Victoria rolls out 'Free Kinder' initiative

Victoria rolls out

Placing great importance to early childhood education, the Victorian government has launched a new program that will provide more than 100,000 families across the state access to free kindergarten education this year.

Ingrid Stitt, Victoria’s Minister for Early Childhood, recently announced that more than 98% of all funded kindergarten service providers have signed up to the Free Kinder initiative.

Through the program, the government will cover the fees usually paid by parents, meaning families with children in funded three- and four-year sessional kinder in 2021 are essentially “learning for free.”

Significant fee relief will also be provided for families with children attending unfunded three-year sessional kinder.

The Free Kinder initiative is available to families attending stand-alone kindergartens and kinder programs in long daycare.

“Free Kinder not only saves families thousands of dollars – it gets more kids into kinder, provides important support for early childhood services and the profession, and helps more parents, especially women, into the workforce,” said Stitt.

“We’re giving families one less thing to worry about and ensure children don’t miss out on accessing a kinder education as Victoria recovers from the impacts of the pandemic.”

The Free Kinder initiative is part of the Victorian Government’s $169.6m investment in early childhood education. It is expected to help families save around $2,000 for each child enrolled in a participating funded kindergarten program. The initiative will run for 2021 only.

The investment also builds on the government’s efforts to deliver kindergarten education for three-year-olds in every part of Victoria by 2022.