A warm welcome to a chilly start to Term 3, 2023. Here at the department there’s energy in the air as we come off the back of our NAIDOC Week celebrations, and as we’re seeing some of the early childhood education announcements from the Victorian Budget 2023/24 take shape.
NAIDOC Week ran from Sunday 2 to Sunday 9 July 2023. This year’s theme – ‘For Our Elders’ – gave a meaningful opportunity to recognise Elders for their roles as knowledge holders and sharers, as trailblazers, activists and resilient community leaders, and to thank them for laying the path for all those who come after. In this edition, you can read about ways you can still mark this important week. We also pay tribute to a special honour given to Aunty Fay Stewart Muir, whose outstanding cultural contributions to education have been so important for our sector.
NAIDOC Week also brings into focus the critical need to ensure First Nations Victorians are part of our early childhood workforce, so that we continue to have First Nations’ perspectives and approaches incorporated into kindergarten programs across the state. Supports for this include financial incentives to study and work in early childhood education as a teacher or educator, through the Aboriginal pathway scholarships program.
With Term 3 a key period ahead of the 2024 school year, I encourage you to remind families of children heading into Foundation (Prep) next year that school enrolments are now open. Parents and carers are being asked to apply to Victorian government primary schools by Friday 28 July 2023. The Enrolling in Foundation (Prep) webpage has resources and information about the new state-wide enrolment timeline that you can provide to families and staff, including a factsheet now available in more than 40 languages. Please share these resources through your communication channels so that your families are aware of the timeline and children can get excited about the start of their school journey.
Lastly, I encourage providers to remind themselves about which early childhood infrastructure grants are open for applications, with many streams now offering increased funding following the recent budget. It’s a great time to be able to look ahead to how services will look in the future as we continue to roll-out Three-Year-Old Kindergarten and prepare for Pre-Prep.
As the results of the Kindergarten Parent Opinion Survey 2022 attest, Victoria’s kindergarten services and professionals are known for their quality programs and support for children. I’m proud to be able to continue working with you across the next term and beyond on all the things we are doing together to help young children and their families thrive.
Early Childhood Education