Department of Education
5 Apr 2023

The Early Childhood Update e-newsletter is sent to early childhood teachers and workers, but is open to anyone interested in best practice in early years education and evidence-based teaching approaches. Subscribe here to receive the e-newsletter.

Recognising your continued efforts

In this edition, we cover recent initiatives in early childhood education, including a $159 million workforce package, 2024 kindergarten enrolments, and supports for inclusive programs.

Dear early childhood education and care services,

We’re fast approaching the Easter break and the end of Term 1, 2023. It’s been a busy start to the year, with the uplift (in many services) in Three-Year-Kindergarten hours, the introduction of Free Kinder, the Best Start, Best Life reform consultation starting, more than 4,500 early childhood staff completing training to support the roll-out of the Child Information Sharing Scheme, and the Educational Leaders Conference already done and dusted.

You may have also seen that the Victorian Government has announced a new $159 million workforce package to provide an immediate boost to support the early childhood sector to attract, retain and develop the talented and dedicated professionals needed over the next 10 years. This is on top of the $210 million already committed. We’ll share more information about this package of workforce supports in the next issue of Early Childhood Update.

We’ve reached a key milestone in the year, with enrolments for 2024 kindergarten programs starting to open across the state. The department has now launched its state-wide advertising campaign to ask families to look for the Kinder Tick and enrol for next year. We’re advertising in a range of languages in media read and listened to by culturally and linguistically diverse audiences. We’re also providing communications resources to support you to promote 2024 kindergarten program enrolments on your service’s own channels. You can find the new materials here: Communicating about kindergarten to your community.

Helping families who may need some extra support to learn about, enrol and engage with early childhood education is especially important. Inclusion is at the heart of the Best Start, Best Life reform. I want to take this opportunity to recognise your continued efforts in building inclusive and responsive programs that seek to meet children’s individual learning needs. A reminder, too, that all funded services are required to follow the Priority of Access guidelines in enrolling children, including those with additional needs.

I also encourage services to learn more about how to optimise existing supports available to ensure all children get the best out of kindergarten – such as, Preschool Field Officers, Kindergarten Inclusion Support and School Readiness Funding. Please speak to your local Early Childhood Improvement Branch if you’d like advice on how to use the range of existing supports and policies to enable participation and create a welcoming and inclusive environment.

Lastly, I’d like to acknowledge all you’ve done to support children and families across this term, and to thank you for your work. Victoria is truly the best place in Australia, if not the world, to be or raise a child, and that's because of your commitment and professionalism.

I hope you are able to take a moment over the coming weeks to slow down, decompress a little and enjoy some restorative time with your family and friends.

Kim Little
Deputy Secretary
Early Childhood Education

Enrolments for Foundation (Prep) 2024 open in Term 2, 2023

Access and share primary school enrolment information with families.

A young child with a big pink backpack holds her parent's hand as the walk toward the school gates.

For Victorian government schools, enrolments in Foundation (Prep) for the 2024 school year will open from Monday 24 April 2023, the start of Term 2.

We have developed the Enrolling in Foundation (Prep) web page to make the enrolment process simpler, clearer and fairer for families.

We are asking all parents and carers to apply to enrol their child in primary school for next year by Friday 28 July 2023.

All Victorian government primary schools will follow this timeline.

There are no changes to the Transition Learning and Development Statement or transition-to-school processes.

How you can support families

To help families to understand the enrolment timeline, please refer to the enrolment information pack for the early childhood education sector on the Enrolling in Foundation (Prep) web page.

The pack has information about the enrolment process that you can provide to families and staff, with resources including a poster, fact sheet, social media content and newsletter text. Please share these resources through your own communications channels.

The Enrolling in Foundation (Prep) web page also includes information and resources for families to access directly, including an enrolment information pack and fact sheet. The fact sheet is available in English, as well as Arabic, Chinese (simplified), Dari and Vietnamese.

Find out more

For more information and resources about the enrolment timeline, refer to Enrolling in Foundation (Prep).

For more information about transition to school, refer to moving to primary school, which has resources including:

Beginning Teacher Conferences and career supports

Registrations are open for the conferences, beginning June 2023. Other supports are also available for teachers early in their career.

