To support educators and ECEC services in enhancing school readiness, the Victorian Government has announced a kinder funding boost for not-for-profit sessional kindergarten programs across the state. This also supports families by giving them access to free kindergarten in response to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sessional kindergarten will remain free for eligible services following the announcement of additional funding to support children as they transition to school. It has been a tough year for many families and early childhood services, with the coronavirus pandemic resulting in personal challenges, centre closures, employment uncertainty, job losses and more.
Children, parents and educators have worked hard to keep learning through play even when early childhood education and care services were not accessible and this new funding is set to provide additional help to ensure that children are school-ready.
Kinder funding boost to maximise Term 4 outcomes
Early childhood education’s vital role in communities is recognised and bolstered by the Government’s announcement of $26.7 million in extra funding for Term 4. This funding is intended to ensure kindergartens have the resources needed to maximise school readiness for children.
Services have worked hard to support families and staff throughout the year and have put immense effort into COVIDSafe plans to ensure safe access to early childhood services for all families and educators. Around 1,700 kindergartens will share in over $3.7 million committed to early childhood education and care service for Term 4 this year.
Kinder funding boost to support school readiness
In addition to this free kindergarten initiative, eligible early childhood education services will have access to School Readiness Funding. Transitioning from kindergarten to school is a momentous time in a child’s life. School Readiness Funding is to support educators in equipping children for this transition to formal schooling.
This school readiness initiative enables services in Victoria offering a funded kindergarten program to access funding for a range of approved programs from the School Readiness Funding menu that have been proven to enhance children’s school readiness.
Whether your service is a funded kindergarten program only or a long day care centre with a funded kindergarten program, you will be eligible receive the school readiness funding. The Department should contact your service to let you know what your funding allocation will be and when you can access it. Program offerings under the School Readiness Funding include:
- programs and services that target speech, language and literacy
- allied health (speech therapists, psychologists, occupational therapists)
- programs and services that support trauma informed practice, secure attachment and mental health
- resources and programs to support the social and emotional wellbeing of children
- support for cultural and linguistically diverse children and families
- support for parents to support their child’s development.
When choosing how to spend your funding allocation, take care to consider the needs and gaps in your kindergarten program.
How your ECEC service and children will benefit
The funding for Victorian kindergarten programs will allow them to create more hours, additional educator hours for extra transition activities, facilitate more one-on-one time with children and other case-by-case needs that will improve children’s readiness to start primary school. Services don’t need to apply for these kinder funding initiatives and will receive communication of their funding entitlements.
For more information about the funding boost for not-for-profit sessional kindergarten programs, head here. To find out when your region can expect School Readiness Funding, click here. See the full media release in regard to Term 4 kindergarten funding in Victoria here.
The challenges of this year have the potential to bring about setbacks for children’s learning and development, including repercussions well into the future for children’s education.
Thankfully, these funding initiatives for kindergartens across Victoria recognise these challenges and seek to help children make up for lost time in 2020 and continue to thrive at kindergarten and well into their formal years of primary school and beyond.
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