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 start Three-Year-Old Kindergarten from today.

Minister for Education James Merlino today 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.