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Department of Education
1 Mar 2023

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.

Looking ahead to Cultural Diversity Week and reform consultation

In this edition, we’ve included resources to respectfully promote access to and participation in kindergarten programs for children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

Dear early childhood education and care services,

Welcome to another edition of Early Childhood Update. I trust you are all settling into the year, and enjoying building or continuing your relationships with the children in your service and your colleagues.

March means Cultural Diversity Week (Saturday 11 to Tuesday 21 March 2023). In this edition, we’ve included resources to respectfully promote access to and participation in kindergarten programs for children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. One of our key goals outlined in the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework is promoting cultural awareness in all children, including fostering a greater understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ways of knowing and being.

In February, I attended the Best Start, Best Life 2023 Educational Leaders Conference, along with more than 2,000 participants (virtually and in person), who were inspired by the presentations from our local and international expert speakers. It was a wonderful occasion that allowed us to celebrate early childhood leadership, unpack the evidence, and explore the most effective ways to capitalise on big reform to lift outcomes for children.

If you missed the conference, videos of the key presentations will be available to view soon. Look out for a link in a future edition of EC Update.

The future of early childhood in Victoria – have your say

The Best Start, Best Life Taskforce Advisory Group (BSBL-TAG) member consultations are underway! These consultations provide opportunities to share your feedback and ideas to inform the design and implementation of the Best Start, Best Life reforms.

The department has been working closely with BSBL-TAG members to identify and promote consultation opportunities through their networks and members. I encourage you to look out for these opportunities and to get involved, as your knowledge and expertise – and that of your colleagues – will be critical to enabling the success of the Best Start, Best Life reforms.

More than 600 attendees have already participated in sessions run by the department in collaboration with BSBL-TAG members such as the Australian Education Union, the Community Child Care Association, Early Learning Association Australia, Independent Schools Victoria and the Municipal Association of Victoria. We look forward to hearing from more early childhood professionals in upcoming sessions with the Australian Childcare Alliance, Early Childhood Australia, the Early Learning and Care Council of Australia and the United Workers Union among many more. We are also engaging directly with the early childhood workforce through Early Years Learning Network meetings.

If you would like to help shape the future of early childhood education and care in Victoria, look out for consultation opportunities that are being offered by your peak body or other representative organisation across March and April. You can also complete the expression of interest form to be notified of other opportunities to give direct feedback as they come up.

Kim Little
Deputy Secretary
Early Childhood Education

Best Start, Best Life Educational Leaders Conference 2023

Looking back on the successful first edition of the new conference for Educational Leaders.

Presenter in front of audience, with a screen behind that says 'International perspectives of pedogogical leadership'.

The inaugural Best Start, Best Life 2023 Educational Leaders Conference on Wednesday 15 February 2023 brought together more than 2,000 early childhood Educational Leaders, experts and practitioners from across the state.

The department’s conference organisers were thrilled to see how enthusiastically attendees embraced the event, which we hope provided a valuable new professional development opportunity for Educational Leaders.

The conference theme, ‘Evidence for impact: giving children the best start’, encouraged strong, evidence-informed discussion about early childhood education, with world-renowned experts and leading practitioners sharing their thoughts.

In addition, the conference looked at the critical role of quality practice in the Best Start, Best Life reform, and the role of educational leaders in guiding the delivery of 2 years of high-quality play-based learning for Victorian children.

The conference, hosted by journalist Ellen Fanning, built on the significant expertise of attendees to enhance their professional development and connect with colleagues.

We hope attendees returned to their services with new perspectives on their contribution to high-quality early childhood education and care and their critical role in supporting the next decade of reform here in Victoria.

Links to videos from the conference will be available in a future edition of Early Childhood Update.

Find out more

For further information about the reforms, refer to Best Start, Best Life.

Provisionally registered teacher grants

Apply for funding to support provisionally registered teachers to achieve full registration.

Children with their teacher playing at kinder

The final funding round for 2022–23 to support early childhood provisionally registered teachers’ move to full registration is now open and accepting applications until Wednesday 19 April 2023. 

Early childhood services delivering a funded kindergarten program and their approved provider can apply for funding of $2,872 (excluding GST) per provisionally registered teacher intending to move to full registration in the next 12 months.

Moving from provisional to full registration with the Victorian Institute of Teaching is an important step in a teacher’s career. The move demonstrates a teacher’s proficiency against the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers.

