Department program

Helping children to be ready for school, ready for life

​School readiness funding will provide extra support to kindergartens to help children to get the most out of their early learning.

Not every child has an equal chance to thrive at kindergarten. School readiness funding will mean that, regardless of their circumstances, more children will benefit from the boost that quality learning in the early years provides.

Leading the nation in early childhood reform

School readiness funding is a crucial element of improving learning and development outcomes for all Victorian children, especially those experiencing educational disadvantage, with additional funding supporting kindergartens that need it the most.

Kindergartens can use their funding on a range of supports, resources and expertise proven to enrich their programs and practices based on the needs of their children.

The funding will allow services to engage with professional support such as speech therapists, occupational therapists and language and literacy experts, who can help children and build the capability of families and educators.

Being rolled out from next year, school readiness funding will:

  • become a permanent part of the Victorian kindergarten system 
  • boost the total amount of funding to kindergartens by around 10 per cent.

Getting the most out of kindergarten

One in five Victorian children starts 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. We know that a child’s early learning experiences are crucial to their success in later life, and educators build and shape those skills that will see them flourish.

Some children need extra assistance to get the most out of kindergarten.

How school readiness funding will make a difference

School readiness funding is designed to give all Victorian children an equal chance to develop their confidence, resilience and readiness to learn by providing all services with a funded kindergarten program with extra resources to support children with the greatest need.

Those services in the first roll out areas have now received their indicative funding allocations for next year, ranging from $1,000 for those with the lowest level of need to more than $200,000 for those with the highest level of need.

Services will be able to use their funding to support children in their kindergarten program, with an initial focus on three priority areas that are essential for child development and school readiness:

  • communication (language development)
  • wellbeing (social and emotional regulation)   
  • access and inclusion

We have developed a menu of evidence-informed programs and supports, which brings together a selection of effective programs and services that supports the three priority areas.

Services will match the needs of their children and families with the resources best suited to support them. The funding will allow services to engage with professional support such as speech therapists, occupational therapists, and language and literacy experts who can help children build the capability of families and educators.

Other menu items include internationally sourced specialist programs to support language, social and emotional development, as well as resources to strengthen teaching practice.

The funding can also be used to employ additional educators, to maximise the amount of one-to-one learning for children.

The menu provides items that are free and low cost to support all kindergartens, even those who aren’t in the 2019 roll out areas. More than half of all items on the menu cost less than $1,000.