Author:
Department of Education
Date:
2 Aug 2023

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Building the best start with our new early learning centres

Infrastructure is a key component of our Best Start, Best Life reforms.

Dear colleagues

It is hard to believe we are already almost halfway through Term 3, with the end of winter finally in our sights.

With infrastructure being such a critical part of the Best Start, Best Life reforms, it’s exciting that this month we are highlighting some breaking news about the 4 early learning centres opening in 2025 at Eaglehawk North Primary School, Moomba Park Primary School in Fawkner, Murtoa College and Sunshine Primary School.

As the first of the 50 new government-owned and operated centres, these centres will be based on or close to school sites and provide hundreds of new places for local families. In this edition, you can read more about how plans for the centres are shaping up, and where to go for all the latest updates.

This edition also provides us with a great opportunity to give an update on how we’re continuing to consult and engage with the sector.

The Best Start, Best Life Taskforce Advisory Group, comprising representative bodies and experts from across the sector, met on Tuesday 18 July 2023 to discuss some of the themes emerging through our consultations with the sector.

Overall, we had strong support for the reforms and we hold a united view on the importance of keeping outcomes for children and their families at the heart of all we do.

Other key themes included advancing Aboriginal self-determination and cultural safety, maintaining and lifting quality and prioritising equity and inclusion in the delivery of kindergarten programs.

We also heard a range of ideas and views about issues such how we meet the diverse needs of children and families, how we can grow and value our workforce, how best to support the sector through change and how we can deliver the new and expanded infrastructure that is needed to accommodate the additional hours of Pre-Prep and the continued rollout of Three-Year-Old Kindergarten.

I thank everyone who has contributed to these discussions – your views are so valuable in shaping how we implement these reforms.

I look forward to continuing to working in partnership with all of our stakeholders as we design and deliver the reforms.

The Education State Forum, held on Tuesday 8 August 2023, was a further chance for representatives from the sector to discuss how we transform early childhood education together. Attendees also enjoyed the opportunity to hear from Minister for Early Childhood and Pre-Prep, Ingrid Stitt, and early childhood education leaders, professionals and experts on how the reforms are tracking, where to next and what supports and resources will be in place to get us there. I look forward to sharing more on the forum in our next edition.

Looking further ahead, we also have our Early Childhood Educators Day celebrations to look forward to. On Wednesday 6 September 2023, we will showcase and highlight the work of the skilled professionals who make up Victoria’s early childhood workforce and take the opportunity to say thanks for the vital role they play in the education and care of Victorian children. In preparation, I encourage you to consider how you will mark this special day, refer to our article for resources and opportunities to celebrate educators in your service.

In closing, I’d like to remind you all expressions of interest to deliver a bilingual kindergarten program next year close on Sunday 13 August 2023. You can apply here: Bilingual Kindergarten expression of the interest application form.

I’m proud to be able to continue working with you this term and beyond on all the things we are doing together to help young children and their families thrive.

Yours sincerely

Kim Little
Deputy Secretary
Early Childhood Education

New early learning centres coming soon to Victorian communities

Find out the latest about the new government-owned and operated early learning centres, set to open in 2025.

New early learning centres coming soon to Victorian communities

The Victorian Government has announced new details of the new government-owned and operated early learning centres (ELCs), due to open in 2025.

Brand Architects of East Melbourne has been appointed to design the first 4 centres which will be co-located at, or next to schools and provide new places for childcare and Three- and Four-Year-Old Kindergarten:

The government is delivering 50 new early learning centres across Victoria by 2028 as part of the Best Start, Best Life reforms in the areas of greatest demand for these services. The first 30 locations have already been announced, with the final 20 expected to be announced by the end of 2023.

Find out more

To find out more about the new ELCs, including details of the sites announced so far, visit the Victorian School Building Authority’s (VSBA) website.

You can also subscribe to be on individual mailing lists for future updates about each of these new centres. To sign up, refer to the VSBA website.

Transition Learning and Development Statement tool re-opens

The Online TLDS tool has been refined, with improved functionality making it easier to use to support children transitioning to school.

Transition Learning and Development Statement tool reopens

We have been refining the Online Transition Learning and Development Statement (Online TLDS) tool in response to user feedback, and it’s now back online and ready to use for 2023.

Through the update, we’ve added functions, including:

About the Online TLDS tool

The Online TLDS tool, accessed through the Insight Assessment Platform, makes it easier for early childhood teachers to complete and share Transition Learning and Development Statements with schools, to support effective transitions.

The Online TLDS tool allows early childhood services to send Transition Learning and Development Statements (TLDS) directly to the child's school, where it can be linked to the child's individual profile.

