- Department of Education
- 14 Dec 2022
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.
Message from the Deputy Secretary
A message from Kim Little, Deputy Secretary of Early Childhood Education.
Welcome to the final edition of Early Childhood Update for 2022. After the great response we had to the re-launch of our newsletter in October, and a brief pause in November while the Victorian Government was in caretaker mode, it is great to have this publication back as we wrap up another busy year in the early childhood education sector.
Next year, Victoria’s Best Start, Best Life reforms will commence, with Free Kinder for 3 and 4-year-old children available at participating services. The roll-out of universal Three-Year-Old Kindergarten also continues, with flexible hours introduced statewide. On behalf of the department, I thank you for the incredible work you have done to prepare for and introduce these new initiatives, which are supporting so many children and families and having a profound positive impact on children’s development and learning.
Victorian Early Years Awards
Last month, I attended the 2022 Victorian Early Years Awards (VEYAs) and, as with many significant award events, it was the first time it had been held in-person for 3 years.
It was a joy to reconnect with sector colleagues and hear about the fantastic work being done by our talented and passionate early years professionals.
I’m so proud to work in a sector that is about making a real and tangible difference in our community, by contributing to the learning and development of young Victorian children.
Our wonderful early childhood education services are a huge part of what knits the community and families together, as they support young children to thrive.
These awards, now in their 17th year, celebrate this contribution. Further to that, the awards recognise the passionate people who strive every day to improve the lives of Victorian children and their families.
The 19 finalists across 7 categories exemplify the diversity and strength of the early years sector in Victoria.
The winner in each category received a grant of $15,000 for professional development or to support their nominated initiative.
The finalists and winners in each category were also eligible to win the Minister’s Award, which this year went to Amandah Taylor of Yuille Park Children’s Centre.
Under Amandah’s leadership, the centre has developed a successful kindergarten program supporting to one of the most disadvantaged communities in Victoria.
She is passionate about developing strong community relationships and upskilling educators, and she is an admirable advocate for vulnerable families.
I’d also like to congratulate Brooke O’Brien of The Honeypot Early Learning Centre in Koroit, who was named 2022 Early Childhood Teacher of the Year.
Please take the opportunity to check out the website to find out more about all of the winners and finalists.
The awards website is a terrific reflection of our early childhood workforce and proof of the high standards, innovation and professionalism embodied by the sector. That’s why we want to build our workforce and give more people the opportunity to join you in this vital work.
Going into 2023
Next year, you will continue to see our recruitment campaign running across Victoria and interstate, promoting financial incentives, workforce supports and job opportunities at Victorian early childhood education services.
Whether through the TV, radio, social media or newspapers, we’ll be getting the message out there and connecting interested people directly to jobs, training and study opportunities.
I’d also like to encourage services and providers to post roles on our Early Childhood Jobs Board . It is free to post roles on this site so please use this opportunity to help find the right person for your available roles.
Alongside supporting recruitment for current workforce needs, we will continue to promote careers in early childhood for school leavers and students, upskillers and those looking for a career change.
Finally, I’d like to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday period. Thank you for your hard work this year and I hope you join me in looking forward to an exciting 2023.
Early Childhood Education
It’s never too early to talk early childhood education
Early childhood education has everybody talking, and this video shows why parents are just as excited as their children about play-based learning.
Free kindergarten for 3 and 4-year-olds starts in 2023 at participating services and recognises that early childhood education is an investment that lasts a lifetime.
In this video, parent, author and gender equality advocate Jamila Rizvi is joined by friend and fellow parent Claire Tonti to talk about what it means for children and parents when play is at the heart of learning.
Find out more
To watch or share the video, visit the department’s YouTube channel and refer to Let’s talk early childhood education, with Jamila Rizvi and Claire Tonti.
Introducing the Victorian Kindergarten Resources microsite
Access our website to order additional signage, printed items and translated materials.
The department has created the Victorian Kindergarten Resources microsite for services and providers to order additional Kinder Tick signage and information items.
Resources available on the microsite include stickers and printed posters, as well as printed copies of factsheets, postcards and flyers.
