Goodstart has welcomed the Victorian Government’s pledge to provide two years of kindergarten before school instead of one, giving children a better opportunity to develop the skills they need for school and life.
The Victorian Government has commenced rolling out funded kindergarten for 3 year-olds in selected local government areas.
By 2029 the government will have completed the roll out, with all Victorian 3 year-old children encouraged to attend at least 15 hours of kindergarten each week.
Madeleine Saffigna, the Victorian Head of Practice Improvement said it was pleasing to see the Victorian Government responding to research into the value of early learning, as well as the needs of children and families.
“The evidence shows us that two years of early learning has more benefits than one year prior to school,” Madeleine said.
“It’s in these formative years that children experience a rapid period of brain development, and we know quality early learning during this time has life-long positive outcomes for children.”
Research shows that for every dollar invested in early learning, Australia receives $2 back over the course of a child’s life, as the skills they develop in the early years means children achieve better education and employment outcomes later in life.
“We know children who start behind tend to stay behind, and those differences are measurable from a very early age,” Madeleine said.
“That’s why at Goodstart we’ve advocated to state and federal governments to increase investment in the early years, and why we work with families and communities to address barriers to participating in early learning programs.”
Madeleine said Goodstart centres already offered individualised kindergarten programs developed and run by university-educated Early Childhood Teachers, and a team of highly-trained and experienced Educators.
Teams also work with Goodstart’s Social Inclusion Team, agencies, and families to reach out to families facing disadvantage, or whose children need extra support, and help them access the early learning programs they need to help their children thrive.
Madeleine said the Victorian Government’s move to a two-year funded Kindergarten program would be a benefit for many children and families across the state.
“This extra funding from the Victorian Government will help more families access quality early learning earlier and give more children the best possible start in life.”