Victoria has started its funded three-year-old kindergarten program in six local council areas, including South Gippsland, Buloke, Hinmarsh, Northern Grampians, Strathbogie, and Yarriambiack.

These services will deliver up to 15 hours of programs every week to over 550 three-year-old children who were the first to enrol in the $5 billion program.

Victoria is the first state or territory in Australia to introduce funded three-year-old kindergarten for all children.

“This is an incredibly exciting time for families across the first roll-out areas, whose children are among the first in Australia to benefit from funded universal three-year-old Kinder,” Victoria Education Minister James Merlino said.

“Universal access to three-year-old kinder is one of the most significant reforms we can make to education – giving children academic, social and emotional benefits that last into their school years and beyond.”

Our Poowong Kindergarten is the first Uniting service to be included in this program.

The three-year-old kindergarten program will expand to 15 more regional areas in 2021, including Alpine, Ararat, Campaspe, Central Goldfields, Colac-Otway, Corangamite, East Gippsland, Glenelg, Hepburn, Indigo, Loddon, Murrindindi, Southern Grampians, Towong and West Wimmera.

In the lead-up to the 2018 Victorian and Tasmanian elections, Uniting Vic.Tas successfully advocated for political parties to commit to 15-hours a week of fully funded, high-quality early learning for every three-year-old.