These materials are available to support your service’s own communications and promotional efforts. They will help you build awareness of the importance of early childhood education as well as to drive enrolments and participation. On the site, you’ll also find a range of Kinder Tick materials.
In addition, you can order printed versions of translated information resources, available in 30 different languages. All materials can be downloaded from the microsite for digital use (for example, to send by email). Social media tiles are also available.
Services can submit their orders online at no cost, all orders are subject to approval. Please note that limits apply.
The department has also launched a new translations webpage to assist services and providers communicating with families from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
The page can be accessed by families and community to help promote the value of early childhood education and care, and the supports available for access and participation.
Across 25 languages, assets are available in written, audio and visual content.
Please share the link vic.gov.au/kinder/translations with your workforce and families, as an available in-language resource.
Find out more
For more information, refer to:
Updated Child Information Sharing Scheme resources
Visit the Child Information Sharing Scheme webpages for support in understanding the scheme and explaining it to parents and carers.
The Child Information Sharing Scheme (CISS) has made significant changes to the way early childhood professionals can share information with other service organisations to promote the wellbeing and safety of children.
To help you to build and maintain trusting relationships with families in your community, we have developed resources to help you explain CISS.
After consulting with parents and carers about the questions they have about CISS, we have made new easy to use pages in the Child Information Sharing Scheme online content. We have added webpages for parents, carers, children and young people, as well as for First Nations peoples.
The updated pages include flyers and factsheets that you can download and print to support family conversations. You can also refer to videos from prominent educators, which explain how CISS is supporting child wellbeing and safety.
Sign up for training
Understanding CISS will empower you to collaborate with other authorised services, such as schools, maternal and child health, Victoria Police and child protection, to:
- get the full picture of the children you work with
- identify issues or risks for children and families sooner
- ensure children receive the best support possible across services
- support children as they transition to schools.
To learn more, you can access free training through the Information Sharing and MARAM Online Learning System.
To enrol, select the ‘Education Workforces’ tile and select from the options listed below.
Webinar: Information Sharing for Education Workforces
These 3.5-hour interactive online seminars are presented by a team of educators, with opportunities for discussion. Sessions are designed for all early childhood professionals.
Morning and afternoon sessions are available several times a week and you can register through the Information Sharing and MARAM Online Learning System.
Funding is available to support early years educators who wish to attend information sharing webinars. For more information, email: CISandFVIS@education.vic.gov.au
To organise tailored information-sharing training for your team, contact the Victorian Child Information Sharing team by email: email@example.com
You can also access eLearning options through the Information Sharing and MARAM Online Learning System.
Find out more
For more information about the reforms, refer to Child protection in early childhood: privacy and information sharing.
For further enquiries, contact the Victorian Child Information Sharing Division by email: CISandFVIS@education.vic.gov.au
Second year of funded Four-Year-Old Kindergarten
Declarations of Eligibility for a second year of funded Four-Year-Old Kindergarten should have been submitted through each eligible child’s KIMS record by 30 November 2022.
Consistent with previous years, services are asked to contact their local Early Childhood Implementation Branch (ECIB) to discuss any Declaration of Eligibility decisions made after Wednesday 30 November 2022.
As KIMS has now closed, a copy of the Declaration for Eligibility for a second year of funded kindergarten needs to be provided by email to your ECIB. Once KIMS re-opens from Tuesday 3 January 2023, services can upload a copy of the Declaration for Eligibility to the child’s 2023 enrolment record.
In submitting a Declaration of Eligibility, the early childhood teacher is confirming with the department that a child is eligible for a second year of funded Four-Year-Old Kindergarten, and the Term 3 plan for learning and development and the second-year discussion form were completed.
Find out more
For more information, refer to:
- the department’s website at Second year of funded Four-Year-Old Kindergarten
- the information sheet and checklist for completing the declaration.
For further enquiries, contact the Assessment for Learning team, by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Victorian Educational Leaders Conference coming up in February
The Best Start, Best Life 2023 Educational Leaders Conference will be held on 15 February 2023. Educational leaders will receive an email soon to register for the conference.