A group of four women watching a presentation together. One woman turns toward the camera, smiling.

Registrations are open for the 2023 Beginning Teacher Conference series, beginning Thursday 1 June 2023.

The free conference series is focused on preparing and inspiring new teaching professionals at the beginning of their careers in early childhood education.

The conferences will help early childhood teachers seek solutions to the issues that are most relevant to their day-to-day work and support them in applying theory in their teaching practice.

To strengthen the 2023 program, we have updated the conference format to include workshops to support small-group discussions on practice and pedagogy.

The 2023 conference series is available both online and in person, at the Victorian Academy of Teaching and Leadership in the Melbourne CBD.

Conference details

Conference dates are:

  • Thursday 1 June 2023 (online): 9 am to 3 pm.
  • Friday 23 June 2023 (in person): 9 am to 3 pm
  • Friday 25 August 2023 (online): 9 am to 3 pm
  • Wednesday 25 October 2023 (in person): 9 am to 3 pm.

Please visit the Beginning Teacher Conferences website to register for the session you’d like to join.

End-to-end career supports

The department also provides supports for early career early childhood teachers to underpin the continued development of high-quality practice aligned to the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework.

In addition to helping teachers early in their careers, the supports are tailored to assist educators who are upskilling and leading a kindergarten program under ‘funding by exception’ or transitional funding arrangements.

Visit the program website to access supports, including:

  • individualised coaching to support the development of practice for early childhood teachers and eligible educators in their first year of practice
  • Communities of Practice for teachers and educators in their second to fifth years of practice
  • an Alumni Network to help coaching and/or Communities of Practice participants stay connected and share their professional growth and expertise.

Find out more

For further information, refer to Beginning Teacher Conferences and the End-to-end career supports website.

Coaching support for returning early childhood professionals

Free coaching support will be available in Term 2, 2023, for early childhood teachers and educators returning to the sector.

A coach and early childhood professional sit together, having a friendly discussion

In Term 2, 2023, a free coaching service will be available for teachers and educators returning to or joining the Victorian early childhood workforce.

Gowrie Victoria will coordinate the coaching, which supports early childhood professionals returning to the sector following a period of extended leave, as well as those transitioning to the Victorian sector after working as a teacher or educator interstate or overseas.

The program will help returning teachers and educators familiarise themselves with relevant programs and frameworks, such as the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework. The program will also help participants access local networks and development opportunities.

Join the program

Gowrie Victoria is seeking expressions of interest from people keen to participate in the program starting in Term 2, 2023.

Gowrie Victoria will consider the specific needs of teachers and what support they are looking for. They will then determine which coaching package is most suitable and match all participants with a coach best placed to support them.

The service will be available to early childhood professionals across Victoria, including regional and rural areas. Sessions will be held face-to-face or online at times arranged by coaches and participants.

Find out more

For further information, refer to the Gowrie Victoria website.

New training for coaches and mentors

New professional learning is available for experienced early childhood educators and teachers to become mentors.

Two women stand together outside in a garden with dappled sunlight, comparing notebooks and having a friendly conversation.

The department is providing a new Coach and Mentor Training program for experienced early childhood educators and teachers from Term 2, 2023.

The program will help experienced professionals in the sector develop their skills to become a coach and mentor for new educators and teachers.

Based on best-practice industry standards and research, the Coach and Mentor Training program will have core modules focused on coaching and mentoring theory and skills.

Additional specialist modules are available to tailor this program to address participants’ professional learning needs or priority areas within their service.

The program will be delivered over 3 months and will include both online and in-person content.

Find out more

For more information, including eligibility details, refer to the Coach and Mentor Training program.

Helping our learners eat well

Free Victorian Government initiatives to support early childhood education and outside school hours care services to offer healthier food and drink options.

A close-up of a benchtop with a container of chopped up vegies and berries, surrounded by apples, bananas, wholegrain sandwiches, and someone's hands chopping up carrot sticks in the background.

Victorian Government initiatives are helping outside school hours care (OSHC) and early childhood education providers to offer healthier food and drink options.

