Universal Three-Year-Old Kinder Arrives In Victoria

The Andrews Labor Government’s landmark reform to early childhood education has arrived, as hundreds of children in regional Victoria started Three-Year-Old Kindergarten from yesterday.

Yesterday the Minister for Education James Merlino joined early childhood staff, children and families at Leongatha Children’s Centre to mark its first day of funded universal Three-Year-Old Kindergarten.

It is part of the Labor Government’s almost $5 billion decade-long reform to make two years of funded universal kindergarten programs available for all children across the state – in an Australian-first.

Thirty-six kindergarten services across the six local government areas (LGAs) will deliver up to 15 hours each week of programs for three-year-olds in 2020.

Around 560 children are enrolled in funded Three-Year-Old Kindergarten programs, which will start over the coming week in South Gippsland, Buloke, Hindmarsh, Northern Grampians, Strathbogie and Yarriambiack.

In addition, 80,000 children will attend four-year-old programs across Victoria.

Three-Year-Old Kindergarten will roll out progressively, with families in a further 15 regional LGAs to benefit in 2021. This will be expanded in 2022 to give three-year-olds across the rest of the state access to five hours of funded kindergarten, before being scaled up to a full 15-hour program by 2029.

At full roll-out, an estimated 90,000 children each year will be receiving this important educational boost.

The Victorian Budget 2019/20 invested $881.6 million to start the roll out of Three-Year-Old Kindergarten, which has already created 20 new teacher and 20 new educator roles in the first six LGAs.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino

“This is an incredibly exciting time for families across the first roll-out areas, whose children are among the first in Australia to benefit from funded universal Three-Year-Old Kinder.”

“Universal access to Three-Year-Old Kinder is one of the most significant reforms we can make to education – giving children academic, social and emotional benefits that last into their school years and beyond.”

“Making Victoria the Education State starts with the early years. Our record investment and reforms in early childhood education are leading the nation and ensuring every child gets the best start in life.”

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