The inaugural Best Start, Best Life 2023 Educational Leaders Conference will be held on Wednesday 15 February 2023 in Melbourne and live streamed.
The conference will be an exciting opportunity for educational leaders in early childhood education services to hear from world-leading experts and other leaders in the field about practical, evidence-based approaches to lift the quality of early childhood education.
We look forward to welcoming early childhood leaders from across the state to a day of exploration and learning through keynote presentations, panel discussions and workshops. The conference has been carefully curated to inspire and support you to deliver high-quality programs.
The conference will feature 3 renowned international experts:
- Professor Iram Siraj, Professor of Child Development and Education, University of Oxford
- Professor Jane Bertrand, program director, Margaret and Wallace McCain Family Foundation
- Sir Kevan Collins, Vice Chairman of The Board, Committee Chair at Learning by Questions, Youth Endowment Fund.
This will be an important event on the education calendar, and we are sharing this date to support educational leaders in their planning.
All Victorian kindergarten services will shortly receive via email an invitation for their educational leader to register for the conference.
One educational leader per funded kindergarten service in Victoria is eligible to attend the conference, virtually or in person.
Date: Wednesday 15 February 2023
Time: 9 am to 5 pm
Platform: in person and online
For more information and to register online, refer to Best Start, Best Life 2023 Educational Leaders Conference.
Find out more
For further enquiries, please contact: email@example.com
Final days to order Three-Year-Old Kinder Kits for 2023
Kinder Kit orders for Term 1 next year close 16 December 2022.
The department has engaged Bao&Co to manage the ordering and delivery of the 2023 Kinder Kits.
Bao&Co has been busily contacting all eligible services over the last month by phone and email to confirm their Kinder Kit order details.
We remind services to make sure they have submitted this confirmation email by Friday 16 December 2022 to receive their kits at the beginning of Term 1, 2023.
Eligible services that cannot locate their ordering email are encouraged to email firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible.
Who is eligible for a Kit?
Three-year-olds enrolled in funded kindergarten programs and children in their first year of Early Start Kindergarten (ESK) and Access to Early Learning (AEL).
Four-year-olds in funded kindergarten programs and 3-year-olds only enrolled in long‑day‑care programs are not eligible to receive a Kinder Kit.
How do I check my kit order?
You can amend or check your kit order through the Bao&Co ordering portal link in the confirmation email sent to your service.
If you experience technical difficulties, email email@example.com for support.
What is in the kit this year?
Further announcements about the Kinder Kits, including links to additional resources, will be released over the coming months and accessible via www.vic.gov.au/kinderkits
Find out more
Long day care guidance materials
Use this practical information on implementing funded kindergarten in Victoria to support access and participation.
Australian Childcare Alliance Victoria and Community Child Care Association have developed guidance materials to support funded kindergarten in Victoria.
The 2 sets of guidance materials provide practical information about policy and funding supports in place to support access and participation, particularly for children experiencing vulnerability and disadvantage.
Community Child Care Association resources
Community Child Care Association updated existing resources to provide further details for long day care providers, services and educators in supporting children in out-of-home care and in Early Start Kindergarten.
For more information, refer to:
- How Early Start Kindergarten grants work in long day care services
- Children in out-of-home care: Information pack for Victorian long day care services.
Australian Childcare Alliance Victoria resources
The documents are designed to work alongside the Kindergarten Funding Guide.
- Kindergarten funding: Why should I apply?
- Kindergarten funding: How do I apply?
- Kindergarten funding: What happens next?
- Kindergarten funding: Early Start Kindergarten
- Models: Delivering a 3-year-old program in long day care
- Models: Delivering a 4-year-old program in long day care
- Supporting families experiencing vulnerabilities: What services need to know.
Find out more
You can also contact the department by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hume Moreland area name change
The department’s Hume Moreland area in our North-Western Victoria region has been renamed ‘Hume Merri-bek’.
The department has changed the name of our Hume Moreland area to Hume Merri-bek.
The name change follows Moreland City Council recently changing its name to Merri-bek City Council, from Monday 26 September 2022.
The decision was made in July 2022 following a community survey, with the majority of residents voting in favour of changing the name.
