The Government is investing almost $5 billion over ten years so that every Victorian three-year-old will have access to a subsidised kindergarten program.
This will mean that an extra year of play-based learning, led by a qualified teacher, will be added to Victorian children's education. These funded programs will be offered in both sessional kindergartens and in long day care settings.
As the first state or territory in Australia to introduce subsidised kindergarten programs to all three-year-olds, the Victorian Government is bringing our state into line with leading education systems worldwide.
From 2020, the initiative will roll out in stages, with services in six local government areas (LGAs) being funded to offer up to 15 hours of kindergarten to three-year-olds. The LGAs in the first roll-out year include: Buloke, Hindmarsh, Northern Grampians, South Gippsland, Strathbogie and Yarriambiack.
In 2021, a further 15 LGAs will be funded to offer up to 15 hours of kindergarten to three-year-olds. These areas are: Alpine, Ararat, Campaspe, Central Goldfields, Colac-Otway, Corangamite, East Gippsland, Glenelg, Hepburn, Indigo, Loddon, Murrindindi, Southern Grampians, Towong and West Wimmera.
These first roll-out areas were chosen based on their current capacity and ability to deliver these programs. The phased approach to roll out will help the Department of Education and Training (DET) to provide the best possible support to services and providers.
From 2022, every three-year-old Victorian child across the state will have access to at least five hours of kindergarten delivered by a qualified teacher. Kindergartens will then scale up their hours to reach the full 15-hour program by 2029.
The Government has committed $1.68 billion over the next decade to support almost 1,000 new and upgraded kindergartens across the state. This will ensure that all children have the right learning environments and facilities, no matter where they live.
We will be developing and growing the early childhood workforce, including expanding the Free TAFE initiative to include:
- Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care
- Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care.
Scholarships will be available for those looking to take the next step to become degree-qualified teachers. Educators and teachers will also be supported with a range of professional learning opportunities, and provided with resources and ways to strengthen day-to-day practice.
Work to help services and practitioners to prepare for the implementation is currently underway. DET will be providing the sector with opportunities, such as workshops and supporting the sector will be available soon.
DET will work closely with local government, service providers, peak bodies, experts and unions during the roll-out periods to support the work of teachers and educators. A consultative committee with members from across the sector has also been established to advise on key elements of the roll-out.