Aboriginal Children Early Years Support

Early years programs and services for Aboriginal children and their families.

Supporting children and their families in the early years of development and learning is a key strategy to ensuring successful future outcomes for all children, including Aboriginal children.

In Victoria, Aboriginal children and their families have access to the full range of early childhood services and additional targeted services for those that need them.

Services include:

Aboriginal Best Start

The Best Start program focuses on children experiencing vulnerability. There are 30 Best Start sites, six of which are Aboriginal Best Start sites.

Aboriginal Best Start projects have been established to make sure that local Aboriginal communities and organisations are given every possible opportunity to influence outcomes for their children and families.

To speak with someone about Aboriginal Best Start, contact Victorian Aboriginal Community Services Association Ltd. on (03) 9416 4266.

Indigenous Kindergarten Program

Koorie Engagement Support Officers

Koorie engagement support officers (KESOs) are employed by the Department to support Aboriginal families in accessing the broad range of services and supports they need to ensure the best start in life for Aboriginal children from birth through to to the time they complete school.

They provide advice and practical support to services that provide funded kindergarten programs. They assist them in delivering programs that are respectful of cultural beliefs and practices for Koorie children, such as:

  • increase and enhance the participation of Koorie children in kindergarten
  • promote the values of kindergarten programs within Koorie families and communities
  • promote cultural awareness and provide access to resources for all kindergarten programs
  • liaise between Koorie families and kindergarten programssupport the Koorie Preschool Assistants’ program.

You can contact a KESO through your regional office

Koorie Preschool Assistants

The Koorie Preschool Assistants Program (KPSA) program is supported by community-based organisations.

Koorie preschool assistants work with kindergarten programs to:

  • enhance the access and participation of Koorie children in kindergarten programs
  • promote and assist in the delivery of Koorie inclusive programs
  • provide information and support to Koorie families and communities
  • support the attendance of Koorie children in kindergarten programs
  • encourage the involvement and participation of Koorie parents, families and carers in the development of kindergarten programs
  • assist in the development of kindergarten programs that embrace Koorie culture.

For more information about early years services (including kindergarten programs):

  • contact your local council
  • call the Aboriginal Early Years team on (03) 9651 3353
  • call the Koorie education coordinator at your regional office
  • see the Kindergarten Inclusion Support Kits

Three-year-old kindergarten for Aboriginal children

Aboriginal children already have access to a funded four year old kindergarten program with a fee subsidy available for four year old children.

Three year old kindergarten provides Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children an opportunity to access up to 15 hours a week of a funded early childhood program planned and delivered by a qualified early childhood teacher.

This initiative enables a higher proportion of three year old Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children access to a high quality kindergarten program.

Aboriginal children will therefore have access to two years of a funded kindergarten program prior to commencing school.

For more information about kindergarten programs:

  • contact your local council
  • call the Koorie education coordinator at your regional office

In-home support

The In-home Support initiative is assisting Aboriginal families to strengthen, support and improve their parenting capacity and so improve the health, development, learning and wellbeing of Aboriginal children aged 0-3 years.

This support will be provided in a way that is respectful of their cultural identity and promotes Aboriginal children and family wellbeing.

For more information, contact:

  • Aboriginal Early Years team on (03) 9907 6680
  • Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Inc. on (03) 9481 0800

Home-based learning

The Home-based Learning program is for parents/families of children aged 3-5 years and is being implemented as an extension of the In-home Support Program.

The Home-based Learning program will assist Aboriginal families to provide improved home learning environments for young children and empower parents as the primary educators of their children in the home in order to maximise the chances of successful kindergarten and early school experiences.

The program will provide adjustment to schooling preparation, assistance to Aboriginal children and families to complement kindergarten using the In-home Support/Home-based Learning programs curriculum framework.

There are currently two Home-based Learning programs at the Mildura Aboriginal Corporation, Mildura and Swan Hill Aboriginal Health Service, Swan Hill.

For more information, contact:

  • Aboriginal Early Years team on (03) 9907 6680
  • Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Inc. on (03) 9481 0800

Koorie maternity service

Koorie maternity services deliver culturally appropriate maternity care for Aboriginal women or women having Aboriginal babies, and their families.