Wednesday, 24th June 2020

Kinder kids in the Latrobe Valley will benefit from extra support for their learning and development, thanks to the Victorian Government’s Australian-first School Readiness Funding program.

Member for Eastern Victoria, Harriet Shing MP today announced that all kindergarten services in the Latrobe Valley will receive funding to help them access a range of evidence-based programs and engage with professional support including speech pathologists and occupational therapists, who can help children and build the capability of families and educators.

The initiative is on track to be rolled out across the state by 2021, to support even more Victorian children.

The Labor Government’s $160 million investment over four years in this permanent needs-based funding is designed to help all Victorian children – especially those experiencing educational disadvantage – to get the most out of their kindergarten programs.

It is the first time in Australia such funding has been made available to kindergarten programs. It is a permanent part of Victoria’s early childhood education funding.

In 2020, around 28,500 children in 800 kindergarten programs across 32 LGAs and all Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations delivering a kindergarten program benefited from the funding.

In 2021, all kindergarten programs in Victoria will receive the funding, reaching approximately 2,400 services in total.

The funding is designed to improve educational programs for Victorian children enrolled in a kindergarten program in the areas of communication (language development), wellbeing (social and emotional), and access and inclusion.

Australian research shows that one in five Victorian children start school developmentally vulnerable and once behind, it can be harder to catch up.

Making Victoria the Education State starts with the early years – which is why the Victorian Government is also investing $5 billion over a decade to deliver funded universal Three-Year-Old Kindergarten.

Up to 15 hours of funded universal Three-Year-Old Kindergarten is being progressively rolled out from 2020, with children in South Gippsland, Buloke, Hindmarsh, Northern Grampians, Strathbogie and Yarriambiack benefitting this year, and a further 15 LGAs to come online in 2021.

Quotes attributable to Member for Eastern Victoria, Harriet Shing MP

“School Readiness Funding will mean that each child in the Latrobe Valley will have a more equitable chance to thrive at kindergarten, regardless of their circumstances.

“We’re helping children very early in their education journey and setting them up to be lifelong learners.”