment, toys, learning kits and more to ensure they get the most of their early years’ education – regardless of ability.

Minister for Early Childhood Education Jenny Mikakos has announced 219 kinders across Victoria have been successful in securing grants for new equipment, such as wheelchair ramps, moveable change tables, sensory playkits, adjustable chairs and Braille books.

The grants include funding for:

• Warragul Community Kindergarten granted $9,647 for equipment for children with high-level needs
• Poowong Kindergarten in South Gippsland granted $3,551 for resources to support inclusion of all children
• Westdale Kindergarten in Bairnsdale granted $2,511 for protective and sensory inclusive equipment
• Mirboo North Kindergarten granted $5,848 for Equipment to support children with sensory processing disorders
• Grace Berglund Kindergarten in Warragul granted $2,548 for equipment that supports the inclusion of children with autism and sensory processing and mobility issues
• Oak Street Kindergarten in Drouin granted $5,426 for equipment that supports the inclusion of children
• Drouin Early Learning centre granted $9,986 to support literacy and numeracy to provide an inclusive environment for children of Indigenous culture and background
• Longwarry Preschool granted $2,034 for inclusion
• Erica Preschool granted $5,613 for the full inclusion of children of all abilities
• Koo Wee Rup Preschool granted $4,529 for the purchase of equipment to assist with the provision of an inclusive kindergarten program
• Lang Lang Preschool granted $3,053 for the purchase of inclusion equipment
• Gippsland Lakes Community Health Children’s Centre in Lakes entrance granted $7,515 for Every One Can
• Lakes Entrance Preschool granted $2,639 for the creation of an all-inclusive safe outdoor play space
• Sale North Kindergarten granted $5,663 for the purchase of wooden blocks for outdoor use
• Longford Kindergarten granted $8,018 for all abilities playground equipment
• Dala Lidj Woolum Bellum in Morwell granted $9,117 for inclusive resources
• Nar Nar Goon Kindergarten granted $2,127 for Inclusion equipment
• Bunyip Kindergarten granted $6,411 for inclusion equipment

The Inclusive Kindergartens Facilities Program provides up to $10,000 per kinder for one or more items that promote inclusiveness and diversity.

In total, the 219 kinders – from Mildura to Horsham, Shepparton and Gippsland – will share in more than $1.2 million worth of funding.

Westdale Kindergarten in Bairnsdale will be able to increase the safety of children of all needs and abilities by installing protective pole covers and be able to introduce new sensory equipment for children with disabilities and additional needs to increase engagement and inclusion.

Mirboo North Kindergarten will be able to purchase equipment to support children in developing their sensory processing skills and abilities, specifically those with a diagnosed sensory processing disorder

These grants are the first to be provided through the new $6.4 million Inclusive Kindergartens Facilities Program – a Victorian-first initiative.

The program will also provide kinders with up to $200,000 to upgrade buildings and playgrounds to make them more inclusive through the buildings and playgrounds stream.

The Labor Government has invested a record $123.6 million to build, expand and improve early years infrastructure across Victoria to ensure local families can continue to access great local kindergartens.

It builds on the Labor Government’s landmark $202.1 million Education State Early Childhood Reform Plan, which recognises the importance of giving families support in early childhood so kids are ready for kinder, ready for school and ready for life.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Early Childhood Education Jenny Mikakos

“Building the Education State begins with the early years – and all kids deserve the very best start to their education, regardless of their ability.”

“These grants are about ensuring our littlest Victorians get the support they need to thrive.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Harriet Shing

“It’s wonderful to know kids in Gippsland will benefit from even more inclusive, welcoming environments when at kinder.”

“Whether it’s wheelchair access ramps or adjustable change tables – we’re helping delivering world-class and welcoming environments for all Victorian children.”