As the child progresses through school, additional assessments of learning (such as the English and Mathematics online interviews) are added to this profile. This supports continuity of learning and provides a holistic picture of the child's learning and development history.

Training

The State Library of Victoria will be holding free workshops on the technical aspects of the Online TLDS tool from August 2023. Further information will be available soon on the Training – Kindergarten IT Program website.

You can also access a 90-minute pre-recorded professional learning session for new early childhood teachers and educators or those who would like to refresh their knowledge on how to write a TLDS. To access the training, complete an online Transition Learning and Development Statement.

TLDS and the Early Years Assessment and Learning Tool

We have developed guidance for services using the tool in 2023, to support early childhood teachers to use information provided by the tool to complete the TLDS.

How to access the Online TLDS tool

Transition Learning and Development Statements are completed using the Online TLDS tool, which is hosted on the Insight Assessment Platform.

In July 2023, all funded kindergarten services, including long day care services, received new login credentials through their registered service email address, as registered on the National Quality Agenda IT System (NQAITS), to access the online TLDS tool.

If you are yet to receive your login credentials, please contact the State Library of Victoria:

Find out more

For further information refer to Transition Learning and Development Statements.

For enquiries about the Online TLDS tool, contact the department by email: early.years.transition@education.vic.gov.au

Leadership Forums strengthen shared vision for early learning sector

Register now for Early Learning Leadership Forums in August and September to come together and develop a shared vision for the sector.

Leadership Forums strengthen shared vision for early learning sector

Our upcoming Early Learning Leadership Forums will focus on leadership strategies that promote workforce professional growth, to help build a shared vision for the Best Start, Best Life reforms in Victoria.

Organisational and service leaders are invited to register for these professional opportunities and sector-building events coming up in August and September 2023.

The department designs and delivers these Leadership Forums for early childhood leaders and managers twice a year, in each of the 17 department areas across Victoria.

The forums provide a platform for leaders of the Victorian early childhood sector to engage with the department to develop collaborative capacity, strengthen leadership and professional practice.

They feature expert content, guest speakers, department representatives and Victorian best-practice case studies.

Leadership Forums in 2023

The theme of Leadership Forums in 2023 is ‘Leading workplaces that support quality: Fostering organisational cultures that encourage professional growth.’

Our Term 3, 2023, forums will focus on attendees collaborating and exploring leadership strategies to support workplaces that foster professional growth.

In addition, updates from the department and targeted local sessions will round out a valuable professional experience.

Register

For more information and to register for your area’s Leadership Forum, refer to Eventbrite.

Find out more

For further information, contact your local Early Childhood Improvement Branch.

New kindergarten explainer animation for families

Share this new animation with your families and networks to help them understand how kindergarten works in Victoria.

We are encouraging services to share a new animation explaining to Victorian families what to expect from Three- and Four-Year-Old Kindergarten programs, and what the Best Start, Best Life reforms, including Free Kinder and Pre-Prep, mean for them.

The animation encourages families to enrol as early as possible in kindergarten programs for a better chance of getting a preferred place. It makes it clear that there’s no wrong time to ask about kindergarten programs, and that families can speak to services and their local council at any time of the year about enrolling. It also provides an overview of the flexible hours available in Three-Year-Old Kindergarten programs.

The animation also takes families through how Free Kinder works and what to expect from the upcoming roll-out of Pre-Prep.

Watch the animation below:

The animation will also be translated in different languages and added to the Supporting CALD families to engage in kindergarten webpage, so keep an eye out!

Find out more

For more resources that can be used to support communicating to families about kindergarten programs, refer to Communicating about kindergarten to your community.

For further enquiries, contact the Family Engagement team by email: 3YO.kindergarten@education.vic.gov.au

Celebrate Early Childhood Educators Day

Recognise the hard work of early childhood educators on 6 September 2023.

Celebrate Early Childhood Educator's Day

National Early Childhood Educators Day will take place on Wednesday 6 September 2023. This is a day to recognise and celebrate the work of our early childhood educators and the vital role they play in the education and care of Victorian children.

To help your service recognise the efforts of your valued educators, you can find materials for your service’s social media platforms and family communications on the Early Childhood Educators Day website.

Additional materials will also be added to the Communicating about kindergarten to your community webpage in coming weeks, so keep a look-out.

Calling all educators

To help celebrate the work of early childhood educators and their impact on Victorian children and families, we would love to hear from anyone with a great story to tell. We will promote these case studies as part of Early Childhood Educators Day and in the future.

If you have a great story about an educator at your service, contact us using the details provided below.

Find out more

For more information, refer to Early Childhood Educators Day and Communicating about kindergarten to your community.

For further enquiries or to share great case studies about early childhood educators with us, contact the department’s Communications division by email: ec.portfolio.communications@education.vic.gov.au