Vic Kids Eat Well

OSHC services and other community organisations are encouraged to register with Vic Kids Eat Well to take simple and achievable steps to refresh their food and drink options to give children the nourishment they need to learn, play and be active.

Through Vic Kids Eat Well, OSHC services can receive one-on-one support from an expert health promotion professional to make simple, healthy swaps that have a big impact on kids’ health.

Vic Kids Eat Well is delivered by Cancer Council Victoria’s Achievement Program in partnership with Nutrition Australia’s Healthy Eating Advisory Service.

The Healthy Early Childhood Services Achievement program

While Vic Kids Eat Well is not applicable to children under school age, early childhood services can gain health and wellbeing support through the Healthy Early Childhood Services Achievement program.

The Healthy Early Childhood Services Achievement program helps services create a healthier environment for their children, staff and families by offering free resources and support. Through the program, services can focus on one or more of the following key health areas:

  • healthy eating and oral health
  • physical activity and movement
  • mental health and wellbeing
  • sun protection
  • safe environments
  • tobacco, alcohol and other drugs.

The Cancer Council Victoria delivers the program, which brings current health and wellbeing initiatives together to support a whole-of-service approach.

Healthy Eating Advisory Service

The Healthy Eating Advisory Service supports Victorian long day care, OSHC, family day care and kindergarten services to provide and promote healthier foods and drinks with a free information line, resources, recipes, online training and menu assessments with FoodChecker.

Find out more

For more information, including resources, tools and advice, refer to:

Increased funding rates available for early childhood education infrastructure

Apply for a Building Blocks grant to build, expand or upgrade your existing kindergarten service infrastructure.

Three young children play together on an innovative, colourful school playground

Increased funding is available to eligible providers to support projects that create extra kindergarten places for 3- and 4-year-olds by building new or expanding existing infrastructure.

Through the Victorian Government’s Building Blocks program, funding applications are open for 3 streams:

Under the program, local governments, community and non-government school providers are eligible to apply under 4 grant categories. The increased funding amounts for each type of project are:

  • Expansion: $1.5 million (based on 33 approved places)
  • New Early Learning Facility: $4 million (based on 66 approved places)
  • Modular Kindergarten Buildings
  • Integrated Children's Centre: $4.5 million (based on 66 approved places).

Grant funding amounts are scalable based on the number of approved kindergarten places that the project creates. The funding increases apply to projects scheduled for completion by June 2026.

Closing dates for individual grant streams are outlined below.

Capacity grants

Applications for Capacity building grants are open year-round and assessed in batches throughout the year. For more information on these grants, including details on how to apply, refer to Capacity building grants.

Grants from this stream have been funding innovative projects such as the Mornington Intergenerational Learning Centre. Opening its doors in January 2023, the Mornington centre is one of the first in Victoria to offer intergenerational care for some of the state’s youngest and oldest Victorians, all under the one roof.

The centre offers 66 approved places, helping meet demand for 3-and 4-year-old kindergarten in the Mornington area, while delivering a unique curriculum that engages its aged care facility residents to participate in early learning activities and experiences.

Planning grants

The Planning stream offers funding for planning and pre-construction work on kindergarten building projects that support the roll-out of 3- and 4-year-old kindergarten across Victoria.

This might include designing, developing the scope or calculating construction costs of the project.

This grant is for applicants who will be applying for a Building Blocks Capacity building grant once planning is complete.

Applications for Planning grants close on Sunday 7 May 2023. For more information on these grants, including details on how to apply, refer to Planning grants.

Inclusion grants

The Inclusion stream offers funding for inclusive infrastructure and equipment, offering 2 categories:

  • Buildings and playgrounds: grants of up to $200,000 for infrastructure upgrades to make kindergarten activities safer, more inclusive and accessible to children of all abilities.
  • Equipment: grants of up to $10,000 for moveable inclusive education equipment, such as mobility stools and sensory equipment for kindergarten programs.

Applications for Inclusion grants close on Friday 19 May 2023. For more information on these grants, including details on how to apply, refer to Inclusion grants.

About Building Blocks

Since launching in 2019, Building Blocks has provided more than $190 million to plan, build new and improve early childhood services in Victoria, supporting the sector to create additional kindergarten places across the state.

