Y Kinders is excited to have been announced as amongst the first services in Victoria to offer 30 hours of fully funded, free kindergarten for 4-year-old children in Ararat Rural City as part of the Best Start, Best Life early childhood education reform commencing in 2025.
“To see services in Ararat again having the opportunity to lead the way with this reform is fantastic”, said Craig Mathieson, Chief Executive Officer for Y Ballarat. “Ararat was one of the first regions to provide 15 hours of funded kindergarten for 3 year-old children, and that work has clearly been recognised.”
“The offering of 30-hours of 4 year older kindergarten will further ensure that all children receive the best possible start to their education journey, in a model that supports families with kinder and school drop-off while requiring less additional care.”
The expansion of the “Best Start, Best Life” program announced on 16th June 2022 will see three major new initiatives:
Ararat Rural City is one of 6 government areas announced on Sunday 29th January 2023 by Minister for Early Childhood, Ingrid Stitt, as part of the rollout, commencing in 2025.
Y Kinders is the largest early years manager in Victoria with a current portfolio of 93 kindergartens across the state, providing opportunities for families and communities to access quality early years education. These include services in regional and rural Victoria, where there may be only one service, through to larger centres in Metropolitan Melbourne.
There will be some changes in how services will operate in order to meet the new requirements, said Vicki Dobson, Executive Manager Children’s Services for Y Ballarat.
“We will be talking with members of our communities, our service delivery partners and our teaching teams as we prepare to deliver on this commitment. We’re very mindful that it’s not just a matter of opening the doors more often – we need to find the right fit for our communities.”
And it’s not just facilities – Ms Dobson noted that the workforce to meet the new demand must also be built accordingly. “There’s no doubt over the last few years that our sector has been hit hard by the broader impacts of COVID-19. We are working hard, like many other organisations in this sector to ensure we highlight just how rewarding a career in early childhood education can be, with opportunities for career progression and to work across a variety of our centres state-wide.”
More information about the roll out of pre-prep can be found here