In an Australian first, School Readiness Funding will provide around $160 million in extra support to funded kindergartens over the next four years. The funding can be used to enhance kindergarten programs and improve outcomes for children, particularly children more likely to experience educational disadvantage. It is a new and permanent part of kindergarten funding in Victoria and is allocated to services on the basis of need, so children who need extra support get it.
Getting the most out of kindergarten
One in five Victorian children start school ‘developmentally vulnerable’, according to the 2015 Australian Early Development Census, and the impact of this can be felt across a lifetime.
Quality early learning programs, especially kindergarten, make the world of difference when it comes to supporting children’s learning and development. School Readiness Funding acknowledges that children’s early learning experiences are crucial to their success in later life, and educators build and shape those skills that will see children flourish.
How School Readiness Funding will make a difference
School Readiness Funding is designed to give all Victorian children an equal chance to thrive by providing all kindergartens with extra resourcing to improve educational outcomes for children.
Funding for kindergarten services ranges from $1,000 for those with the lowest level of need to above $200,000 for a small number of services with large numbers of children and very high levels of need.
The level of need of the kindergarten service is informed by the parental occupation and education data (Student Family Occupation and Education data) of the children attending the service. It is collected by the kindergarten service when children are enrolled, and helps ensure that kindergarten services that need the most funding, receive the most.
Kindergarten services will be able to use their funding to support the cohort of children in their kindergarten program, with an initial focus on three priority areas that are essential for children’s learning and development:
- communication (language development)
- wellbeing (social and emotional)
- access and inclusion.
menu of evidence-informed programs and supports brings together items that support the three priority areas. Services will match the needs of their children and families with the menu items that are best suited to support them.
The funding will also allow services to engage with professional support such as speech pathologists, occupational therapists, and language and literacy experts who will help children by building the capability of families and educators.