The Building Blocks grant program is an integral part of the Best Start, Best Life reforms, and is critical to ensuring universal access to increased hours of Three and Four-Year-Old Kindergarten is delivered across Victoria over the next 10 years.

Find out more

For enquiries about Building Blocks grants, contact the Victorian School Building Authority’s Early Childhood Grants team by email:

Great job! New tools and resources boost early childhood education recruitment

Early Childhood Jobs helps candidates to find the job that’s right for them, offering support from job searching to preparing for interviews.

An early childhood professional sits at a table with a young child in an early childhood centre, both smiling while the child claps.

The Victorian Government has launched an enhanced website to help connect job seekers with jobs and early childhood education services across the state.

The improved Early Childhood Jobs website has new features open to anyone searching for jobs or eager to learn about the sector, with a new resource centre and assistance, including:

  • targeted articles about careers in early childhood education
  • information on current financial incentives
  • how to contact a partner recruitment agency
  • practical tips for job seekers on how to write job applications and make an impact at interviews.

To help services in regional Victoria attract people keen to relocate, or find work locally, the website also features 10 regional profiles to highlight the attractions of living and working in regional Victoria.

New advanced search functionality also helps candidates identify jobs offering Department of Education location incentives.

Please let your networks know about Early Childhood Jobs and help people find the jobs they want, and early childhood education services get the professionals they need.

Find out more

For more information, refer to Early Childhood Jobs.

Early Years Assessment and Learning Tool update

Practice videos and eLearn series available to services using the Early Years Assessment and Learning Tool in 2023.

An early childhood professionals sits on the floor with a young child, both focusing intently on arranging colourful puzzle pieces. Other children play quietly in the background.

The Early Years Assessment and Learning Tool is open to Victorian early childhood education services that were successful in the department’s 2022 expression of interest process.

The tool is designed for use by teachers and co-educators. Through its 8 modules, the tool guides quality assessment and observation practice of play-based learning aligned to the 5 Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework (VEYLDF) learning and development outcomes:

Support with using the Early Years Assessment and Learning Tool

To support services using the tool, we have developed an eLearn and a video series on assessment and the planning cycle practice with dedicated fact sheets on each of the tool’s 8 modules.

These resources guide teachers and co-educators through best practice in assessment and learning, intentional teaching, and how to build and embed knowledge and understanding of the tool through the VEYLDF and Early Years Planning Cycle.

The eLearn module has 2 units specifically designed for teachers and co-educators in their first year of using the tool. The practice videos and fact sheets can be used by all early childhood education services interested in improving their assessment and learning practices.

For those services not using the tool this year, but that are interested in doing so, another expression of interest process will open later in 2023.

Find out more

For more information about the tool and professional learning resources, visit Early Years Assessment and Learning Tool.

To access the free Early Years Assessment and Learning Tool eLearn, enrol through the Information Sharing and MARAM Online Learning System.

For further information, contact the Early Years Assessment team by email:

New resources on challenging behaviours

Use these tips sheets, webinars and research reviews from Education for Learning for support responding to challenging behaviours.

An early childhood educator high-fives a young child from across the table, while children around them paint with watercolours.

Evidence for Learning (E4L) has released a series of resources to support early childhood educators to respond to challenging behaviours.

These resources are based on the latest Australian and international evidence on strategies for educators in early childhood education and care settings, working with children aged 2 to 5.

The free resources include:

  • tip sheets providing practical guidance and strategies, including: ‘Set the scene to support behaviour’, ‘Respond in the moment’, and ‘Reset the scene to revisit and reflect’
  • a webinar providing evidence-informed strategies to create positive relationships and stable environments for children, responses to try in the moment, and ways to reset and revisit with a child to encourage positive future interactions
  • a systematic review of the research literature on strategies to support educators respond to challenging behaviours.

About Evidence for Learning

E4L is a not-for-profit organisation focused on helping educators maximise learning for children by improving the quality, availability and use of evidence in education.

The organisation works with education systems, early childhood education and care providers, schools, researchers, government and philanthropists to provide free, evidence-based answers to the various challenges educators face.

Find out more

For more information, refer to Evidence for Learning.