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Expression of interest to deliver a Bilingual Kindergarten program in 2024

Opportunity for 10 additional early childhood services to join the Early Childhood Language Program and deliver a Bilingual Kindergarten program from Term 1, 2024.

Bilingual Kindergarten program expression of interest process

Applications have now closed for early childhood services to apply to deliver a Bilingual Kindergarten program.

The Department of Education is now assessing applications and will provide the outcome of applications to early childhood services in November 2023.

Funding information

Successful early childhood services will be provided with $48,000 (excluding GST) each year for every group of 4-year-old children. For every group, the funding will allow the employment of an above-ratio language teacher for 18 hours a week. The language teacher must use this time as follows:

  • 12 hours to deliver the language program to the children
  • 6 hours of non-contact time to co-plan, develop resources and undertake professional learning.

In addition, each early childhood service will receive a once-off $1,500 grant to:

  • purchase language learning resources
  • undertake parent engagement activities.

To ensure language teachers are equipped with the skills they need to deliver a high-quality language program, they will complete the Early Childhood Teaching Methodology Course developed by the University of Melbourne specifically for the Early Childhood Language Program. This online self-paced course is mandatory for all language teachers.

To support the ongoing professional development of language teachers, kindergarten teachers and other educators at services, we will engage a supplier to provide the Quality Support Program that provides free professional learning, mentoring and networking opportunities.

For services that recruit a Deaf language teacher to deliver an Auslan language program, we have contracted Expression Australia to deliver Deaf Awareness Training and provide an interpreting service to support the language teacher and kindergarten teacher co-plan.

For more information about how a Bilingual Kindergarten program must be delivered, refer to ECLP Support and Implementation GuideExternal Link .

Languages services can deliver

Successful services can choose to deliver any language, including an Aboriginal language or Auslan, but are encouraged to make this decision based on:

  • the languages spoken by their enrolled children
  • the interest of their children, staff and families
  • the diversity of their community
  • the language taught at their local or nearby primary school(s)
  • the availability of a language teacher to deliver the selected language.

For services that wish to deliver an Aboriginal language program, we have contracted the Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Inc. to support services to undertake community consultation and navigate the Traditional Owner approval process. An Aboriginal language program can not be delivered until Traditional Owner approval is received.

How applications will be assessed

As this is a competitive process and there are only 10 places available, applications will be assessed against the following criteria:

Eligibility criteria

The early childhood service:

  • will deliver a state-funded four-year-old kindergarten program in 2024
  • will deliver a state-funded four-year-old kindergarten program to no more than 4 groups of children and all groups will have access to the Bilingual Kindergarten program
  • holds a National Quality Standard (NQS) rating of Meeting NQS, Exceeding NQS or Excellent
  • is not subject to any Quality Assessment and Regulation compliance action or significant quality concerns
  • is compliant with their kindergarten funding provided by the department
  • submits an application that is endorsed by the Approved Provider, Nominated Supervisor and Kindergarten Teacher.

Assessment criteria

  • Early Childhood Language Program alignment with the service's educational philosophy
  • Strength of commitment by the service's Approved Provider and leadership team
  • Strength of support from staff and families to implement a language program
  • Strength of supporting home language learning and/or strength of aligning language with what is delivered in the local school(s)
  • Ability to start delivering a Bilingual Kindergarten program during Term 1 in 2024.

Prioritisation criteria

  • Priority will be given to the top-scoring applications with the highest proportion of enrolled children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
  • We will also ensure there is a fair distribution of successful kindergartens that are located within metro-Melbourne, regional and rural Victoria.

Next steps for successful applicants

Successful services will be offered a place in the Early Childhood Language Program and enter into a funding agreement with the department for 4 years. A copy of the template funding agreement can be found here:

Once signed, the approved provider will need to support their early childhood service to employ a suitably qualified language teacher. For a language teacher to be deemed suitably qualified, they must:

  • have native, or near-native proficiency in a language other than English
  • hold a university-level teaching qualification (either early childhood or primary)
  • are registered with the Victorian Institute of Teaching.

Only under a limited number of circumstances will we approve a language teacher to hold a different qualification to the above or no qualification at all. The only time this is likely to occur is when a service:

  • employs a Deaf language teacher to deliver an Auslan language program, or
  • delivers an Aboriginal language program.

Reviewed 13 August 2023


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Department of Education

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