Ensuring our early childhood services are inclusive for all children and families is a priority for the department.
We are committed to ensuring all children can participate in and benefit from high-quality early childhood education. We also recognise the benefits for all children when they are learning alongside peers with diverse abilities and backgrounds.
In 2024, we have a range of activities planned to support this priority, and we’re pleased to share an update on these plans below.
National Disability Insurance Scheme review
The Commonwealth Government recently released a review into the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). The Department of Education is working with all Victorian Government departments to consider these recommendations.
The review recommends changes to improve outcomes of children with disability, including changes to supports in and alongside early childhood education.
The Victorian Government is considering these recommendations in collaboration with the Commonwealth and other states and territories, to consider opportunities to strengthen supports for children with additional needs.
Strengthening the Kindergarten Inclusion Support program
A key project for Victoria in the year ahead is improving our Kindergarten Inclusion Support (KIS) program application approach to enhance disability inclusion.
With an aim of streamlining the application process, we will engage external experts to assess applications for inclusion supports.
We will introduce changes to this process that help services to access more timely support through a staged approach, with the full change set for implementation in 2025.
We will share further updates with you about this project later in 2024.
Preschool Field Officer program expansion
We will expand the Preschool Field Officer program (PSFO) to meet the demand for support in areas that have seen major growth in 4-year-old kinder enrolments.
The program provides educators and teachers access to tailored support, improving their skills and confidence in providing inclusive programs that are responsive to the needs of all children.
Further funding has been allocated to 10 providers to deliver the program to 29 local government areas in 2024, based on the number of 4-year-old kinder enrolments.
Researching a new approach
Over the next 2 years, the department will research best practice inclusion approaches to determine the support needs for children in kindergarten with additional needs.
We will share more information about this research project in the coming months.
Find out more
For more information, refer to:
- Kindergarten Inclusion Support Program
- Preschool Field Officer Program
- The National Disability Insurance Scheme Review.
For further enquiries:
- on the PSFO program, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- on the KIS program, email: email@example.com
- on the new research process, contact Rose Kloester, Reform Lead, Inclusion Policy and Reform, by email: firstname.lastname@example.org