Services and provisionally registered teachers can use grant funding in any way that supports them to move to full teacher registration, including:

  • providing paid time release, travel or accommodation expenses for both the provisionally registered teacher and a mentor to work with each other
  • employing a casual relief teacher to backfill the provisionally registered teacher or mentor
  • supporting the provisionally registered teacher to undertake formal professional learning, such as attending relevant conferences, workshops, seminars and online courses
  • funding subscriptions to teacher magazines, journals, research articles and relevant textbook resources
  • supporting access to coaching from an external consultant.

Apply using the 2022–23 Funding for Provisionally Registered Teachers Round 2 application form.

Please ensure the person completing the application is authorised to do so and is in a leadership position, such as a service manager, director, nominated supervisor, operations manager or approved provider. 

Find out more

For more information, refer to funding to support provisionally registered early childhood teachers.

For further enquiries, contact the department by email:

Free interpreting services for funded early childhood services

Language Loop provides free interpreting services for funded early childhood education services.

Mother teaches child

If you need support from an interpreter to engage with people in your community from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds, Language Loop can help.

Language Loop provides free interpreting services to funded early childhood education services, including telephone, video and onsite interpreters. All interpreters are qualified and accredited.

These services support our equity and diversity goals outlines in the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework, in particular our focus on recognising multilingualism as an asset and supporting children to maintain their first language, learn English as an additional language, and learn languages other than English.

How to access Language Loop

Early childhood education services can book an interpreter through the Language Loop portal or by contacting Language Loop by phone: 9280 1955.

Please be ready to provide information, including:

  • the specific language(s) and dialect (if relevant) required
  • the time and duration you will need an interpreter for 
  • the purpose of the activity
  • location
  • contact person.

After you submit a request for an interpreter, Language Loop will connect you with the appropriate interpreter for your requirements.

The department’s Use an interpreter in early childhood education services web page has further information on how to engage Language Loop and work with interpreters.

You can also refer to the website for resources developed by Foundation House, to support work with interpreters and families from CALD and refugee backgrounds.

Find out more

For further information, refer to Use an interpreter in early childhood education services.

Access translated information resources to support CALD families

The department’s new webpage provides a range of audio, video and text resources for cultural and linguistically diverse families.

Group of children lying on floor smiling

The department has launched a new webpage for services to support cultural and linguistically diverse (CALD) families to enrol and participate in kindergarten programs.

The page includes information on programs relevant to CALD families, as well as translated resources for services and providers to communicate with families about the benefits of kindergarten.

Please share these resources with the CALD families in your community to provide information on topics including Early Start Kindergarten, Access to Early Learning, and the CALD outreach workers initiative.

The resources also include information about initiatives such as Free Kinder and the benefits of 2 years of kindergarten, with in-language video and audio files complementing a range of text resources.

You can use these resources to support CALD families in your community to access and participate in kindergarten programs at any time.

Find out more

To access the resources on this page, refer to Three-Year-Old-Kindergarten Information in Your Language.

Early Start Kindergarten eligibility and funding

The ESK initiative will continue to support eligible children to access free or low-cost kindergarten in 2023.


Kindergarten students with their teacher

Early Start Kindergarten (ESK) continues to be available for all funded kindergarten programs to help provide eligible children 15 hours of free or low-cost kindergarten each week for 2 years before starting school.

This continues as the kindergarten program expands to support all children to access 15 hours of free Three-Year-Old Kindergarten by 2029. Access for ESK-eligible children is a priority for all Victorian funded kindergarten programs.  

When services accurately record ESK enrolments, additional funding will be allocated. This includes additional School Readiness Funding.

We encourage services to discuss eligibility for ESK with families and professionals working with families directly, in addition to information provided through enrolment processes.

Engaging eligible children and their families with ESK supports strong engagement in kindergarten programs by priority groups and ensures the needs of services that may need more supports can be met.


To be eligible to receive ESK funding, a service must confirm in KIMS all ESK eligible children. Children eligible for ESK are those who turned 3 years old before Sunday 30 April 2023 and:

  • come from a refugee or asylum seeker background, or
  • identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, or
  • their family has had contact with child protection.

Services should make all reasonable efforts to offer ESK eligible children a program of up to 15 hours per week. This can include enrolling children in mixed age groups. 

Children without up-to-date immunisation information can enrol in ESK while they undertake catch-up immunisations, or apply for a medical exemption, under the relevant grace periods of:

  • 63 days under the Australian Government’s No Jab No Play for ESK in long day care settings
  • 16 weeks under the Victorian Government’s No Jab No Play for ESK in sessional kindergarten settings.

Find out more

For more information, refer to Early Start Kindergarten.