Labors big kinder surprise

08 Oct 2018 Wangaratta Chronicle, Wangaratta VIC (General News) State to deliver full 15 hours of three-year-old kinder EVERY Rural City of Wangaratta child born under a re-elected Andrews Labor Government will start kindergarten a year earlier, according to Jaclyn Symes (MLC, Northern Victoria). Ms Symes said Labor will invest almost $5 billion over the next decade to deliver a full 15 hours of three-year-old kinder, helping make sure local kids are ready for school and set for life. She said it will be the largest social, economic and educational reform ever undertaken in early childhood learning in Victorias history. Ms Symes said the commitment was also good news for local families struggling with the cost of living. She said recent research conducted by community service provider Uniting showed that nearly one in five families do not have their children enrolled in early learning because of the cost. But under Labors plan, around a quarter of Victorian families will pay nothing at all, she said. For families with a higher income, the Labor Government will cover 65 per cent of their childs kindergarten costs, consistent with the current subsidy for four-year-old kinder. This represents a saving of at least $3500 for families whose children attend a standalone kinder, Ms Symes said. All the evidence shows that early education can shape a childs entire future,. Its why this extra year of kinder and all the learning and play that comes with it will make the world of difference to local children and local families. Ms Symes said families with kids who go to longday-care will also benefit, with these centres given funding to employ teachers in their three-year-old rooms and centres that make cost savings due to Labors investment will be required to pass any savings on to families. The announcement said under Labors plan, every Victorian child will have access to at least five hours of subsidised three-year-old kinder by 2022, progressively scaled up to 15 hours per week over the next decade. Ms Symes said a re-elected Labor Government will work closely with the early childhood sector, including local councils, to deliver this reform.