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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