Department program

Helping Children to be Ready for School, Ready for Life

School readiness funding will provide extra support to kindergartens to help more children reach school developmentally on track.

Not every child has an equal chance to thrive at kindergarten—and those who struggle might never catch up. This 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

As part of the ambitious Education State Early Childhood Reform Plan, the Victorian Government is delivering $58.1 million over four years in school readiness funding: an Australian first. This additional funding will mean kindergartens can enhance their programs for children who need extra support.

School readiness funding is a crucial element of improving learning and development outcomes for all Victorian children, 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 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.

For early childhood professionals

School readiness funding

Getting the most out of kindergarten

One in five Victorian children starts school ‘developmentally vulnerable’, according to the 2015 Australian Early Development Census, and those who start behind tend to stay behind.

Quality early learning programs, especially kindergarten, make the world of difference when it comes to getting children on the right track.

We know that a child’s early learning experiences are crucial to their success in later life, and teachers and educators build and shape those skills that will see them flourish. But some children, through circumstances beyond their control, need extra assistance to get the most out of kindergarten.

For these children to be given the same chance as their peers to reach school developmentally on track, they require a deeper level of support that is better tailored to their needs.    

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.

Services will be able to use their funding to support children in their kindergarten program, with an initial focus on three priority areas.

These are areas that research shows are key to reaching school on track:   

  • communication (language development)
  • wellbeing (social and emotional regulation)   
  • inclusion and access (creating supportive and inclusive learning environments and making sure all children can participate in quality early learning programs).

The Department is currently developing a menu of evidence, which will bring together a selection of programs and services backed by research with proven results.

This might include:   

  • an innovative new early literacy program
  • a professional toolkit to promote social development
  • engaging professional support, such as a speech therapist, to work with children and build the knowledge and skills of educators and families.

Services will be able to match the needs of their children and families with the resources best suited to support them.