Looking ahead to another big year for the sector

Registrations are open for the Best Start, Best Life 2023 Educational Leaders Conference.

Dear early childhood education and care services,

Welcome to the new year and the first week of kindergarten for both children and our new early childhood education professionals – welcome and thank you. I hope you have all enjoyed an opportunity to take a break and recharge, while staying safe and well over the holiday period.

Last year was an exciting time for the sector, and we have even more in store for 2023!

Last week, the Victorian Government announced the roll-out schedule for Pre-Prep, which will begin in selected areas from 2025 before progressively expanding across the state.

Under the staged roll-out, Pre-Prep will commence in Ararat Rural City, Gannawarra Shire, Hindmarsh Shire, Murrindindi Shire, Northern Grampians Shire and Yarriambiack Shire. Other local government areas will join the roll-out in following years. Vulnerable and Aboriginal children will be eligible in 2026 while disadvantaged children will be eligible in 2028.

In addition, with the implementation of Free Kinder for 3- and 4-year-olds benefitting up to 140,000 children, the beginning of work to build 50 new affordable and government-owned early learning centres, and continued investment in attracting and retaining the workforce we need for the future, we’ve got a lot to be excited about in Victoria.

I am looking forward to bringing together early childhood Educational Leaders from across Victoria, either in person or virtually, for the Best Start, Best Life 2023 Educational Leaders Conference.

We will link Educational Leaders to research and case studies that highlight the value of evidence in guiding change and improving practice and explore the critical role of quality in the reforms.

The conference will be held on Wednesday 15 February 2023 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) and online from 9 am to 5 pm. We want to help as many Educational Leaders as possible to attend, so we are offering backfill contributions and support for staff who need to travel long distances from regional areas.

For more information, please refer to the Best Start, Best Life 2023 Educational Leaders Conference web page. Please also share this information with the Educational Leaders in your services.

We are committed to implementing the reforms in partnership with all parts of the sector and there will be many opportunities to provide input as we work through the detail together.

Chaired by the Minister for Early Childhood and Pre-Prep, the Best Start, Best Life Taskforce Advisory Group (BSBL-TAG) will bring together staff, unions, peak bodies, early childhood experts, local government, kinder and long day care providers, parent and inclusion representatives, and other stakeholders. The group will inform the design and implementation of all parts of the reform.

The BSBL-TAG has begun meeting regularly and through this group, the department will continue to work in close partnership with all stakeholders.

In the next edition of Early Childhood Update in March, I will share information about further opportunities to provide feedback on the reforms through a full program of consultation and engagement activities.

Thank you for your continued passion and commitment to this vital work we do for our community and all the best for 2023.

Kim Little
Deputy Secretary
Early Childhood Education