Support is available for funded kindergartens to plan and implement a program that is responsive to the individual abilities, interests and needs of children with a disability, developmental delay or complex medical needs.
The Kindergarten Inclusion Support Program (KIS) is designed to contribute to the delivery of quality kindergarten programs in line with the
National Quality Framework and the
Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework.
The support from KIS programs is in addition to the existing resources available to the kindergarten staff and may not fully cover all costs.
The KIS program:
- provides assistance to complement early childhood teacher knowledge and skills, while acknowledging their expertise in supporting children’s learning and development
- supports early childhood teachers to build their capacity to develop and implement an inclusive program
- supports early childhood teachers to contribute to positive outcomes for children, as defined in the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework
- responds to the child’s abilities and strengths, as well as their needs by supporting the kindergarten to enhance their learning and development.
Inclusive programs encourage and allow all children genuine opportunities to access and participate in kindergarten programs.
There are a range of
resources available to support kindergartens to implement an inclusive program.
Types of KIS Programs
This program is designed to enhance the kindergarten’s capacity to support the access and participation of children with a disability or developmental delay and high support needs
Complex medical needs
This program is designed to enhance the kindergarten’s capacity to provide an inclusive program for children with complex medical needs who do not have disability. These children need a high level of health care support without which they are unable to access a funded kindergarten program.
Support available through the KIS disability and complex medical needs programs
Extra assistance from the KIS disability and complex medical needs programs may include:
- specialist training and consultancy for early childhood educators to meet the individual needs of a child with a disability and high support needs or complex medical needs. This may include reasonable adjustments and modifications of the kindergarten program.
- minor building modifications such as ramps and grip rails to support the child’s attendance and participation
- additional staffing support. KIS funded additional assistants work as part of the team delivering the kindergarten program to all children in the group. They should not work exclusively with the child identified in the KIS application. They also cannot be used to increase staff levels to meet licensing requirements.
Additional assistants take direction from the early childhood teacher. They share the everyday team responsibilities to make sure that all children have the opportunity to engage with the learning and development experiences provided within the kindergarten program.
Additional assistants should not supervise a child or a group of children without another educator, employed by the kindergarten, present. This is also relevant when running an indoor/outdoor program and in single early childhood teacher programs.
KIS in long daycare and centre-based services
There have been recent changes to Commonwealth funding which can be accessed by long day care (LDC) and centre-based services. The Commonwealth Inclusion Support Programs Guidelines were extended to allow all Commonwealth-funded services offering a State-based program, the opportunity to explore Commonwealth 'Additional Educator Funding' during their kindergarten programs, once the Kindergarten Inclusion Support (KIS) program has been thoroughly explored as a resource option.
The advice below clarifies how to access both State and Commonwealth support.
- LDC services can apply for the KIS program for their Victorian Government-funded kindergarten programs.
- Once the KIS program application outcome is known, services are then able to contact the Victorian Inclusion Agency, working with their Inclusion Professional (IP), to explore the possibility of accessing Commonwealth Inclusion Development Fund (IDF) Additional Educator Funding.
- If the KIS application results, for example, in support that does not cover the 15 hours of the kindergarten program, then LDC service may discuss further support opportunities with their IP. This could lead to a combination approach using both funding options to ensure support is provided. An example could be when a service has successfully applied and received 10.5 hours of KIS, with an additional 4.5 hours of IDF.
- During all Commonwealth-funded hours, services can explore the possibility of accessing up to 25 hours of IDF funding as appropriate with their IP.
Victorian Inclusion Agency IPs work collaboratively with all Victorian Commonwealth-funded services to ensure the highest levels of inclusion can be achieved via accessing appropriate resources. While IPs can give tailored support to services navigating Commonwealth funding streams, they will refer all services back to appropriate State resources when initial support is being sought for the services' kindergarten programs.
Team approach to inclusion
All members of the team in the kindergarten environment contribute to the education of all children in the group.
The benefits of a team approach are:
- The early childhood teacher has increased capacity to provide a flexible program that responds to the needs of each child in the group.
- The kindergarten promotes understanding of and respect for diversity to children and families/carers.
- All children are supported to develop trusting relationships with all staff members. These relationships support children to develop a sense of belonging to the group and the broader community. This helps them feel that they are contributing to their world; becoming confident and involved learners with a strong sense of self.
- Families feel confident that the whole team has knowledge and understanding of their child’s interests, strengths and abilities
For more information about the KIS disability and complex medical needs program contact the regional advisory group convenor for your area:
South western Victoria region
LGAs: Greater Geelong, Colac-Otway, Corangamite, Glenelg, Moyne, Southern Grampians, Surf Coast, Queenscliff and Rural City of Warrnambool, contact:
Gateways Support Services
10-12 Albert Street, Geelong West, 3218
Tel (03) 5221 2984
LGAs: Brimbank, Hobsons Bay, Maribyrnong, Melbourne, Melton, Moonee Valley and Wyndham, contact:
PO Box 3217, Broadmeadows, 3047
Tel (03) 9351 3600
LGAs: City of Ballarat, Rural City of Ararat, Golden Plains, Hepburn, Moorabool and Pyrenees, contact:
Pinarc Disability Support
PO Box 1841, Bakery Hill Business Centre, Ballarat, 3354
Tel (03) 5329 1300
LGAs: Rural City of Horsham, Hindmarsh, Northern Grampians, West Wimmera and Yarriambiak, contact:
PO Box 3402, Horsham 3410
Tel (03) 5382 6789
South eastern Victoria region
LGAs: Bass Coast, Baw Baw, East Gippsland, South Gippsland, Wellington, contact:
3 Church Street, Leongatha, 3953
Tel (03) 5662 5150
LGAs: Latrobe, contact:
Latrobe City Council
PO Box 264, Morwell, 3840
Tel (03) 5128 5645
LGAs: Bayside, Cardinia, Casey, Frankston, Glen Eira, Greater Dandenong, Kingston, Mornington, Port Phillip, Stonnington, contact:
PO Box 5435, Cranbourne 3977
Tel (03) 5990 9640
North western Victoria region
LGAs: Buloke, Campaspe, Central Goldfields, Gannawarra, Greater Bendigo, Loddon, Macedon Ranges, Mildura, Mount Alexander, Swan Hill, contact:
Noah's Ark Inc.
10 Merino Court, East Bendigo, 3550
Tel 0433 884 052
LGAs: Banyule, Darebin, Hume, Moreland, Nillumbik, Whittlesea, Yarra, contact:
PO Box 3217, Broadmeadows, 3047
Tel (03) 9351 3600
North eastern Victoria region
LGAs: Alpine, Benalla, Shepparton, Indigo, Mansfield, Mitchell, Moira, Murrindindi, Strathbogie, Towong, Wangaratta, Wodonga, contact:
SCOPE - Ovens Murray and Goulburn Region (East)
PO Box 128, Benalla, 3672
Tel (03) 5762 7121
LGAs: Boroondara, Whitehorse, Knox, Manningham, Maroondah, Monash, Yarra Ranges, contact:
PO Box 354, Ringwood 3134
Tel (03) 8870 4017