More money for preschool

MP Harriet Shing reads Possum Magic to Beaconsfield Kindergarten students. Pictured with Ava, Nate and Sam. Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS 200283_02

By Mitchell Clarke

Kindergarten students across Cardinia will receive more funding towards access to vital services in a bid to get them ready for school.

Eastern Victoria MP Harriet Shing visited Beaconsfield Kindergarten and Hollins Children’s Centre in Pakenham on Thursday 7 November to announce $20,959 and $57,326 respectively as part of the School Readiness Funding initiative.

“This funding will enable kindergartens to get the resources they need to provide that extra tailored assistance to students to reach their full potential,” Ms Shing said.

The money can be used on programs which will improve children’s development by utilising the services of speech and occupational therapists, language and literacy professionals and child psychologists.

“We know that early intervention and care from specialists like speech pathologists, psychologists and other professionals make all the difference,” Ms Shing said.

“They improve the way kids learn, socialise and create good life habits. It’s all about being able to assist children to reach their best in circumstances where they’re experiencing educational disadvantage to give them the possible chance at starting school.”

The centre’s will receive the funding boost from next year but it isn’t the first assistance package for Hollins Children Centre, with early childhood teacher Clare Duggan speaking about the benefits of previous support.

“It’s meant our students have been able to work on fine motor skills, social development, play skills and also language development,” Ms Duggan said.

“We have many vulnerable families at this service that otherwise might not have the time or access to these services.

“The initiative definitely provides better outcomes for children and their families, it’s been very positive.”

Meanwhile, Ms Shing visited Emerald Kindergarten to open the Inclusive Kindergartens Facilities Program project.

The kinder received almost $180,000 in funding to improve access, upgrade toilets, outdoor facilities and car parks.

“I’m delighted we’re helping Emerald Kindergarten upgrade their infrastructure to create more inclusive and accessible environments,” she said.

Minister for Education James Merlino said the state’s biggest early education build will continue, with more than $1.68 billion to support the construction or expansion of almost 1000 kindergartens over the next decade.

“All children should get the most out of their time at kindergarten, which is why we’re making kinder buildings and playgrounds more accessible for children of all abilities,” Mr Merlino said.

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