Pro­gram pro­motes in­clu­sive­ness and di­ver­sity

Benalla Ensign - - News -

Four of Be­nalla’s kinders will ben­e­fit from new equip­ment, toys and learn­ing kits to en­sure they get the most of their ed­u­ca­tion re­gard­less of abil­ity.

State Mem­ber for North­ern Vic­to­ria Ja­clyn Symes an­nounced the fund­ing this week, which will ben­e­fit 28 kinders across her elec­torate.

The grants will pay for valu­able re­sources, such as wheel­chair ramps, move­able change ta­bles, sensory playk­its, ad­justable chairs and Braille books.

The In­clu­sive Kin­der­gartens Fa­cil­i­ties Pro­gram pro­vides up to $10 000 per kin­der for one or more items that pro­mote in­clu­sive­ness and di­ver­sity.

Re­cip­i­ents in­clude Be­nalla District Pre-school Part­ner­ship, which will be able to pur­chase height ad­justable and wheel­chair ac­ces­si­ble ta­bles, and Ride Av­enue Pre-School which will pur­chase an ad­justable ta­ble that will al­low chil­dren in a wheel­chair to join in group ac­tiv­i­ties as well as pur­chase weighted blan­kets, a hang­ing nest chair and sev­eral sensory toys.

‘‘Build­ing the Ed­u­ca­tion State be­gins with the early years — all kids de­serve the very best start to their ed­u­ca­tion, re­gard­less of their abil­ity and La­bor are de­liv­er­ing for Be­nalla,’’ Ms Symes said.

‘‘Th­ese grants are about en­sur­ing our lit­tlest Vic­to­ri­ans get the sup­port they need to thrive.

‘‘It’s won­der­ful to know kids in Be­nalla will ben­e­fit from even more in­clu­sive, wel­com­ing en­vi­ron­ments when at kin­der.

‘‘Whether it’s wheel­chair ac­cess ramps or ad­justable change ta­bles — La­bor is help­ing de­liver world-class and wel­com­ing en­vi­ron­ments for Be­nalla chil­dren.’’

Th­ese grants are the first to be pro­vided through the new $6.4 mil­lion In­clu­sive Kin­der­gartens Fa­cil­i­ties Pro­gram — a Vic­to­rian-first ini­tia­tive.

The pro­gram will also pro­vide kinders with up to $200 000 to up­grade build­ings and play­grounds to make them more in­clu­sive through the build­ings and play­grounds stream.

The state govern­ment has in­vested a record $123.6 mil­lion to build, ex­pand and improve early years in­fra­struc­ture across Vic­to­ria to en­sure lo­cal fam­i­lies can con­tinue to ac­cess lo­cal kin­der­gartens.

It builds on the state govern­ment’s land­mark $202.1 mil­lion Ed­u­ca­tion State Early Child­hood Re­form Plan, which recog­nises the im­por­tance of giv­ing fam­i­lies sup­port in early child­hood, so kids are ready for kin­der, ready for school and ready for life.

Happy kids: Kin­der chil­dren across Be­nalla will ben­e­fit from grants de­signed to pro­mote in­clu­sive­ness.

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