Wednesday, 28th June

The Andrews Labor Government is increasing the number of Koorie children attending kindergartens in Gippsland by expanding a successful campaign.

The campaign reinforces to Koorie families in Gippsland that it is never too late to enrol their children and ensure they benefit from free, high quality learning programs in the two years before school.

Koorie kindergarten participation rates reached record levels last year, following the campaign’s launch in 2015 and a number of initiatives supporting Koorie education through Marrung – Aboriginal Education Plan 2016-2026.

Koorie kindergarten participation rates in four-year-old kindergarten reached 90.5 per cent in 2016, up from 79.6 per cent in 2014. Three-year-old participation rates increased to 48.8 per cent in 2016, up from 37.1 per cent in 2014.

But there is still work to do and this year’s campaign will include new improved promotional materials and a new focus on targeting key events like the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day and NAIDOC Week, all developed in consultation with Victoria’s Aboriginal community.

Research shows that children who have a stimulating, supportive and healthy start to life are more likely to do well later in life, and children who attend kinder score between 10 and 20 points higher on NAPLAN tests.

The awareness campaign supports the $202.1 million Early Childhood Reform Plan launched earlier this year, which includes $55.3 million to help kindergartens make sure all children start school ready, and $5.4 million to support the Koorie Parents as First Educators and Koorie Supported Playgroups initiatives.

The ground-breaking Reform Plan was announced in this year’s Victorian Budget 2017/18, and recognises the importance of providing families with strong support in early childhood so kids are ready for kinder and ready for school.

The 10-year Marrung – Aboriginal Education Plan will help Koorie families access the early childhood, school, and vocational education and training services they need for a strong start in life.

Quotes attributable to Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Harriet Shing:

“This is about closing the gap and ensuring more Koorie kids in Gippsland can access kindergarten so they can get the best possible start in life.”

“We’re seeing real progress on improving the participation of Koorie kids in kindergarten, and programs like Koorie Kids Shine are helping deliver more inclusive and quality services.”