The state government named the area City of Moreland in 1994, when the Brunswick, Coburg and part of Broadmeadows council area merged. The area was originally named ‘Moreland’ in 1839 by Farquhar McCrae, a land speculator, who named it after a Jamaican slave plantation run by his family.
The department’s Hume Merri-bek area still covers the former Moreland municipality and Hume municipality.
We have changed the name of the area to reflect and support Hume Merri-bek community expectations, along with our own commitment to Dhelk Wukang, Aboriginal voice, knowledge and cultural leadership, and journey of reconciliation and healing.
The name Merri-bek (pronounced ‘merry-beck’) means ‘rocky country’ and reflects Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung people’s connection to Merri Creek, the local landscape and the rocky earth of their own backyards.
You will see the new name being introduced across all department material, such as our signage, website and staff signatures.
Find out more
For more information about the council’s renaming process, refer to Merri-bek Council – renaming Moreland.
For more information or any questions, please contact the North-Western Victoria region by email: email@example.com
Traineeship program for early childhood educators
We are partnering with Chisholm Institute of TAFE to create 200 new jobs for early childhood education services.
A joint initiative between the department, Jobs Victoria and Chisholm Institute aims to create 200 new early childhood education jobs in Victoria.
The Jobs Victoria Early Childhood Educators Traineeship Program will give early childhood services the chance to engage one or more trainees next year.
While gaining practical skills in the workforce and earning an income, trainees will also undertake a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care.
Through the program, Chisholm Institute will find trainees who are ready to work and contribute valuable skills to services across the state.
Employers interested in recruiting trainees through the program can attend an upcoming online information session to learn more.
About the program
Through the program, trainees can access up to $2,500 in Australian Apprentice training support payments for a one-year traineeship. Trainees may also be eligible for a further $4,000 in milestone-based training support payments from Chisholm Institute.
Trainees will complete a Certificate III Early Childhood Education and Care qualification, under the Free TAFE program, while undertaking a paid traineeship in an early childhood education service.
The program focuses on providing opportunities for people who are:
- long-term unemployed or at risk of being long-term unemployed
- under 25 or over 45 years of age
- Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Victorians
- people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
People interested in becoming trainees can attend an online information session to learn more.
Interested applicants can apply now through Jobs Victoria. Places are limited.
Find out more
For more information, refer to Jobs Victoria Early Childhood Educators Traineeship program Chisholm TAFE.
Single-use plastics ban
From Wednesday 1 February 2023, problematic single-use plastics will be banned from sale or supply in Victoria.
From Wednesday 1 February 2023, Victorian businesses and organisations (including early childhood education and care services, schools and higher education, TAFEs and registered training organisations) will not be able to sell, supply or provide a number of single-use plastic items.
Items that will be banned from Wednesday 1 February 2023
The ban applies to the following single-use plastic items made from conventional, degradable or compostable plastics:
- drinking straws
- cutlery including knives, forks, spoons, chopsticks, sporks, splades and food picks
- drink stirrers and sticks
- cotton bud sticks.
The ban also applies to:
- food service items and drink containers made from expanded polystyrene.
For more information on items that will be banned, refer to this fact sheet(pdf - 2.31mb).
Exceptions to the ban
People who need single-use plastic drinking straws due to disability or for a medical need will still be able to purchase and use these items.
Early childhood services can continue to purchase single-use plastic straws from their suppliers so that these are available when needed.
There is no requirement for individuals to provide verification of disability or medical need when requesting straws.
Implementing the ban
Victorian organisations and services can continue to use up existing stock before the ban starts on Wednesday 1 February 2023. Banned items cannot be provided after this date, even if they were purchased before the ban.
From Wednesday 1 February 2023, all businesses and organisations (including early childhood education and care services) will need to comply with the regulations and ensure they do not purchase, supply or provide any banned single-use plastics.
Services should make plans to replace single-use items with reusables. Where it is not possible to use reusable items, services can choose single-use items made from alternative materials – such as uncoated paper, wood or bamboo.
Find out more
For more information, refer to:
For further enquiries, email our Environmental Sustainability team: firstname.lastname@example.org