School readiness is a topic that the early childhood education industry is focused on enhancing, and for good reason — after all, childcare and kindergarten is where educators get the opportunity to give children the necessary tools to transition to life as schoolchildren! To support funded kindergarten programs in preparing children for the next stage in their education, the Department of Education and Training Victoria has developed school readiness funding.
This school readiness initiative enables services in Victoria offering a funded kindergarten program to access funding for a range of approved programs that have been proven to enhance children’s school readiness.
This school readiness funding menu includes programs that have been selected for their evidence-informed approach to three main areas: communication (language development), wellbeing (social and emotional), and access and inclusion. Choose from programs like the Bonkers Beat Music Program, Positive Parenting Program or Yarn Strong Sista, to name just a few.
School readiness funding eligibility
Whether your service is a funded kindergarten program only or a long day care centre with a funded kindergarten program, you will be eligible receive the school readiness funding.
The funding will be rolled out over the coming three years, with approximately one third of eligible kindergartens receiving their funding in 2019. To find out when you will receive your funding, take a look here.
Designed to be permanent ongoing funding to support kindergartens in delivering the highest quality care possible to children transitioning to school, school readiness funding amount will be needs-based, ranging from $1000 (for small numbers of children and/or low needs levels) to over $200,000 (high levels of need and/or large numbers of children). This needs-based approach is the same that is used in schools, and uses parental education and occupation as a predictor of educational disadvantage.
Deciding how to spend your school readiness funding
The school readiness funding menu offers programs to support your kindergarten in many different ways, so ensure you carefully consider the needs and gaps in your kindergarten’s approach. The externally validated programs on offer through this funding include:
- programs and services that target speech, language and literacy
- allied health (speech therapists, psychologists, occupational therapists)
- programs and services that support trauma informed practice, secure attachment and mental health
- resources and programs to support the social and emotional wellbeing of children
- support for cultural and linguistically diverse children and families
- support for parents to support their child’s development.
For more information about school readiness funding, head to the Department of Education and Training Victoria website.