Three year old children now have the chance to go to Kindergarten. The Victorian Government’s landmark reform to early childhood education has arrived in the Hepburn Shire with children attending funded Three-Year-Old Kindergarten.

Last week Member for Macedon, Mary-Anne Thomas, joined early childhood staff, children and the Mayor Lesley Hewitt, and Hepburn Shire Council representatives at Daylesford Community Child Care Centre to celebrate the start of Three-Year-Old Kindergarten.

Ms Thomas said,  “This is such an exciting time for families across the Hepburn Shire, with more of our littlest residents being given the opportunity to attend kindergarten and get the best possible start in life.”

It is part of the Victorian Government’s near $5 billion decade-long reform to make two years of universal funded kindergarten available for children across the state. The program is an Australian-first.

The reform is being implemented in stages, with the first stage of the roll-out beginning last year in the Buloke, Hindmarsh, Northern Grampians, Strathbogie and Yarriambiack Shires.

The roll-out continues this term, with funded three-year-old kindergarten now available in the Alpine, Ararat, Campaspe, Central Goldfields, Colac-Otway, Corangamite, East Gippsland, Glenelg,  Hepburn, Indigo, Loddon, Murrindindi, Southern Grampians, Towong and West Wimmera Shires.

This will be expanded in 2022 to give three-year-olds across the rest of the state access to five hours of funded kindergarten, before being scaled up to a full 15-hour program by 2029.

At full roll-out, an estimated 90,000 children each year will be receiving this important educational boost.

The Victorian Government has also committed $1.68 billion over the next decade to co-invest in the building and expansion of kindergarten facilities so that children have the right learning environments, no matter where they live.