All kinder in Victoria will be free for Term 3 thanks to a relief package to support early childhood services through the pandemic from the Victorian Government.
The Members for Buninyong and Wendouree have welcomed an announcement from the Victorian Government of an extension to the free sessional kinder support to rural and regional Victoria and a further $1.6 million in grants, which will be available via the Australian-first School Readiness Funding program for kindergartens to help deliver early childhood education to children learning at home.
The Government will increase funding for sessional kinder services across regional and rural Victoria, meaning parents across the state will be able to send their children to kindergarten for free during Term 3. This is already the case for metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire.
Early childhood care and education services in regional and rural Victoria can continue to operate as normal under Stage 3 restrictions, with appropriate safety measures in place.
Sessional kinders in regional and rural areas can also now access support for unfunded three-year-old kindergarten programs. The funding will be available for not-for-profit services, including community based, local government and school providers that are offering sessional programs and are not already receiving JobKeeper payments.
The Government will also provide any funded kindergarten service directed to close due to a confirmed COVID-19 case with extra funding to undertake an infectious clean before re-opening. This is in addition to cleaning grants worth between $900 and $1,500 that have been offered to all services delivering a funded kinder program.
This additional funding is part of an up to $45 million support package for sessional kindergarten providers during the coronavirus pandemic.
“I welcome this additional funding, which will not only ensure that our local kinders will get the financial support they need, but will also save local families money during this difficult time”, said Michaela Settle Member for Buninyong.
“We’re providing a funding boost to give sessional kinders financial certainty and to help kinder kids receive their vital early learning.”
Member for Wendouree Juliana Addison added, “Our kindergartens are not only places where children learn, create, innovate and play, they are a vital part of our community. Therefore, it is crucial that we support early childhood services through this pandemic.”