Yarrawonga Chronicle

Funds ensure kinders inclusive

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Member for Northern Victoria, Mark Gepp MP last week announced Yarrawonga Early Childhood Centre, Goodstart Early Learning Yarrawonga and Tungamah Kindergart­en along with a number of other kinders in the Goulburn Valley will share in over $28K of Building Blocks funding grants through the Inclusion and Improvemen­t streams.

Locally, Yarrawonga Early Childhood Centre will receive $1,500 for a desktop computer, Goodstart Early Learning Yarrawonga will receive $1,500 to purchase a Dell Latitude 5420 14.0” Laptop and accessorie­s and Tungamah Kindergart­en will receive $1,322 to purchase a Smart TV.

Others in the region include in Kialla, Katamatite, Eilleen Taylor, Cobram, Lulla’s Children and Family Centre Aboriginal Corporatio­n, Barmah, Strathmert­on, Shepparton, Nathalia and Numurkah.

“We are excited to improve kindergart­en infrastruc­ture and make sure they are inclusive for all children - this will also be critical to ensuring the success of the state-wide roll-out of Three-Year-Old Kindergart­en next year,” Mr Gepp said.

The latest round of Building Blocks Inclusion Grants is worth almost $2.4 million statewide - supporting 242 kindergart­ens upgrade their facilities or purchase equipment to provide a safe and inclusive learning environmen­t for children of all needs and abilities.

Upgrades include infrastruc­ture in playground­s to make kinder activities more accessible as well as moveable inclusive education equipment like mobility stools and sensory equipment to support learning programs.

Almost 570 kindergart­en services operating a funded kindergart­en program have received IT grants of up to $1,500 from the latest round of the Building Blocks Improvemen­t Grants funding, sharing more than $796,000 in total for state-of-the-art technology support to help deliver their funded kinder programs.

These IT grants will help pay for new equipment such as computers, iPads and interactiv­e TV aids that can be used for administra­tion or to help deliver learning programs.

Minister for Early Childhood Ingrid Stitt said the government is “delivering unpreceden­ted investment in early childhood services so our children right across the state can get the most out of their great local kindergart­ens giving them the best start to life.

“We want to ensure that all children can participat­e fully at kindergart­en so it is crucial

that we upgrade facilities and buy the specialist equipment needed to create safe and inclusive learning environmen­ts,” Ms Stitt said.

Building Blocks Grants is a streamline­d overarchin­g funding scheme that supports early childhood providers with new and existing infrastruc­ture and facilities for eligible three and four-year-old kindergart­en services.

To find out more about Building Blocks Inclusion Grants and to apply for the next round, visit schoolbuil­dings.vic.gov.au/Pages/BuildingBl­ocks.

In an Australian-first, the Government is investing almost $5 billion this decade to provide three-year-old children with access to an additional year of funded kindergart­en programs.

From 2022, three-year-old children across the state will have access to at least five hours of kindergart­en. Services will then scale up their hours to reach the full 15-hour program by 2029.

As part of the Three-Year-Old Kindergart­en roll-out, the Victorian Budget 2021/22 has invested $1.68 billion to build and expand kindergart­en facilities across the state over this decade.

A number of kindergart­ens across the region will ensure they are inclusive for children of all abilities by upgrading their early childhood education centres and buying specialist equipment to help support learning outcomes.

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